The Art of Getting Bored.
Q: Why should you trust me ?A: I made a point of writing this while being bored, something that I imagine a lot of people are experiencing right now, but also because I get bored easily and have been since I can remember, at some point I learned that being bored is usually the start to a new exciting project or life change, so now I embrace boredom as part of the creative process and life.
The stages of boredom:
1.The realization. You finished all your chores, work and/or are simply stuck somewhere with nothing to do, or worse with a very repetitive task you’d rather not be doing.
Suddenly a thought starts creeping until it is the only thought you have:
“Shit I am bored !”or maybe
“Dude,man,this is boring!”or if you are not the verbal type, you make the following sound:
hmmmpfffsssss( pronounced like a slowly deflating balloon ).
2. Existential Angst. This one is fun. Your brain has suddenly found itself unemployed, but it won’t go down without a fight, oh no, who’s fault is this ? It might ask ( hint it’s probably you ), how did you allow yourself to stoop so low ? Remember when you were excited and happy ? The brain remembers and it wants to be there again, fully employed, so get on with it, find a solution ! It screams…Except there isn’t a solution at the moment is there ?
3.Things get Physical. The brain has had it with your incompetence, so it’s time to recruit your body, maybe that way you will listen and do something about this boredom. Listen, I am not a doctor, so how would I know how boredom physically manifests in you, in my case I feel like someone is hugging my rib cage… from the inside, temporary chills and lack of breadth are also common, a lot of sighing as well.
🕒 Estimated Elapsed Time (stages 1 to 3) : Anywhere from 30 Seconds to a few minutes, hours or days, sometimes boredom comes in waves.
“Boredom is the root of all evil. It is very curious that boredom, which itself has such a calm and sedate nature, can have such a capacity to initiate motion. The effect that boredom brings about is absolutely magical, but this effect is one not of attraction but of repulsion.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
Stage 4. A compromise is reached. It is time to take charge of the situation, take command of brain, body and
start some shit,
get busy or like S.K. poetically puts it
But wait, what about the evil ? Oh the evil is real. The problem is that we are initiating action out of desperation, so our chosen activities can be rather hit or miss, we might also suffer from low morale, so our worst instincts and addictions might take over, here’s a very non scientific list to exemplify some of these choices:
Not a psychologist, but it is interesting to notice that there is a relationship in between the chosen activity and how it makes us feel in that instant, so drugs and impulsive activities give you a high almost immediately, whereas cleaning and other productive activities might give you satisfaction over a longer period of reflection, meh activities are just that, they serve in the moment and are neither harmful, productive or memorable for the most part.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Now that we have briefly explored the problem of boredom, here are some solutions that might help you, feel free to add your own down in the comments.
Be KIND to yourself
Life can be hard on its own, it probably does not need your help, cut or ignore any negative thoughts that you direct at yourself as soon as you notice them.
In the great scheme of things…
The universe is vast and we are specks on a speck on a speck, your boredom in this moment is truly meaningless but the fact that you can appreciate it is indeed a timeless miracle.
By the way, even when your are bored and feel like you are not doing anything with your life, the 37.2 trillion cells in your body are busy as ever with the business of being alive, and you are your cells, so you see it's all relative.
A boring moment can also be described as an unscheduled empty slot in your calendar, you don’t know when you are going to get bored or what will you be able to do, planning ahead solves this problem.
For any situation…
Who knows what you will have at your disposal when boredom strikes, maybe all you have are your wits and your inner voice, maybe the contents of a satchel and maybe a warehouse full of things, so planning for each type will give you a fighting chance, some examples:
- ( Stuck at the DMV, a boring movie, car trip etc, etc ) : Devote a few minutes to thinking about a fun problem, for instance a scene in a novel you are writing, a small technical problem at work or some minor social problem, small and inconsequential I found is better, the goal is not to solve but to advance.
- ( Bored with the contents of a small bag or a cellphone) : You can carry a small design studio in a bag, markers and a notebook for instance, the apps in your phone can be anything you want, from a music production studio to a language tutor.
- ( Bored at Home ) : Here the possibilities are endless but it is necessary that you invest time into thinking about a project and then reserving it for the time that boredom strikes, having a book you really want to read and leaving it unopened is a good start.
Have a Notebook.
A notebook serves a few purposes in the fight against boredom, a modest investment that pays itself many times over. With a notebook you can write a list of potential projects to try when bored, you can also use it to draw, sketch, write, plan, research, muse, bounce ideas and more. It also conveniently works without batteries or wifi and is affordable.
Check your Energy.One more variable to account for is your energy levels, reading a book or watching tv takes very little energy, but cleaning or starting a project requires more, plan for and ask yourself about your energy levels when bored and find a matching activity, preferably one that you already wrote down.
The ZEN Solution.
Let your mind wander but keep it in the trails and meadows, allow yourself to think about nothing and sooner or later an idea or thought will appear. Focus on your breadth for a moment to reset at any time.
Think of ideas like floating bubbles, let the meaningless rise and vanish, pop the bad ones and collect and write down the good ones, good thing you have your notebook.
Recruit a partner.
It’s twice as hard to get bored with a partner and us being very social animals I’d rank anything you do in a group higher up than a simple meh, dogs and some other animals also count as partners.
It gets easier.
Starting something while bored even if you don’t feel like it, usually gets easier after the first few minutes, so I suggest you try something out your list even if you are not sure you will enjoy it, just give it a minute.
With time you can get better at getting bored, so much in fact you might no longer dread these periods but actively look forward to them…
There you go bored no more.
In the end…
Paradoxically the solution to getting bored can itself be considered boring, it requires some planning and reframing, but there really is not much else to it and I hope this helps you master the art of getting bored.
Thanks for reading !