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Boredom Is Good for Us

Trends and Insight 513 Add to collection

Jack Duddy, consultant at Ogilvy Behavioural Science Practice has some surprising insights that might be welcome to those in lockdown land

Boredom Is Good for Us
In these current times we have more information and stimulus jostling and fighting for our mind's attention than ever before. Whenever we get a chance, most of us have the habitual reaction to pull out our phones and begin mindlessly scrolling. Our attention spans have become significantly shorter and we have become less and less accustomed to being bored. 

Believe it or not, boredom is actually good for us. Yep you heard me right... Because it allows our minds to run and stretch without needing to focus our attention. Great ideas don't occur when our brain is engaging in scrolling through our phones, they come when we are staring out the window of a train or when we are washing the dishes and we simply let our minds wander. Isaac Newton's inspiration for the Theory of Gravity didn't come when he was pouring through physics formulas, it came from when he was chilling out under a tree, and Archimedes cried "Eureka" when he was stepping into the bath. 
 
But in order for boredom to be good for us we need to start with an important Re-Framing that changes our mindset towards "boredom". We must re-frame boredom as an opportunity rather than a limitation. It is not the absence of stimulus, it is the abundance of time. And with more time, comes more opportunity to do anything you want to do. It’s not about passing the time, it’s about using the time. In order to be less bored and be more motivated you simply need to give a purpose to this time.

Counter-intuitively, when we give our minds constraints, such as only the ability to work from home, this actually means that creativity thrives. By solving problems with certain rules and constraints, this forces us to be more creative in our ideas. 
 
Here are some handy tips to help you use this opportunity to improve your health, happiness and productivity during our time indoors: 
 

Stay Social, Stay Connected.

The amazing thing about this is that we are all in this together. Everyone is going through a similar thing, and they are all contactable. So reach out and be as social as possible - try not to text when a call or video chat will do. Seeing people's faces and hearing their voices has wonderful benefits to our brains. Follow the two-hour rule: if you haven't spoken to someone in two hours find a colleague, friend or family member to chat to. They will appreciate it and so will you. 
 

Set a Goal - Learn Something New

What is the thing you have always wanted to do? Now is your time to learn a dance, master a language, learn a new skill or refine an old one. Set aside a specific time during the day and make it your focus for that time. 

Chunk up Your Time - We Find Things a Lot Easier When They Are Split into Smaller Chunks

Thinking of your time as one big block of time you need to fill can make us feel demotivated to do anything. Instead, break down your time in the day into meaningful "chunks" of time and give each chunk of time a purpose. Give yourself and hour for lunch, one hour for cleaning and tidying, two hours for learning a new skill (one in the morning and one in the afternoon), 30 minute home work-out, one hour for catching up with friends and family; and you are already building yourself a routine that will keep you focused and motivated to use this time to its full throughout the day.
 

Work, Rest & (Especially) Play - Split the Difference 

Do your best to separate your work and your life and having fun both in terms of your environment and your time, give as much time to each of these to achieve a healthy and happy balance. If you're not working, make sure your laptop is away and you have changed rooms to give yourself the mental break.
 

Be Present - Learning to Be Present in the Moment Makes Us Appreciate the Little Things

Listen to your body, be aware of your thoughts, feelings and surroundings and take some time to think about what you are appreciative and grateful for. You will find this improves your mood, concentration and mental health.
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Ogilvy UK, Wed, 01 Apr 2020 14:17:34 GMT