Being bored is usually associated with negativity. The terms ‘bored to death’ or ‘bored to tears’ are expressed frequently when talking about the feeling of boredom. When experiencing this, you’ll probably sit around procrastinating and scrolling through social media for the tenth time in two hours; you fidget and you pace, completely wasting time that could be valuable! Contrary to popular belief, being bored is not a bad thing, so what if we turned this negative outlook into a positive one.
Before you sit and get distracted by funny cat videos on Facebook or looking through inspirational travel accounts on Instagram, do something creative and productive – read a self-care book, meditate or paint. Relax into the boredom, be open to the thoughts that are flowing in and out of your mind and listen to your heart – eventually you will gravitate towards things you care about.
You often hear about people having ‘lightbulb’ moments during the most mundane of tasks such as taking a bath, sitting on the toilet, or doing the housework. It is those moments of calm, silence and general ‘nothingness’ that allow your mind to catch up with itself and are actually vitally important for your continued mental wellbeing. Don’t shy away from them by trying to keep busy, sometimes the best medicine is just to stop, relax and breathe.
Many people have passions but aren’t lucky enough to be able to have them as full time jobs - however these days, the internet plays a huge role in our lives and does make it more possible to turn your hobby into a living; film yourself doing your passion, perhaps by taking photos of your artwork or showcasing clothes you have made. Create social pages to enable you to display your work and organically grow followers.
If your passion happens to be integral to your current job and you are starting to feel boredom creeping in, it is vital to remember that everything in life has aspects that you may be less interested in. These aspects may be necessary for moving forward in your life and career towards becoming more successful. There will be moments of struggle where you feel extremely bored and unmotivated to fulfil all the duties required. In working life, there are things that aren’t fun but are essential; working through this boredom in a constructive way is likely to be extremely beneficial for you in the long run.
Many people avoid ever feeling bored because they are afraid of where their mind will take them
Recognising boredom is one thing, truly embracing it is a whole other story. So what steps can you take to best achieve this?
- Remember why you are doing what you are doing. Are you looking to move up the ladder in your workplace? Do you want to turn your hobby into a business? There will be parts of your journey that aren’t as interesting but are all stepping stones to success. It’s key to remember the reason behind your journey.
- Complete the boring tasks first. It is human nature to do the more enjoyable jobs before the ones you enjoy less, however doing the less interesting tasks first is actually a good idea. The longer we put off these boring tasks, the less willpower we will have to fulfil them. The earlier in the day we begin them, the easier they will be to complete (our willpower and motivation is best after a decent night sleep and nutritional breakfast). Additionally, if you do the boring tasks first, you will have the more exciting duties to look forward to.
- Force yourself to sit still. Many people avoid ever feeling bored because they are afraid of where their mind will take them when they stop being distracted by life, work or other activities. They are worried what negative thoughts will take over; some people often have traumatic experiences, thoughts or feelings that they continue to run away from by keeping busy constantly. Forcing yourself to sit still and experience boredom may feel uncomfortable and uneasy at first, but it is important to face your challenges and worries head on as if not, you’ll just end up running away from them forever as you remain trapped in a haze of 24/7 distractions.
In summary, boredom isn’t all doom and gloom and it can actually help you to realise the things which most inspire or motivate you in life. Some people find that boredom creeps into their everyday lives and tasks, preventing them from being productive and enthusiastic. For others, boredom is rarely experienced as they fight to fill every possible moment with some kind of distraction. Whichever you are, taking a moment to experience boredom without any negative emotions attached is something which is refreshing, inspiring and potentially life changing. I encourage you to give it a go.
Leonard Sekyonda is the CEO and founder of global entrepreneurial networking community MyComeUp.com. He is also the author of ‘Become Your Own Hero Again’