Boredom is a serious problem for me. I have always been energized by the beginning of a project, but once I get stuck into the actual work, my engagement drops to dangerously low levels. For a long time, I didn’t think this was a problem. Some people are detail people, some are big picture people. I believed that everyone should focus on their own strengths and not worry too much about things we’re not good at, because someone else who is good at that will pick up the slack
However, when I look around at all the big amazing projects I planned that have never been executed, I have to consider that maybe I can improve my performance in this particular area of my life.
First, I have started to look at my own mental habits and how they are affecting me. I have a tendency to live my life way out in the future; I have a strategic mind and that’s how I view the world. The Buddhist practice of mindfulness sees this tendency as leading to a lot of unhappiness. How can I function in this moment when I’m living my life in an imaginary future? Mindfulness is basically slowing down and putting one’s full attention into where one is and on what one is doing at this moment only. The idea is that if you really focus on everything that goes into a particular task, it is very difficult to be bored by anything.
The other thing that has sort of inspired me is this blurb from London’s School of Life sermon on Boredom with Will Alsop.
Without the kind of boredom that gives space for creativity and reflection, we risk the dullness of an uncreative life. The paint never dries and we make a muddy mire of things.
As often is the case with this sort of thing, maybe boredom says more about the bored person than the tasks or state of mind that is being labeled as “boring”. Ulltimately, boredom is an inescapable part of not just the creative process, but everything in life; it’s Seth Godin’s “dip” and the middle part between where the brilliant plan and the amazing reality meet by engaging in a lot of hard work. So it would probably be a good idea to figure out how to make being bored as fun as possible.