Want to Be More Creative? Try Boredom

Looking back over the history of my ideas, the best ones didn’t happen surrounded by a creative team, in a cool environment, or working for a great organization. The ugly truth is – while I believe in all those things – my best ideas usually happen when I’m bored to death.  Listening to a really bad sermon at church, driving across town, waiting for a movie to start, or sitting in the doctor’s waiting room. For whatever reason, when I’m bored, my mind starts to wander in some very creative directions.

The problem is – mobile devices are robbing us of opportunities to be bored. If we have a few minutes, we don’t daydream anymore, we whip out our mobile device and check email, text a friend, or watch a video clip. As much as I love them, mobile devices are turning us from creators to consumers. On airplanes now, I don’t see very many people writing or thinking, I see them watching movies or mindless TV programs on their iPad or laptop.

If you feel like you’re losing your creative edge, then I recommend you re-discover the power of boredom. Stop automatically reaching for the mobile device, and let your mind wander. Look around and start noticing things again.

Find out just how creative those times of intense boredom can be again.

Anyone else struggling with creativity?

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  1. This is one of the reasons I love cycling. No tv, twitter, facebook, just rhythm and time to think. Sometimes when I get back I can’t wait to get to the computer. On tours like the one I’m about to begin (1000 miles handcycling around Florida), sometimes I attach a camera with microphone and just sort of talk whatever comes to mind over ten or fifteen miles. Takes some editing, but sometimes what results is better, and certainly different than, than an intentional writing session.

  2. I write novels, and the idea for what my wife thinks is my best novel (I personally rate it second best) came during a very dull bus journey stuck in a traffic jam with nothing to do (and I didn’t have any mobile devices with me).

    So I agree completely.

    (Shameless advertising alert) Said book hasn’t been published yet, but will be within the next year – in the meantime, I have two other books available online (downloadable for free) – Uncle Flynn and George goes to Mars.

  3. Well said… you’re absolutely right.
    And I agree with richdixon—biking, running, swimming…great times for letting my mind wander

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