If you are like everybody in the world, you get bored. As I wrote this I realized I didn’t really know the definition of bored. It was one of those words that I just took for granted. I did a simple google search and this is what I got.
“Feeling weary because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity.”
Sounds right. I never had it so cleanly stated before. I always saw boredom as something that happens when you are not mentally stimulated, but lacking interest, to me, is a telling phrase. It simply states the facts of the situation. If you are bored, you don’t care about what you are doing. If I lack interest in something, I do everything in my power to get out of that situation. Stimulating my mind is too important to me. So how do you combat it?
I have come up with a plan for what to do when I am bored in common situations. Having a clearly thought out path allows you not have to think about what to do in response. In my post last week I talked about the Three Suggestions to Finding Day to Day Adventure. In that post I talked about prioritizing. By planning what your priorities are you can more easily react to situations that ask you to choose between them. In that same way, by having a plan for how to handle certain common boredom situations you can get into the habit of beating boredom.
There is one main structure I use to do this. I just select a situation that is common for me and then say, Whenever I am ________ and I feel bored I ________ instead. So for instance a few of mine are:
Whenever I am watching TV and I feel bored I go for a walk instead.
I recently implemented this one and it felt great. It was 9pm and I was watching Adventure Time (ironic title aside) and I realized I was bored. I was getting restless and rather than forcing myself through the tedium, I just got up, put on my shoes and went for a walk. It was a nice head space creator and it had the benefit of added physical fitness. Win-Win.
Whenever I am useless on my computer and feel bored I play with my cat for 15 minutes instead.
This one is great, because I do not make enough time for my cat as it is. This one adds the benefit of curbing his shenanigans. When he isn’t stimulated he starts knocking everything over and running around the apartment like a crazy cat. But by keeping him entertained, the apartment stays more together and I get the added quality time with my pet. It’s nice.
Whenever I am hungry and feel bored I drink a lot of water instead.
This one is dangerous for me. This is the situations where I go from executing my nutrition choices beautifully to shoveling down spoonfuls of peanut butter and chocolate chips in seconds. When I kept succumbing to the temptations to bored eat I just feel my body and will start to melt. My lizard brain screams out in joy and my conscious mind starts to spiral into disappointment with myself. So I put this in place to start to curb some of these temptations. So far so good!
Whenever I am overly using my phone and I feel bored I start writing instead.
This writing doesn’t have to be good. It just needs to be started, because the idea of writing often begets more. Creativity eventually gets jump started and productivity happens. If I have time to twiddle on my phone, I have time to write a paragraph or two. That is the joy of the cloud. Creating habits like this also makes me feel less restless at night because I feel as though I got everything I wanted to get done, completed.
So those are just a few habits I have to try to counteract the day to day monotony. That being said, there is a difference between relaxation and boredom. If you are doing nothing or watching tv or on your computer and you are feeling relaxed good for you. I decompress from time to time with Hulu and Netflix or YouTube just like anybody else. But when I am bored either undeniably or maybe just a little. I implement these few things, because I find these habits to be a better use of my time.
By replacing the unproductive boredom with something you enjoy and can provide benefit to a part of your life that is lacking you are practicing steps in prioritizing, creating headspace and giving your creativity an avenue to flow. More often than not, being bored stifles drive and creativity. By stimulating yourself you may find that you have more ideas and solutions for those nagging problems in your life start to show up.
Do you have a system in place that is similar? Or where can you replace boredom with something small you enjoy? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below and if you like what you are reading I encourage you to follow me. I will be posting 2-3 times a weeks and next post will be on Friday 5/18. So thank you for your time! Go live your Day to Day Adventure.
John Latona Jr., The Boy with the Bear.