Phil Cooke asked the question,
Is the lack of boredom killing our creativity?
Cooke attributes his own creativity stems from being bored at Church. He would first start by counting the items in the room, when things got really bleak — funerals and dance recitals — he would escalate the situation to daydreaming.
In this day and age, we simply pull Angry Birds from our pocket and drown-out our own thoughts. I’ve seen countless kids waiting at the doctor’s office or strolling through the grocery store with their head buried in a DS or PSP.
Cooke goes on to say,
Creativity happens during the down-times – those moments when your mind wanders and makes connections you wouldn’t normally consider.
This is so true!
I’ve learned that time spent doing the dishes, walking to the store and even mopping the floor, is quite therapeutic. I’ve solved many web design hurdles, drafted countless blog posts and sown many ideas. I’ve learned to cherish these moments.
I don’t believe Cooke thinks these digital distractions are necessarily an evil to be completely avoided. They have their time and place. There’s nothing like a little Nintendo to wipe the slate of your mind clean and give it a rest. However, there is a fine line between resting your mind and being slothful with it.
It’s not just the games, either. Maybe you “feed” too much?
You know the “feeds”:
- Google Reader
- Google Analytics
- WordPress Stats
These are devices that pull our attention, too; and keep our minds engaged constantly. I’ve been really working hard to keep this in balance, turning of notifiers and be mindful of habitually clicking through my pinned tabs – focus, focus, rest, focus, focus, rest …
Another subtle thing I’ve done while I write and edit audio is drink lots of water (coffee, too). I developed this habit many years ago. This is not only a healthy habit, but you can only sit in front of your computer screen so long before you have to take a toilet trip and snag a refill. I discovered this quite by accident, but it’s been great for my creative process. Walking down the stairs, filling up my cup and looking out the window, is mundane, but refreshing.
As Cooke said,
… never forget the wonderful value of boredom.
Just because your bored, doesn’t mean you have to be boring.
Embrace the mundane.