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The Power of Monotony: 3 Reasons Why Boredom is Good for Creativity

Posted by Bill McRae Filed Under Content Strategy & Creation, Blogging, Content, Health & Wellness

As lead writer at a fast-paced tech B2B marketing agency like McBru, I have limited opportunities to be bored. Quite the opposite, in fact: I’m too busy writing blogs, articles and white papers to experience much ennui.

 But according to recent studies, perhaps I should work a bit more boredom into my schedule. Or go for a walk. It turns out that both are great triggers for creativity—and a welcome antidote when the inspiration runs dry during a busy day of content creation.

 Consider the following:

  1. In the New York Times article, “In a Constantly Plugged-In World, It’s Not All Bad to Be Bored,” writer Alina Tugend says experts increasingly praise the effect of boredom. “It forces the brain to go on interesting tangents, perhaps fostering creativity. And because most of us are almost consistently plugged into one screen or another these days, we don’t experience the benefits of boredom.”
  2. “What if boredom is a meaningful experience—one that propels us to states of deeper thoughtfulness or creativity?” wonders Clive Thompson in his Wired magazine article, “The Power of Boredom: How Dull Activities Can Spark Creative Thinking.” He cites two studies which seem to indicate that people are more creative after undergoing a period of boredom.
  3. A study from Stanford University, as reported by Gretchen Reynolds in the New York Times article “Want to Be More Creative? Take a Walk,” found that “walking markedly improved people’s ability to generate creative ideas.” And it turns out that the walk doesn’t need to be along an idyllic sylvan path: an equivalent amount time walking on a treadmill or circling the office resulted in the same creativity boost. It’s the walking itself that matters.

Tweet this: 3 reasons not to avoid boredom http://mcbru.ly/1Kdrl7M Monotony or taking a walk are well-springs of #creativity #McBruBlog

Of course, the connection between solitude, walks and creativity isn’t new: Beethoven famously found inspiration for his Symphony No. 6, “The Pastoral,” during solitary walks in countryside near Vienna.

Boredom sparks creativity because it causes your mind to seek stimulation by going into a daydreaming state and refreshing your creativity, according to Sandi Mann, one of the researchers cited in the Wired article.

However, today “We try to extinguish every moment of boredom in our lives with mobile devices,” says Mann. And by doing so, you forego recharging your creativity, which can be a problem if you have a job that requires you to think innovatively.

So next time you need to take a break and recharge, forego BuzzFeed or Facebook and just go for a walk and zone out. Let monotony overtake you for a few minutes. You might find that boredom is more productive –and creative – than you thought.

Tweet this: Put down your phone and get #creative! http://mcbru.ly/1Kdrl7M 3 reasons why zoning out or walking will inspire you #McBruBlog

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