What Is The Value Of Boredom?

Most of us will go to great lengths to avoid boredom for even a moment. But is there a benefit to being bored?

Let’s face it, it is no fun to be bored. In our culture that is so focused on being productive, having down time when you are not doing anything can seem like a colossal waste of time.

Technology to the rescue! With our smartphones, while waiting in line, for example, you can check your email, or scroll through your social media feed. Of course, you don’t have to be technologically savvy to avoid boredom. You can just as easily carry a book with you wherever you go.

While smartphones don’t have a monopoly on avoiding boredom, they make it very easy. The entire internet is available with the touch of a button. That’s never been true in human history before, and it shouldn’t be ignored. If we don’t want to be alone with our own thoughts, we don’t have to be.

However, is there actually an upside to boredom? Even though it feels unproductive and almost painful at times, could there be a benefit in being alone with your own thoughts?

It certainly seems possible. Many people find value in meditation, to improve mental health among other benefits. For some, meditation is actively doing nothing. No phone, no speaking. No activity, other than breathing. The goal is to be comfortable with doing nothing.

In addition, creativity is enhanced through boredom. Mothers everywhere know that children, when bored, find creative ways to entertain themselves.

What other positives might there be to being bored? Should we actively seek out boredom, at least once and awhile?

Related questions: When is it useful to fail? What is the value of inefficiency? Are we too busy? What do you think about when out for a walk?

Is Faster Better?

Sometimes it seems that life moves very fast, and you need to move very fast just to keep up with it. But have you ever stopped to wonder: is faster better?

Looking at the issue in simple terms, it seems the answer is yes, faster is better. After all, the limiting factor in our lives is time. Even the longest living among us has a finite — and relatively short — amount of time to be alive. So if we move faster, we do more.

However, quantity is not the same as quality. Doing more is not the same as doing things well.

It is possible that doing one thing very well is more meaningful, more impactful, and more rewarding than doing several things less well.

Productivity is such a powerful notion, though. Productivity has steadily increased over the last several decades. This may have to do with us working harder. In addition, we have more tools than ever before to help us to be productive.

Companies like productive workers. Productive parents can do more for their children. You can be a better friend or family member through productivity. Or at least, that is the message from a society built around productivity.

That may be true for drudge work. If a machine helps you to wash dishes faster, for example, that leaves you with more time for other, more pleasant, activities.

But what about non-drudge work? Is it better to write faster? Read faster? Talk faster? Play faster? Are there some activities where doing things more slowly is better (however you define better)? Or is it the case that for everything we do in life, faster is better?

Related questions: How can we be more productive? Are we too busy? Fast or slow? What is the value of inefficiency?

 

 

How Can We Be More Productive?

Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.  When your to-do list is frustratingly long, what can you do to be more productive?

While there is something to be said for the need to relax in our over-scheduled society, sometimes you just need to get stuff done. That might include running errands, preparing a work project, or performing home maintenance. Whatever the task is that you feel is crucial, how can you avoid procrastination and distractions, and actually accomplish said task?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What is the value of inefficiency?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘How can we encourage debate?’


Productivity has been steadily increasing in our modern society, thanks to tools like the computer and the internet, as well as the labor-saving machines that magnify the effort of an individual. Not to mention increasing the weekly hours spent at work, or even working during “off hours” like answering emails from home.

Are there further advances to be had? Do productivity programs or apps actually work? Are there routines or practices that can further improve how much we can accomplish? Or is the attempt to increase productivity bound to further increase daily stress and unhappiness?

If you feel that your list of tasks — for work, home, or even for enjoyment — is too long and needs to be reduced more efficiently, what can you do about it? How can we be more productive?

Related questions: How can we turn ideas into actions? How do you set priorities? What is important? How can we encourage collaboration? Do you keep lists?

Stairs Or Elevator?

If you need to go to a higher or lower floor, are you more likely to take the stairs or the elevator? Does the number of floors make a difference? Does it matter if you are alone or with someone else?

Share why if you wish.

Stairs Or Elevator?

Competition Or Collaboration?

If you want to get the most out of a situation — for yourself, or for a group — is it better to encourage competition or collaboration? Which do you think is more effective?

Share why if you wish.

Competition Or Collaboration?