Contrary to what you might believe, there is a time and place to let boredom reign. The Italians call it “il dolce far niente”, “the sweetness of doing nothing”, and whilst we are not talking about the mind-numbing level of chronic boredom from a job that does not satisfy you or that you hate, boredom at work of the right level can be of benefit to you.
Let’s look at a few of the positives to be gained from letting boredom into your business.
Neuroscientists have discovered that periods of inactivity can give the brain space and time to be more creative. As the centre of every single activity that your body undertakes, from blinking to moving, talking to walking, your brain never pauses its’ activity. Even during sleep, it is still processing and clearing from the previous day. And, although it is counterintuitive to do nothing, that period of boredom allows creative ideas that may have been lurking somewhere in the background to come to the fore, to fill the empty space. Further research has shown that short periods of boredom at work can lead to improved performance in problem-solving and brainstorming activities.
Room for Growth.
Our nature is to fill any empty space – to fit a short meeting in a gap in the diary, to allow a meeting to continue past its allotted end time, to permit a task to take a little extra time to complete, we unconsciously strive to fill any gaps in our day. After all, “busyness” feels like you’re achieving something, doesn’t it? You’re in demand, you’re in the flow, and you’re important. But the benefit of introducing some space into the business day is a strategic one.
By intentionally creating that space in your day, you allow more business opportunities to come your way.
If the Pareto Principle is to be believed, that 80% of your income is generated from 20% of your customer base, then it also follows that the majority of your time, energy, and attention is focused on those customers who are not going to provide great returns.
Now imagine the time and space returned to you by not working with these non-ideal customers and the space that opens up for more ideal customers to find you.
A word of caution here: Ensure that you clarify how you would wish that vacuum to be filled and be intentional in how you achieve that. If not, you run the risk of the space refiling with more of the kind of activity of which you have just rid yourself.
Create a visual reminder of what it is that you want, and place this somewhere where it is regularly seen – above your desk is a great spot.
Employee burnout and attrition are at an all-time high. But research shows that when we give ourselves a break, even just a few minutes, engagement and quality of work increase, and stress goes down. Additionally, allowing employees space demonstrates an investment in their wellbeing and professional development.
We’re led to believe that automation of every part possible in business is the way to go, but the danger here is that tasks are completed by rote. Our jobs become more routine, discouraging any active-thinking and our productivity becomes just enough to get everything completed. However, a spell of creative boredom at work allows our brain to recharge and reset. We can identify new ways of doing things, become enthused again in our role and regain our work mojo. When we accept that not every moment has to be filled with ‘doing’, and that ‘being’ is equally important, we allow ourselves time for our productivity and resilience to soar.
Boredom at Work: Conclusion.
Boredom at work is something most of us feel from time to time, but few of us admit to it. And yet, it can be leveraged intentionally and strategically to increase your productivity, performance, and creativity.
Allow yourself some boredom at work and welcome the space for growth and expansion to occur.
I work with business owners and c-suite executives, supporting them to increase their productivity, banish their mental blocks and scale their business sustainably. If you would like to find out more about my different approach to business or executive coaching, then why not book a call today?