Bored of it all, that’s probably a good thing


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No, we’re not talking about politics, it’s about creativity and learning that boredom is a good thing and can lead to fantastic results if you allow yourself the luxury and time to just sit and think, or not as the case may be.

Let me explain.

On Wednesday, Lauren Child was named Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate. As the author of many children’s books, some of her most famous starring the now televised Charlie and Lola, it may come as no surprise that she received the prestigious title, but what made the story all the more compelling was her comments.

Lauren explained during an interview on BBC breakfast that parents shouldn’t try to engage and entertain their children all of the time and that they should be allowed to get bored. Giving some context she said that children when they are bored are at their most creative because it gives their imagination chance to create stories.

Makes perfect sense.

This got me thinking – somewhat like a child perhaps – that as adults we should do the same. We spend all of our time trying to meet deadlines, reading emails, sending emails, on the phone, conference calls, skype… it’s relentless, but is it the best use of our time?   

We all strive to do the best but perhaps sometimes we need to stop, just stop, and let our minds wander.

Working in a creative industry you would think that we do this a lot, but we don’t. We have deadlines to meet and as well as journalist requests we have schedules of activity for clients that we need to fulfil. Sitting around and looking into space is not on the agenda – but perhaps it should be.

I’m not one for wasting time – far from it – but if I thought that we could come up with better and more creative ideas by letting our minds wander every now and then, I would certainly be an advocate.

Then there’s the next generation of talent to think about. They have been brought up in a society that relies on the internet, on phones, on knowing that you can ask a device for information and it will be with you in seconds. How creative, or rather how bored, have they ever been allowed to be?

It’s a real worry to think that young people don’t make up stories, have adventures and sit along to play like we once did. They have apps and iPads that ‘fill’ a space and keep them entertained. They are spoilt by engagement and we don’t even realise what negative impact we could be having on them.

Lauren comments: “Looking out of the window and letting your mind float and suddenly you will see the most amazingly funny thing that will turn into a brilliant idea.”

I found that statement so powerful. I can completely resonate with her words. There are times when I feel like I’m up against a brick wall, I just can’t make a story work, so I will take a walk and get away from my desk, give myself the time to think it through, come back and I’ve got it.

Being bored isn’t a bad thing, it’s a great thing and I think we should all learn to embrace it and to put some imagination back into our lives, both at work and at home.