It’s rare to hear this childhood plaint these days.*
Or is it?
What percentage of adult work these days is spent doing mindless stuff like expense accounts, surfing the Internet, or zoning out?
Simply put, those activities are our way of expressing boredom.
Or are they?
Today, more and more psychologists are advocating that we give our brains some downtime to improve mental health and allow ideas to incubate. After all, they point out, Archimedes discovered the ‘volume parity’ principle while bathing. Sir Paul McCartney composed the “Yesterday” tune in his sleep. Of late, the media is zeroing in on Americans’ propensity to not take vacations, noting that 61 percent of us work during our time off and, in 2013, each of us banked five unused vacation days.
Do those facts and figures point to our compulsive busynesses, powered by technology? Our guilt if there’s nothing to do? Or to behaviors that the workplace and, often, state of the economy seem to mandate?
We’d say ‘all of the above.’ The idea of doing nothing might be anathema. On the other hand, what better place to start unthinking than at work? See it now: Five-minute think breaks every so many hours. Coffee (and tea) interludes without staring at anything. Electronics unplugging once a day for x number of minutes.
Stop. Pause. Breathe. Create.
*We’ll guarantee you’ll never have to hear Mom’s rejoinder: “Go hit your head against a wall, then.”