Handling Boredom is increasingly becoming a very important skill.
The entire gaming industry, social media, news industry, even online shopping has been built around this one feeling/emotion.
When we get Bored
We all get bored, want a break from whatever we are doing at hand and take a break. This is what all the pioneers in the industry are using against us to make us shop, play, read news, mindless chatting, videos etc. Little do we realize how , quickly time flies by and we end up not doing what we planned to do at the start of the day, depressed with mindless browsing, overwhelmed with information etc.
Hand held Addictions
How do we take back control from these Industry Giants, sitting in my smart phone and eating away my head and time. I remember the days I used to play Candy crush and the designs in the window panes would look like candies to me and I will be mentally moving them and it drove me crazy. This is a challenge and a battle I’m still fighting every day, but small changes have given me significant victories.
Reclaim your time and life
These are some of the steps I took to reclaim my time:
- 1)No games – It consumed huge memory in phone as well as my time, except the withdrawal symptom in the first few days, things quickly got better.
2)No news apps – I realized most breaking news, don’t matter, ever.
3)No shopping apps- I see many people app shop for fun scrolling through endless mostly indistinguishable fashion dresses. Flipkart and Amazon sometimes put themselves in default apps and I remove the notifications and the icons, even when I am unable to uninstall the same. Cal Newport goes so far as to recommend to not have any social media accounts as the benefit for most people does not justify the cost of our attention span and time that it consumes.
4)No Social media apps – Although it helps to share things much easily without logging in every time, I prefer to use web/desktop for it. This is by far the biggest win as Facebook tends to be the default go when bored site/app for most of us.
5) Restricted Mindless Browsing – Instead of scheduling work, schedule time for social media and other non work related mindless browsing. This is a very important methodology recommended by Cal Newport in his book Deep Work, a book on improving concentration, learning and productivity.
6)Removed Whatsapp from my home screen.
7)Notifications for email. You may schedule time in your day to check your email. This is something you can do for your official emails too especially if your work requires long periods of deep concentration to get the work done.
What do when you need a distraction
So I have removed all distractions now, so this probably will not distract me from my work. But I will continue to get bored and stare at my ‘smart phone’ and wish for an escape to another world where I don’t have to think about the work at hand. So these are some things I do, to handle this phase of the day.
Get other work done:
When I plan for my day’s work, I also plan for things that are not work. While I tend to put work on a calendar, I put things that are not work on a sticky list. It includes things like initiating that bank transfer which will take only a couple of mins to writing this blog post that can take upto 30 mins or more. So when I am looking for an escape I go through this list and do something for it. It breaks the monotony of work in a more useful way.
Smartphone as a learning tool:
After looking at my list above, most of you may wonder why I need a smart phone at all. I use this as my learning tool. After removing whatsapp from home screen, my go to boredom app has been kindle. Reading a few paragraphs to kill boredom has made me progress significantly in the book that I have in my Kindle and never got around to it reading it. I have read quite a few books now in the waiting time in line for lift, bus etc.
Short sprints of 25 mins of Pomodoro time can also help in warding off the creepy boredom by promising ourselves the end time for a focused activity. Progressively try to increase your Pomodoro time by 5 mins till upto 2 hrs to be able to improve your focused learning and practice.
Plan end time for distractions:
Plan end time for distracted browsing/news/games and other activities you tend to resort to when boredom strikes.
I hope this article helped you handle your boredom for a few mins and gave you some tips to gainfully handle it in the future as well.