Recently I came across a Manoush Zomorodi’s book ‘Bored and Brilliant.’ Its central idea is that in order to have great ideas we need to be bored. And there is science behind this. Giving our brains a break from constant stimulation gives us time to consider things in a new light.
With constant news and updates at our fingertips through smartphones, we seem to increasingly fill our time with doing something. But endless scrolling through technology isn’t ‘downtime’ in the sense that we think it is. We are still engaging with the content and that doesn’t give our brains the break they need to create brilliance.
Having time to sit back and think about how to move forward isn’t just beneficial in our personal lives, it’s key at work too. I think there is a lesson for employers in the central message of this book – you need to give your employees space to have brilliant ideas.
In every job, at any level, having time and space to think through the challenges that your work throws up is essential to creativity in teams and businesses. Whilst employers are, rightly, keen to have productive employees who produce results for them, we don’t often think of downtime as something that will lead to great things.
This book and the research that it references shows us that the opposite is true. Having time and space is what gives us the chance to face bigger challenges and come up with new ideas.
We often talk about work/life balance, which is important. Maybe we also need to think about the balance of the work that we do in order to make time for more ‘boredom’ and better results.