Not Elon’s Boring Company, but I’m taking a clue from a book that had a deep effect on me a year ago, Chris Bailey’s The Productivity Project. Chris funded his own sabbatical immediately after graduating college. He was always passionate about productivity. Given this period of freedom, he brainstormed One Hundred Ideas for being more productive.
He was his own guinea pig. He tried each idea, then evaluated as objectively as he could whether it had benefitted his Productivity.
Chris is very generous, allowing anyone to repost his content an make it their own, with due credit, and for purposes that aren’t about making a profit.
So I’m going to experiment on myself, inspired by his post
For one month, I chose a different task to deliberately make myself bored for an hour each day.
I’ve been feeling a bit bored lately—only, I’ve been making myself bored on purpose. Recently, I spent 30 straight days making myself bored for one hour each day.
But we also experience significantly less boredom with all these devices in our lives. We’re more stimulated than ever before; overwhelmed by a barrage of email alerts, Facebook notifications, and news updates. -Chris Bailey
I’m a huge fan of Chris Bailey’s book, The Productivity Project. Reading his excellent blog, I discovered that he had been experimenting with boring himself, not because he liked the feeling, but because he knew there was something deep and productive about doing nothing while in the doctor’s waiting room, not spending every moment on a flight jamming music, food, and video in to avoid the horror of doing nothing.
I do a lot to avoid boredom myself, especially late at night when I’m not sleepy. As I’ve started to use reminders to limit my own Screen Time (F.lux app on my computer, Night Shift on my iPhone), I’m having more empty moments that I don’t rush to fill.
Trying out Chris’ process:
Step 1: a list of boring things to do for one hour each day, with a new experiment every day for a month.
Brainstorm what makes me bored. Excruciatingly bored. We will all have unique elements on our lists, with some overlap. Take a photo of each item on the list as I do it.
- Watch grass grow.
- Eat a big bowl of brown rice, with nothing on it, one grain at a time. Do nothing else while eating.
- Use Google Maps to choose the slowest route with lots of traffic, heading toward a random spot.
- Staring into a tide pool for one hour without moving.
- Sorting each piece of paper in my home that is visible without opening a drawer.
- Rinsing every dish and glass I own, drying them with a towel. Putting anything I haven’t used in 3 months into a box.
- Dusting every tool I own, and putting them in a labeled box. (1 box is for Donate).
- Walking a meditation labyrinth for 1 hour alone.
- Listen to a friend without speaking for 1 hour.
- Watching a Bergman film with sound turned off and no subtitles.
- Spend 1 hour in a Sensory Deprivation tank.
- Talk to someone for one hour, listen, only say, “Oh, I see.” “That’s interesting.”
- Attend a meeting or MeetUp without saying a word for one hour.
To be continued…
What am I hoping for? Mindfulness. Insight. Awareness of what really matters to me.
I’d like to get to the root of why I move from project to project.
Why do I have to run out of my studio? And how can I get art and other work done while I live there. What is going to make my new space whatever/wherever it is different.
Time for art needs to come in uninterrupted blocks.