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Boredom and creativity

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Boredom and creativity

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I’ve written a few times previously about various conditions that promote creative thinking.  For instance, I’ve written previously about how things such as caffeine, dim lighting and even a cafe level of noise can all boost our creative thought processes.

A new study suggests that being bored might also help to get our creative juices flowing.  The researchers from the University of Central Lancashire asked participants to copy numbers out of a telephone book for 15 minutes, before then doing a creative task.  They were up against a control group who skipped the mind numbing task and went straight into the fun and creative one.

It turned out that the group who had been asked to complete the boring task first, out performed their peers quite significantly.

“Boredom at work has always been seen as something to be eliminated, but perhaps we should be embracing it in order to enhance our creativity.

What we want to do next is to see what the practical implications of this finding are.

Do people who are bored at work become more creative in other areas of their work — or do they go home and write novels?” the researchers say.

So why does boredom boost our creativity?  The research suggests that boredom typically serves a purpose, which is usually to signal to us that something isn’t quite right, that we’re stuck in a rut and need to do something fresh and different.  So in many ways, it’s a natural precursor to the creation of new ideas.

So, maybe being bored at work isn’t such a bad thing.  Check out this post for some more tips on creative thinking, including a classic one of ‘actually’ sitting outside of a box.

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