“When was the last time you were bored?” was the question posed by Manoush Zomorodi, author of Bored and Brilliant, host of @Notetoself, during a session at SXSWedu earlier this month. The question stumped me. The last time I was bored? I’m a working mom of two elementary school kids currently launching my first book who also volunteers to run our school’s foundation. Who has time to be bored? I can’t remember being bored since at least 2008. Who cares? And yet, the question lingered and nagged at me long after Manoush’s session. On the flight home, other questions started flooding my mind. When had life become so busy? Was I wearing busy as a badge of honor? How much did my phone and all the apps, dings, texts and notifications contribute to my business? Was any of it necessary? And worse, what was I teaching my kids by living such a busy life largely dictated by my phone?
In Bored and Brilliant, Manoush shares incredible research about how our smartphones are not only taking control of our lives but are actually reshaping our brains. She offers seven challenges to help you establish a baseline for your habits and clear some of the noise to create the space for boredom. Was I ready to take on the challenge?
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as we were headed to Mexico for five days. Sharing what I learned with my family, I committed to really disconnecting for our vacation. No facebook, Instagram, Twitter or email. I was ready to turn it all off. When I told my boys, they cheered (and I knew they would hold me accountable!) We all agreed our goal was to get bored and it was the best thing we have done as a family in a long time. Our days were filled with sandcastles, ice cream cones, and naps in hammocks. I felt so happy watching Owen, my seven-year-old, laying by the side of the pool watching a line of ants do their thing. It was then that I decided I wanted more of this and I was capable of making it happen at home as well.
Vacations end all too quickly and life resumes with all the daily challenges. While life isn’t as slow as it was on vacation, we have managed to slow it down. Getting bored is now an option at our house. We are creating space for thinking, creativity, and downtime that we hadn’t done before. Thank you Manoush, for reminding me that I am in control of when my phone gets to interrupt my life and I don’t need all those notifications all the time. Thank you for helping me see how important my habits are in setting the tone for those around me. It will be an ongoing journey for sure, but given the choice, I’ll choose the boredom badge over the busy badge anytime!
When was the last time you were bored?