I really enjoy reading books that will help me better myself in some way. For that reason I was really excited to hear about the book, “Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self,” by Manoush Zomorodi. Zomorodi is the host of WNYC’s podcast Note to Self, the podcast the launched the Bored and Brilliant experiment.
The experiment that was launched via the podcast was a series of challenges that listeners would follow in order to allow themselves to be bored. Many, if not most/all of the challenges included strategies that help you put down your devices and let your mind wander. However, Zomorodi is clear that she is not anti-tech and even shares a few apps that can help you make conscious decisions about your tech usage. One of these will tell you how many hours and minutes that you are using your phone. If you use certain settings it will break down how long you spend in each app through the week, which I have found very helpful to demonstrate where my weak points are so that I can avoid spending so much time on those apps the following week.
Some of the challenges are easier than others, and some aren’t new ideas either. I’ve heard from many places to delete ‘that’ app. ‘That’ app that causes you the most time suck to your day. Are you constantly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with no end to the perma-scroll? Then that is going to be ‘that’ app for you. Always mindlessly playing Candy Crush, Sims Freeplay, or Home/Gardenscapes? There’s your app to delete. I’ll be honest, I have yet to delete ‘that’ app on my phone/tablet. But I have been more mindful of my time on those apps and find myself closing them down after shorter time periods than before.
However, one of the more interesting things I took out of this book were all the sections of research on boredom and how being bored can lead to being more productive/creative. I did not really expect to learn as much as I did. I expected more of a general overview, similar to the many other self-help/happiness books out there. As a librarian, one of the most intriguing tidbits I read in the book was about how our attention spans have decreased from reading on the Internet so much, leading to fewer literacy skills. Zomorodi interviewed a scholar that had to reteach herself how to read her own favorite (lengthy) novel by increasing the amount of time spent reading print books. I found that absolutely fascinating! In beginning this blog I have definitely been picking up my reading of print and I have noticed a pick up in my “reading endurance” of print materials.
I found this book very enlightening and think it could be a good tool for those looking for a way to put down those devices and to start daydreaming more.
Happy Reading 🙂