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Why being bored is essential to peace and creativity

Yesterday I got back into London at 7am after taking an overnight coach back from a long weekend in Paris. My creative career has seen some major changes recently (I’ve decided to self-manage for one and my revenue streams have shifted) and wanted to celebrate it by spending a long weekend away, by myself. In March of this year, I moved into my first flat with my partner and we have spent every day together since, which is such a joy but also something we are not used to and so stepping away was very much needed as a way to reflect. 

I was determined to not work during this long weekend. If I felt inspired, then I’d finish a song or two (which I did) plus I did record some content for TikTok but besides this I searched for boredom and inactivity I stayed with a great friend of mine in Pont Neuf who is a stylist and spent most mornings out of the house picking up garments and going to studios. This left me the mornings to myself for me to do as a pleased; to go for a stroll, talk to a seventy year old stranger on the terrasse of a corner café, to stare at the street art and sit under the sun. I also took the train out to Bois-Le-Roi (a wood area with a lake 30 minutes outside of Paris by train) with two friends to simply frolic around in nature, swim and look up at the sky as if we were five year olds again. 

What I found was that through being bored and searching for the simplistic, I was truly able to not only find peace but clarity. I was able to look at myself through a lens of hindsight even though I’d experienced all these changes only a week prior. It turned a weekend break into a creative and emotional retreat but not overbooking myself and even politely saying no to lunch with a few people simply as a means to search for solitude. 

This quote from life coach Zoe Mallet sums up the importance of boredom far better than I ever could:

‘[Boredom] creates an opportunity for the mind to be still and allows for our thoughts to wander freely. When we’re rushing around, focusing on projects, immersed in a creative lead and in meetings with expected outcomes, our minds are often busy, somewhat too focused – which doesn’t always allow a sense of freedom. You’re allowing your mind some breathing time, a time to catch up and refocus on the simple things.’

Zoe Mallet

There were many takeaways from my trip to Paris, but searching for boredom and solitude was the main thread that ran throughout. Here are some ways I intend to implement that same feeling into my daily routine as a creative freelancer juggling multiple projects and jobs. 

  1. Carve out the time for boredom.
    From now on, I will be sure to give myself at least one and a half days off a week and most evenings. I intend to approach time management in a way that fits as much as possible between 10am and 7pm 4 days a week, then 11am and 4pm two days a week. On those evenings, I will use that as social time off (drinks with friends, gigs etc) and I will dedicate an entire day per week as time to shut off and be bored. This could be going for a walk in a large park or taking a £10 return train to Brighton either by myself or with a friend or partner. Splitting boredom time with yourself and a significant other is also important as a way to gain perspective on both your professional and personal life. 
  2. Let go of expectations
    When truly bored we shouldn’t be frustrated. We aren’t seeking a type of boredom that is anxious about an email and sitting twiddling their thumbs waiting for a reply. No, we are seeking a childlike boredom, a calm sense of inactivity that allows the mind to wonder and ponder. You never know how this state will manifest itself in your creative work throughout the rest of that week. 
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