Monday, 16 April 2012

Busy, busy, busy

When I was little I was always told; 'bright people don't get bored - they find something to do.' The thing is, it has stuck. I can't erase it from my head. I am bright (or would like to think I am) therefore I must. not. get. bored.

So, I'm really good at filling my time. I can find umpteen different things to do with any spare moment lurking in the shadows. And if I can't squeeze what I want to do into that time, I have an innate ability to str-e- t - c - h time to fit in what I need it to fit. In fact, I would go so far as to say I am particularly talented at keeping busy.

The problem is, in equating being busy with being 'bright', I never stopped to realise that actually, sometimes, being bored is useful. Ok, perhaps not boredom exactly, but down time; time to recoup, to do little or nothing than just be and to breathe. To appreciate living and take stock, or just, literally, switch the grey matter off. It turns out I'm really not that good at stopping. In fact I'd go so far as to say I'm not at all 'bright' (or intelligent) in that area of my life. Not at all.

It's a skill I need to learn. And I think I need to accept that my skills in this area are significantly remedial, for now. But how do I temper this boredom...? It's spilling into frustration at the moment, and there's part of me that just wants to get busy; do stuff; keep my mind and body active. I mean I don't want my brain to stupefy, but there's something in me that thinks that I need to learn to do this now, or I will never master just being; I risk always being the product of my actions and the things I do.

So, I wonder - how do you cope with boredom? Do you get frustrated? What do you do if you can't just 'do something'? What's the secret to just be-ing? I think contemporary psychology calls this 'mindfulness', but whatever you call it, if you have any tips - please share!


  1. I probably err too much to the other side--I don't mind sitting around and pondering life, sipping tea or coffee. I'd like to keep myself a bit more busy. :)

  2. To be fair, I think teaching is really designed to induce this can't-sit-still state in people!! After having a really long and hectic day, I sometimes find myself going into sort of "super woman" mode where I can't just do nothing and have to keep getting things done - I'll be like "ooh, I think I'll just clean the bathroom before I go to bed" and Mario will be saying "no! relax!!" Maybe it'll take a while for that to wear off for you.

    It's quite nice to have things like long train journeys (without marking!!) or going for a long run, or, for me, sometimes, having to sit with a student because I don't want to leave them alone for whatever reason, to force you to take a break from getting things done.

    Mary xx