Is having time to feel bored a lost treasure?

When you first hear the word treasure what do you think of? Does your mind instantly wonder to romantic tales of pirate ships and blue oceans or do you focus straight out on the things you value most in life?

It’s totally possible to have both of these thoughts simultaneously. As an artist lost treasure always leads me towards thinking about all the artworks that came and went before. Imagine having access to all the masterpieces we only read about in books…how wonderful!

A treasure that we seem to neglect all too often, is giving ourselves time to feel bored. With so much to entertain us the intense stretches of boredom I remember from my youth seems a stranger to me now. From my childhood there are many treasured memories of taking up new hobbies, watercolour painting, piano, cycling…all of which were inspired by the intense boredom of the pre-internet age. When growing up in an isolated area meant you either learned to entertain yourself or you went slowly crazy (in my case both events occurred).

two children boy girl looking bored with popcorn watching a film
In lieu of a childhood photo of me looking bored, here are two of Shutterstock’s cute kids

Nowadays, I’m never really bored. As soon as a sneak of boredom creeps in there’s the phone, the laptop, kindle, tablet, music…everything at the touch of the button. Boredom, the long hours stretching out endlessly unfilled ,is truly buried in the deep sea. Sometimes it seems that the treasures boredom helps reveal are buried too. We’re not bored enough to start conversations with strangers at the bus stop or in the local shops. Honestly, even the school gates are riddled with anti-boredom devices moving the usual parental gossiping to WhatsApp.

Group of people all on phones, tablet and laptop to stop them getting bored
There are so many distractions it’s hard not to feel the pull to be constantly engaged (photo from Shutterstock)

Like many lost treasures, boredom was discarded and tossed out without a thought to what really lies inside. Inside the treasure of time to feel bored there’s a host of skills, friendships and stories waiting to get out.

So, my mission for the next month is to allow myself to feel bored. To have spaces in the day where there is no attempt to fill the time or make it productive. Will you take the boredom challenge with me?

Maybe permission to feel bored is the secret to unlocking new creativity…

Let me know how embracing the boredom works out in the comments, or drop me a line via email.


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