The business benefits of boredom


boredom1There’s a reason why some of your best, most creative and off-beat but important ideas come in the car, in the shower or during a workout.

The less you’re thinking about something else, the more likely you’ll come up with something new, unique, helpful, brilliant.

I was reminded of this when reading an article from LUX Dynamics founder John McCarty the other day.  His company manufactures energy-efficient lighting.  The gist: he sometimes lets boredom guide him to important business decisions.  In his case specifically, that means going down to to the shop and doing menial tasks – organizing boxes, mopping, etc.

Here’s why he does it (in his own words):

Over the years, I’ve made it a point to schedule boredom into my busy work week.  When my staff leads for the day and I’m alone to be with my thoughts, I turn on the stereo, change into grubby clothes and go to work on something trivial.  This approach to ideation has resulted in unconventional strategies for growth.  When I look back at my better business moments, I can always point to something small I was doing prior that attributed to the creation of something bigger and better.

If your brain is always engaged on something specific, you aren’t giving yourself the creative bandwidth to really think, or in some cases quite the opposite – think about nothing while doing something that requires little to no thinking, so your brain can do the work for you.

There’s significant science behind this (check out this book to read more about it), but it works.  And I bet you can think of a handful of times when it’s “accidentally” happened to you as well.

Worth thinking about (or not…..).