Being bored at work 'can boost creativity'

Most freelancers think being bored at work isn’t a good thing, but a new study claims it can boost a person’s creativity because it provides time for the mind to wander.

In research that gives the all-clear to daydreaming, University of Central Lancashire ran two studies that suggest the more passive or boring an activity, the more creative the mind should be afterwards.

Evidencing the claim, the researchers pointed to tests where some volunteers were given a deliberately mundane exercise to complete, and then asked to get on with a more interesting task that hinged on creativity. Other volunteers just got given the creative task.

The tests found that those who endured the initial task – copying numbers out of a phone directory – performed better on the creative task than those who were allowed to skip the boring exercise.

UCL’s senior psychology lecturer Dr Sandi Mann reflected: “Boredom at work has always been seen as something to be eliminated, but perhaps we should be embracing it in order to enhance our creativity.

“What we want to do next is to see what the practical implications of this finding are. Do people who are bored at work become more creative in other areas of their work – or do they go home and write novels?”

 

9th January 2013

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