I poured one last cup of tea, propped my iPhone against the empty teapot, kicked my feet up on my desk, and FaceTimed Jill Pollack, my partner in Story Mode. For weeks on end, we’d been in one virtual meeting after another, simulating “eye contact” and making creative progress with clients, collaborators, family, and friends. We finally had a moment to take a breath.
“We have a lot of ideas on our to-do lists,” I said. “How should we focus? What’s needed of us next?” Jill answered in the best way possible: with a question. And not just any question, but one that put us in touch with the people we aim to serve:
“In all these meetings, what has everyone been talking about?” she asked. “What’s on their minds?”
The people in our midst are a striking mix:
Our contacts are not all of one type. They’re doing all different kinds of work.
But they are all of one “meh.”
Recalling one conversation after another, we were struck by how many people talked about:
- enduring long days of e-meetings
- struggling to make meaningful human connections through screens and speakers
- wishing for a change of scenery while doing *all the things* from home, week after endless week
That’s a lot of “meh.”
Pandemic living stirs plenty of emotions that set heart rates racing; fear, anxiety, frustration. But another emotion has slouched its way into our days–one that has us sighing, yawning, and checking to see if anyone still has a pulse.
After more than six months of doing what we’re doing, the monotony is getting to us.
(Never mind that just when you think you’ve got a handle on things, someone changes the rules. Constant pivoting is not renewing our spirits. It’s wearing us out.)
We’re freaking bored.
There is nothing more boring than a bored ________. You can fill that blank with any role at all. For inspiration, see the “meh” faces above.
Are you nodding? Maybe shaking your head? Either way, it’s because you know this person. The one who’s so bored, they’re boring the crap out of everyone else. They’re the last one you want on the grid for Zoom cocktails. They’re also bottom of the list when you’re choosing who to hire, promote, or otherwise involve.
But hold up. What if it’s you?
If you’re bored, then you’re boring.
You deserve more than “meh.” And so do the people around you. If you feel yourself slipping down the sorry spiral of boredom, it’s time to reverse the trend. #RefuseToBeBoring. Grab hold of something positive and work your way back to a perch of positivity.
How? By planning curiosity and surprise into your days.
doing the unexpected
Accept this 7-day boredom-busting challenge.
- Pull up your calendar for the coming week.
- Look at every meeting or appointment.
- Pick at least one event per day where you can inject a moment of curiosity or surprise.
- Add a note to those appointments, indicating exactly what you will do.
Work this plan for one week. Each day, see how taking small, simple steps lifts your own spirits. Notice how others respond, too. At the end of the week, reflect on your wins and decide how you can #RefuseToBeBoring in the next seven days.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Before long, you won’t need to plan these boredom busters. Your creative impulse will take over, and curiosity and surprise will become your new normal. (Gasp! Trigger phrase!)
No longer stuck in the “meh,” you won’t be bored, and you won’t be boring.
I’m never bored because I’m always drawing. All illustrations in this post are my own. Follow me on Instagram to watch my experiments with visual art. Throughout 2020, I’m illustrating a quote a day.