Sarah listens to Manoush Zomorodi's Note to Self podcast, and had recently read her new book, Bored and Brilliant. In the book, Manoush talks about lessening our reliance on boredom busters (generally web surfing, social media, and games on our phones) and keeping open space for daydreaming. That's when many people get their best ideas, and the fact that we never let ourselves be bored means we're cutting off a great source of creativity. The problem is that boredom isn't fun. Hence the quick phone checks. But it's necessary.
Anyway, today's episode hooks onto that book, and covers how we deal with tech: texting, email, etc. Today's discussion question: where is the white space in your life? When do you do your thinking? Are there times you purposefully cut yourself off from communication and let yourself be bored, so you can be brilliant?
I tend to do this while running. I generally don't listen to anything while I run. If I'm on the treadmill, sometimes I'll listen to a podcast or music, but when I'm outside I never do. And so if I'm running by myself (and 6 out of 7 days I am) I'm doing a lot of what Manoush calls "autobiographical planning" and turning various things I've seen into a narrative. It's kind of like writing the rough draft of a blog post.
Sarah listens to music or podcasts while running, but she mentioned occasionally leaving open space while she's in the car, or getting a massage (not that this happens all that often! But sometimes!). A few other good times for thinking: If I'm fortunate enough to have woken up without the 2-year-old screaming for me, I love to lie in bed and just daydream. I find that those moments of going in and out of sleep can be particularly fruitful. Lots of people get good ideas in the shower. Some people like to sit in a coffee shop and people watch. Or stare out the window on the train. When I'm supervising the kids in the backyard, sometimes I like to leave the phone inside. That's partly about interacting with the kids, but often they're doing their own thing, and so that allows me to do my own thing too.
Where is your mental white space? Have you ever tried to create more daydreaming time in your life? What are some of the great ideas that have come to you in this white space?