#018—I dare you to feel bored

Helllllo from Florida (my new home!). I’m finally somewhat settled after a week of cross-country moving. Thank you all for the love and kind wishes last week for the move. 💜

Last week, I also got a really awesome response to my social media consumption email from a few weeks ago.  And it inspired me to ask this question: when was the last time you were bored and didn’t get on your phone or your laptop to consume something?

In other words, when was the last time you let yourself be bored for a little while? The person that wrote to me shared how she defaults to social media anytime she feels bored, and after my email, she challenged herself to remain bored for a while and see what happens.

And I LOVED that. A lot of people I know want to be more creative, and the advice I give them is usually to find some time to be bored—and see where it takes you. It may sound a little counterintuitive at first, but I’ll talk more about the link between creativity and boredom in Final Thoughts

For now, let’s get into the resources for this week. 🎉


💼  CAREERS AND MEANINGFUL WORK

One of the trends that the pandemic accelerated among workers, especially those early-to-mid career, is burnout

Part of the problem is that with so many of us staying home, the line between work and life has blurred. But not only that, the other things we used to do—our “non-work” lives—have been put on hold. I had Justin Welsh on my podcast a couple weeks ago (here’s the link), and although he’s had a wildly successful career by any measure, he’s also been a victim of burnout. 

We talked at length about what can happen when work becomes your identity—stress, weight gain, drinking, panic attacks, etc.—and what he wished he’d done to stop all of that from happening in the first place.

If you feel like you’re being sucked into your job right now or just experiencing burnout in general, it’s definitely worth a listen here

  • Love your books but not making the time to read all of them? Here’s The Rabbit Hole with amazing book summaries + notes


👋  SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL HANGOUTS

  • Breaking into Social Impact

September 24th, 5:30 p.m. PDT

How do you start a career in social impact? How do you make the transition from a nonprofit to a social impact role at a for-profit? If you’ve ever had questions like these, the Breaking into Social Impact virtual meetup is for you. We’re bringing together a panel of high-caliber speakers to share advice and give you a peek into the day-to-day life of a social impact professional in the corporate world. More details here.

  • Personal Wellness: Shift Your Morning Routine

September 29th, 10:00 a.m. PDT

Join Keynote Speaker, Clarity Strategist, and Founder of The Morning Shift Co.,Tiffany Lanier for a helpful workshop to help you have more of the work/life balance you crave. More details here.

  • Women in Tech Breakfast

September 25th, 9:00 a.m. PDT

Moving to the next level in your career, you need to be your own best advocate. How do you approach conversations with your manager around wanting a promotion or raise? What are ways to demonstrate your impact and growth? When do you know it’s time to take that next step? Join us for our upcoming #WomeninTech Leadership Breakfast as our panelists share their stories and give advice on advocating for yourself at work. More details here.


⭐  FINAL THOUGHTS

After last week’s newsletter about passive consumption of social media, someone emailed me with a really cool story. She had read the newsletter, and it made her realize how much time she spent passively scrolling through Instagram, especially when she felt bored. 

So, the next time she was feeling bored, she consciously denied herself any scrolling. And instead, she wound up making some art and music she’d been putting off for months

I believe most people who want to feel more creative and do more creative work should start here. Instead of constantly looking for more inspiration, try getting rid of the habits that sap your creativity. The biggest one, for most of us, is that the moment we feel bored, we unlock our phones and find something to cure that boredom. Unfortunately, that’s usually a passive activity like watching a video or scrolling through Instagram. 

I found a Nikola Tesla quote last week that really drove this point home for me: 

“Be alone; that is the secret of invention. Be alone; that is when ideas are born.” 

Being connected is great. Being connected all the time means we never get to truly be alone. And it’s when we’re alone (and yes, often bored) that our minds have the open space they need to come up with something creative. That’s when we have the opportunity to choose doing or making over consuming. 

When you whip out your phone, you cure your boredom at the cost of your creativity. 

Instead, try one of these tactics to keep your mind open and creativity flowing:

  1. Go for a walk. Simple, fast, and you can do it wherever you are—even if you’re inside (pacing does the trick). Walking is a proven method for increasing creativity and thoughtfulness, and it’s a great way to get in the flow. I’ve been challenging myself to go for walks first thing in the morning and in the middle of the day.  It helps to have Lilah, my pup. ;) 

  1. Lie down and meditate. Again, this one is pretty quick and easy. You might already be on the couch when the desire to look at your phone strikes. So, close your eyes and just see what comes to you. Be patient. Sometimes I end up dozing off for 15 minutes and wake up with soooo many creative ideas.

  1. Journal or doodle. Expressing yourself through words or images can lead to some great ideas, but it never happens if you’re buried in your phone. These are the preliminary steps toward coming up with a really cool idea. 

Let me know if you have any other ideas or habits you’ve developed to unleash your creativity. And also keep me in the loop if you implement any of the above!

I always love hearing from you,

Shireen