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Being bored at work could boost creativity

9th January 2013

Psychologists have suggested that daydreaming at work could improve creativity.

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University of Central Lancashire researchers say time spent in a boring meeting may not be totally wasted because it gives the mind a chance to wander, which in turn could raise the brain’s creativity and help the business.

Senior psychology lecturer Dr Sandi Mann said their work showed  daydreaming could be potentially beneficial in the workplace and there should not be such a stigma associated with boredom.

“It allows lateral thinking that could assist with problem solving,” said Dr Mann.

To reach their conclusions, the research team gave volunteers boring tasks to complete and then another task to measure their creativity. This group did better than those who had not been given a boring task to do first, according to the findings presented to the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society Division of Occupational Psychology in Chester.

The two studies carried out by Dr Mann and Rebekah Cadman explored the effects of ‘passive’ boredom, such as staring into space during meetings.

The results indicate that more passive boring activities, like reading or attending meetings, can lead to more creativity with researchers suggesting  stimulating jobs that never allowed the brain any ‘down-time’ could be counter-productive.

Dr Mann said: “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.”

The next step for the researchers is to examine the practical implications of the findings.

 

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