When was the last time you were really, truly bored? Was it before you got your first smartphone or before your Macbook became your fifth limb?
The host of WNYC’s popular New Tech City podcast Manoush Zomorodi is posing that question, and others like it, as part of her “Bored and Brilliant: Reclaiming the Lost Art of Spacing Out” challenge.
“We humans do our most original thinking and best problem solving when our brains are allowed to wander,” Zomorodi explains. “This high-level creative thinking takes place in what’s called ‘the default mode’ network of the brain. When it looks like we are doing nothing or spacing out, our brains are actually incredibly busy.” (Isn’t that the best news?)
To help you rediscover how valuable doing nothing can be, Zomorodi’s week-long challenge (February 2–8) will essentially nudge you towards more tech-free moments of boredom. If you choose to participate, you’ll face daily tasks like keeping your phone in your pocket while walking down the street, and identifying the app you’re most addicted to—and deleting it (bye, Instagram!).
“It costs us nothing to see what happens when we change our habits. Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised at what our brains come up with,” she says. “That’s got to be better than getting to the next level of Candy Crush, right?” Right. —Jamie McKillop
For more information and to sign up for the challenge, visit www.wnyc.org