It’s almost anyone’s guess whether we ought to prepare for more boredom at work in the future (because we will become robot-sitters), or less (because the robots will take care of the grunt work). But one thing that feels true is that we’re not supposed to be bored at work these days—nor, for that matter, should we have much downtime anywhere. Our phones, smart watches, and endless notifications help us avoid it.
Yet boredom can and does sneak into any job. A dull conference presentation numbs the mind in even the most exotic of settings. If you’re an academic, even a famous one, you still will have paperwork and tedium to deal with. If you work for Uber or Lyft, you might get stuck in hours-long waits at airports.
For these intervals of boredom, we should count ourselves lucky, according to a study published recently in the Academy of Management Discoveries journal. The research suggests being disinterested in one chore at work might lead you to look for novelty in the next. For some personalities, that leads to enhanced creativity.
Browse the researchers’ published works: