Could folding washing be the solution?
While solving problems is great fun, sometimes you hit a snag and it feels like your brain is running on empty or going down the same track over and over again. While working in an office you might wander over to the kitchen and find someone to talk to and try and reset your brain. While this sometimes works other times it merely supports your current track of thinking, and you are back where you started.
Working from home has removed our ability to simply wander into the kitchen to have a chat. So, what can we do to kick our brains back into gear again?
This made me think of back when my children were small and I was working from home, I would go and fold a myriad of tiny clothes during my lunch and ideas would pop into my head or that odd little item I was trying to find would suddenly pop into mind and I would know where it was. This intrigued me, I wonder if I could trigger the same type of ‘aha’ moment now. So, I folded washing the next time I was stuck on a problem trying to clear my mind and focus on folding. It needs to be noted that I hate folding washing. It seemed to work, my brain felt unstuck, and I went back to my desk ready to solve my problem.
There must be a reason this method works for me. And if there is this might work for others as well. I am by no means educated in psychology, just an IT consultant wanting to solve my technical problems. So off to google, and there is research pointing to boredom being beneficial in triggering creativity and productivity.
Time magazine wrote an article on the subject in 2019 called “Being Bored Can Be Good for You—If You Do It Right. Here’s How".
Psychology today also supports boredom and mundane activities. In a 2020 article they wrote “The boring tasks encouraged their minds to wander, which led to creative ways of thinking. The study showed that with mundane activities we discover useful ideas. In the absence of external stimulation, we use our imagination and think in different ways.” Link to article
So, it looks like folding the washing really is the answer!