Notes on boredom: the other side of productivity.

should print this and stick it on my forehead

We human beings are such drama queens. Or maybe that’s just me and I do a slight generalization in order not to really feel alone on this one.

When I was a little girl, I’d constantly run around the house saying “I’m bored” to everyone and every thing I bumped into; I even had a reputation: my grandma always would always tell me that no matter what she’d suggest, she knew I’d always end up bored.
For the past couple of years (I dare to say 9-10 years), I’ve managed to keep myself always busy, therefore boredom was not a word of my regular use. I mean, I have of course experienced boredom in such areas like school, uni and work throughout these times, yet nothing compares to the feeling of boredom I’m experiencing now.

Today, I’m bored like those days when I was five. I run around the house telling my boyfriend how bored I am and how I don’t feel like doing anything I would normally enjoy, all that would normally keep me busy. These past few months were extremely loaded with work, obligations, routines, to-do lists (plus a huge pandemic, so yeah) and I’ve come to the conclusion that, perhaps, all these amounts of workload could have drained not only my energy but also my interest/passion/enthusiasm/ call it what you want.

Working on client projects, posting one video a week and one blog post a week, working on my graphic novel, delivering monthly mails in two languages, studying german, doing the artist way, having an apartment to take care of, a relationship to enjoy, a person whose needs I want to address (hint: me)… How can I do all that for a certain amount of time and not see any side effects?


I believe myself to be a sucker for routines, productivity hacks, to-do lists, hard work, and habit trackers, however, now having everything scheduled/ organized/“under control” (as if!) has just automatized each and every side of the tasks leaving aside the fun and “lust” for keep making things.

“The greatest threat to success is not failure is boredom” and “Professionals stick to the schedule. Amateurs let life get in the way” are both quotes by James Clear, taken from his book “Atomic Habits”. As those quotes really motivated me at the beginning of this path I want to ask James if he ever felt like not doing something not because it’d be perceived as a failure if he stopped, but for the simple fact that it no longer would bring him as much joy as it used to.

In any case, I am using this time of boredom to explore and try to find the answer to “what would make me feel good now?” and taking it one day at a time. While some days is cooking, some others is painting or watching a movie. As I wrote in my last newsletter, the artists go through seasons and I feel that even though there are things I must do (hi work! hi, German lessons), I want to embrace this boredom and go through it, to see what’s on the other side.


Wan Raitelli is a Freelance illustrator who dictates creativity workshops and creates visual content for selected clients. Subscribe to her monthly online letters, check out her work on her portfolio and follow her in social media @wanraitelli

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