There seems to be a sense of guilt associated with being bored.  We’ve come to believe that we’re only productive if our minds are actively occupied.  But Manoush Zomorodi, the host of TED Radio Hour says boredom stimulates our minds in a very important way.

When we do things that don’t require intense thought, like folding laundry for instance, our brains go into default mode.  This state allows us to connect disparate ideas, solve nagging problems, and do something she calls ‘autobiographical planning.’  This is when we look back at big moments in our lives and develop a personal narrative.  Then we set goals and figure out what steps we need to take to reach them. 

So, when you have down time, put down the phone, don’t turn on the TV.  Go for a walk.  Garden.  Clean up the yard or clean out a drawer or your closet.  Do whatever you must to give your mind time and space to put your life into perspective.  Take time to get to know yourself. Only then can you mindfully set the stage for what’s next.