We have been housesitting a great house near the beach, 30 minutes away from Amsterdam City center for the past 3 weeks. Everything about the house is great: It's location: 500 meters (0.3 mile) to the beach, amenities: great bathrooms, beautiful decoration and interior design and the roommates: an old purry furry cat and a bitsy bity rabbit.
One thing however the house didn't come with was a dish washing machine.
"Aaargh", was my initial thought when I noticed the lack of this first world luxury machine. But now, after 3 weeks of doing the dishes, I found the job actually quite soothing. It was always a bit difficult to get to it at first, so most of the times I did yesterday's evenings dishes in the morning.
But when I finally started, it didn't take long before I entered a sort of Zen state. Despite how boring the job seems, the repetitiveness really helped me get into the zone and drift away with my thoughts. It was just me, the soap, dirty dishes, hot water and an occasionally meowing cat.
Then it got to me: "I should have these moments more often". When I am in Amsterdam, I occasionally do the morning walk to the office. This is also said to be a great way to activate your mind, by moving. What really helped with the soap and water dishes was the fact that I couldn't touch any 'connected device' for a while and stay away from the distraction.
I dove a bit deeper into the internets and found some alignment:
- UK Author Neil Gaiman recently chatted in Seth Meyers' Late Night Show(1:40) about 'embracing boredom' as a tip for young writers, as he says: "Ideas come from daydreaming. They come from drifting".
- The British Psychological Society in England showed in a research on the matter that workers given a very boring routine job to do were much more creative immediately afterwards than workers who were not bored.