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Boredom gets a bad rap in our society and should – so they say – be avoided at all costs. Many people seem to be afraid – or ashamed – of not being constantly busy. That is a pity and, in my opinion, even unhealthy because we also need times of idleness and leisure to generate new ideas.

The smartphone, in particular, has become a gap-filler for every occasion. Have an extra minute somewhere? Pull out your smartphone and check … well, even if there’s nothing to check: In the supermarket line, in a café, at a traffic light, or on the train. Everyone is complaining about it, and yet you probably join in too, don’t you? But at least for today, that’s over!

So, here comes your task now:

Leave your smartphone at home today and take an hour out of your schedule. For this hour, find a park bench or a quiet place outside your house where you can sit comfortably. In bad weather, do this inside, like at a café.

Note: If today is really not a good day, then plan a date in your diary for this task no later than within the next five days. Schedule a task in your calendar and activate a reminder to give you enough time to complete it.

Sit there for 60 minutes and do nothing but watch what is happening around you. Avoid starting a conversation, and don’t distract yourself; just be there, sit and see what happens. Be aware of your impulses, but don’t judge them. For example: “Oh, now I wanted to reach into my pocket again to pull out my mobile phone. Well, it’s just not there now.” Or, “Geez, people are going to think there’s something wrong with me, just sitting here alone and not even doing anything. Maybe they’ll think I don’t have any friends? Or that I’ve been stood up? Oh, never mind what people think. I’m fine just the way I am, sitting here now.” The principle behind this is called “mindfulness” or “being in the here and now.”

Second part of the task:

At the end of the hour, write down your observations and thoughts: What did you notice? Have you discovered insights that are important to you? Was it pleasant or unpleasant, and why? Did this feeling change over time?

On this day (and gladly also on the following days), look out for moments where “boredom” can arise and consciously do not fill them in, but simply sit or stand and perceive what is happening and how you feel. Examples are: sitting in a waiting room without reading one of the newspapers; sitting at a bus stop or on a bus/tram without staring at your mobile phone; waiting at a cash register without distracting yourself; waiting for someone in a café without reading or holding a mobile phone in your hand, etc.

Third part of the task:

At the end of the day, write down your experiences in your notebook and enjoy reflecting on them with someone. In particular, it also examines how it felt without a smartphone. That often involves a certain amount of fear (“What if something happens now!?!”), but also the good feeling of having control over yourself again (“I don’t need it.”).

This exercise raises your awareness of the many influences and the flood of information coming from the outside. You will withdraw from it bit by bit to hear (more) of your “inner voice” again. You need this voice to discover your “calling” and then to develop it consistently.

So, during the 90-Day Program, repeat this exercise every once in a while, when you have short breaks.