Late Writing Prompt #2: How To Deal With Boredom

If you could slow down an action that usually zooms by, or speed up an event that normally drags on, which would you choose, and why?

The Daily Post, 1 November 2014

Because I have a short attention span of 5 minutes, I easily get bored with almost anything. But there are some events and tasks that I can barely endure, like:

Writing the first paragraph. Whether it’s starting a new blog post or a feature article, I take too long in actually starting it. When I wrote this particular post, I spent half an hour debating on whether to put up the writing prompt in quotation format or make a graphic for it. Then I spent the next half hour making the graphic, and when I finished, I decided to just quote the question instead. My next problem was how to start my answer, and so I gave myself a few minutes to try it, but I ended up just staring at the screen.

Washing dishes. Even though I know that it takes me less than 20 minutes to finish, I still hate doing it. As much as I can, I try to pass this chore to someone else, but it almost never works.

City traffic. Here in the Philippines, the traffic situation in Metro Manila is a disaster. Major roads are constantly congested by private vehicles, jeepneys, buses, and trucks. So many of these drivers do not follow traffic rules, resulting in accidents and traffic jams. To make things worse, the MRT, which is a rail transport along EDSA, is in a state of disrepair. The trains often break down and they are far behind on their maintenance schedules. Instead of benefiting from faster travel, commuters are more inconvenienced by such neglect.

I try not to travel farther than Makati City, which is a 30 minute- to 1 hour-drive from my house. Thankfully, everything I need is in my city, so I don’t always have to go as far to run errands, get a pedicure, or go shopping.

Even though I wish for a fast-forward button to get through these trying tasks, I have learned to cope with them.

When I’m having a hard time writing, I set a 5-minute timer and write anything I can think of, whether they are random sentences or words that do not make sense together. When time is up, I give myself a 5-minute break before going back to see what I wrote. Most of the time the stuff I write are what I really wanted to say, so I just choose which ones I like most, then I continue writing based on these. While this is still time-consuming, it helps me stay on track.

In doing menial tasks or being stuck in traffic or long queues, I listen to my favorite podcasts. Since I have something else to distract me, time doesn’t seem to go as slowly, and my day is not ruined.

HOW ABOUT YOU: How do you cope with a boring task or event that seems to drag on? Does it help speed up the time?

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