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The Osgood File. This is Charles Osgood on the CBS Radio Network.

Have you ever been bored at work?

Maybe you're stuck in a meeting that goes on and on...

NAT - Boring Meeting Parody
"The BRD's in B3. We just need an SVP to sign off on the RFP. Now, this initiative might impact our PNL..." (:06)

Well, listen, I have some exciting news about being bored.

The story after this...

((( BREAK )))

Most of us don't like being bored at work - because it's so boring.

There's a Monty Python routine about a bored accountant who wants a more exciting career...

NAT - Michael Palin and John Cleese in "Monty Python's Flying Circus"
"(Palin:) I want a new job! Something exciting that will let me live. (John Cleese:) Well, surely, chartered accountancy is rather exciting, isn't it? (Palin:) Exciting?! No, it's not! It's dull - dull - dull! My, God, it's dull!" (:14)

But hold on there: a little boredom might actually do us some good on the job.

Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire in England say being bored often boosts creativity, because it gives us time to daydream.

They asked people to copy down phone numbers for 15 minutes - sort of a tedious task - and then, they asked those people to be creative by doing something else: coming up with new uses for some coffee cups - something constructive.

Well, it turns out the folks who had to copy the phone numbers first were then more creative with the coffee cups than another group of people who didn't have to copy the phone numbers.

The researchers say doing something boring seems to calm down our minds and allows them to wander a bit - even into creativity. In other words, a little daydreaming can make us better employees.

Still, you might want to be careful about this at work. You don't want to have to explain to the boss that you're making a giant paper clip chain as a prelude to a creative outburst. But this study suggests a little boredom certainly isn't a bad thing.

I wonder if geniuses like da Vinci and Einstein were ever bored?

Anyway, if you'll excuse me, I have a giant video clip collection to finish - yeah, that's better!

The Osgood File. I'll see you online at Facebook, Twitter and at theosgoodfile.com. This is Charles Osgood on the CBS Radio Network.
Charles Osgood
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