Insights from the SPARKFUL teams

Can’t Stop Feeling Anxious When Idling? Practice Spacing Out and Boost Creativity Using Boredom

Editorial Teamplayfulwellness

Remember how you killed time in the old days when smartphones were not available? We are so accustomed to playing on the phone during fragmented time as if this is how we make the most out of our time. We feel anxious and guilty when we are bored and wonder if we should do something meaningful. 

In fact, boredom can catalyze interesting ideas. At Fourdesire, the driving force of our creativity comes from turning dull but important day-to-day habits such as maintaining a healthy life, managing personal finances, and self-caring into something interesting. This is why we developed the apps “Plant Nanny”, “Walkr”, “Fortune City”, and “To-Do Adventure”.

It is impossible to live every minute and second with fun. Enjoying a moment of spacing out keeps our brain from being overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle, anxiety, and pressure. Let’s rediscover boredom and practice spacing out together! 

What if you feel bored? Let your mind roam

You might have this experience: a solution to a long-standing problem strikes you when taking a showering or drying hair.

This is a gift for letting your brain relax.

Sandi Mann, psychiatrist and author of “The Upside of Downtime” says boredom switches our brains into the default mode, prompting our mind to wander freely and get into our subconscious to create new connections. This is how creativity is born.

Fourdesire’s “To-Do Adventure” app not only helps you plan work schedules, it also encourages you to put spacing out into a daily ritual, hence recovering the brain’s resilience and vitality.


▲ Put spacing out in your to-do list

3 Tips to Practice Enjoying Spacing Ou

Spacing out doesn’t mean idling around. According to the book “Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change”, when the brain is concentrated on work, the analytical thinking mode is triggered. Give the analytical thinking mode a break so the elastic thinking mode can become active. This will stimulate creativity. 

Below are 3 activities you can do when taking a break. Let’s practice spacing out!

Tip 1. Regain control over your life by doing housework

Want to space out while making some contributions? Doing housework is a good choice! The repetitive movements when doing housework help calm down emotions and reduce anxiety (plus making the home clean and tidy!)

It’s interesting to know that Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, the two richest persons in the world, have one thing in common. They both like washing dishes. When hands get in touch with water, the parasympathetic nervous system becomes active. The regular dish-washing movements help the brain and body relax.

Tidying rooms, brushing toilets or washing dishes gives you a sense of control and achievement, thus making you happier (so are your roommates or parents!)

Tip 2. Knit Like the Olympic Gold Medalist

During the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, British diver Tom Daley, also an Olympic gold medalist, impressed onlookers across the world when he was spotted knitting in the stands. For him, knitting helps him stay calm, get satisfaction, and relieve stress.

The repetitive movements of inserting the needle and winding the yarn require collaboration between the hand, eye, and brain. When you get into the flow and focus on your hands, the brain will be able to wander and explore freely.

Fourdesire 《記事探險》藝術家 Douzi 的勾勾狸刺繡

▲ Artist Douzi knitted the Ticktail from Fourdesire’s “To-Do Adventure” app

Knitting is a kind of creation and repetitive finger movements can keep stimulating the brain. Knitting has become a mediation practice and has been applied in art therapy in the psychology field.

Even better, when your hands are entangled in the yarn, you won’t be able to check your phone constantly. 

Tip 3. Explore your subconscious by walking 

Walking is a good exercise and a form of rest. Walking requires the collaboration of several body parts and involves very little brain activity. This is when the elastic thinking mode becomes most active.

Walking is a daily routine for many great creators and thinkers such as Nietzsche and Aristotle. Charles Darwin built himself the Sandwalk where he walked every day. IT giant Steve Jobs liked to walk while thinking. Ha Jung Woo, the leading actor of the Korean movie “Along with the Gods”, likes to walk off his anxiety. He has published a top-selling book detailing his love of walking.

Fourdesire’s “Walkr” app turns walking into a space adventure game by transforming the user’s steps into spaceship fuel so they can explore the space. The subconscious is like a galaxy with different pretty planets. If you slow down to discover it, you will realize your inner world is richer than you imagine. 

Photo by Robert V. Ruggiero on Unsplash

If you are constantly concentrating on work, you need to arrange some time for your mind to wander. Let “Walkr” keep you company when letting your mind roam and enjoy the brain’s feedback. You will get to appreciate boredom more and more. 

How do you space out in your daily life? Feel free to share with us!


  1. The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom is Good / Sandi Mann
  2. Knitting for Good!: A Guide to Creating Personal, Social, & Political Change Stitch by Stitch / Betsy Greer
  3. 《走路的人》/ 河正宇
  4. How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas / Manoush Zomorodi

Recommended Reading

Develop Self-awareness using Fourdesire’s To-do App “To-Do Adventure”
Don’t Rush to Eliminate Tasks on Your To-do List. Use Fourdesire’s 4 Tips to Find Your Own Pace.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team
A group of creatures dedicated to cross-disciplinary thinking.
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