Categories: Innovation

The Outside-The-Box Ways The World Is Beating Boredom

The late William F. Buckley Jr. famously once said that “boredom is the deadliest poison.” That might have been a bit hyperbolic when he said it, but after a half-year stuck at home, Americans can probably appreciate how true that statement really is.

There are, of course, the standard mechanisms of keeping the boredom at bay — reading, sleeping, exercise, streaming movies, playing video games, etc. In fact, channels for personal entertainment have generally bulked up in response to homebound consumers constantly hunting for new content.

But some have found themselves looking for more than the various forms of available streaming entertainments. Such people have new pandemic-era hobbies that might make you take a long look at your weekend plans of sitting around the house streaming Netflix and wonder if you could do better.

Some examples:

David Beckham: Soccer Legend, Beekeeper And Honey Entrepreneur

To say that David Beckham is famous for his career in soccer is a touch misleading. While the vast majority of Americans have never watched a professional soccer game end to end in their lives, many would recognize Beckham if shown a picture.

Beyond his professional soccer career, he’s famous for his work as a model, a product spokesman, a cameo in the 2002 movie “Bend It Like Beckham” and as husband of former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham.

And for beekeeping.

No, that last part isn’t a typo. Beckham is using the pandemic as an opportunity to add to his oeuvre as a Renaissance man by developing a passion for raising and tending to honeybees. He’s also producing and selling organic honey.

“Beekeeping started as a fun hobby early in lockdown, but now, David has become a bit obsessed,” an anonymous source told The Sun newspaper. “He has all the gear and even built a hive. He finds it a total antidote to his mad London and Miami life.”

And apparently, it’s also a potential area of investment, as The Sun said Beckham is currently meeting with manufacturers to investigate starting his own honey business. Names reportedly under consideration include “D Bee,” “Seven Honey” and “Goldenbees.”

But Beckham isn’t the only celebrity reportedly turning to beekeeping as a hobby. So are Jennifer Garner, Sophia Bush and Chris Hemsworth, who described beekeeping as “incredibly serene.”

“It’s picked up [since COVID- 19 began],” Paul Hekimian, director of HoneyLove, a nonprofit dedicated to saving bees, told The Hollywood Reporter. “People are doing things that they never thought they would ever have a chance to do.”

The Chefs Who Take To The Mountains

But if honey’s not your thing — or you dislike hobbies that involve the risk of mass stinging — you can always form a biker gang. A mountain-biker gang, that is.

Some Kansas City chefs found that with restaurants closed, they suddenly had lots of time on their hands — and decided to make the best of it.

“We’re just doing a different kind of hang-out,” Anourom Thomson,who put together the riding group for chefs, told the news site Flatland.com. “We’re not drinking and smoking, we’re just out there riding and being smart about things. And we have more endurance — and also our mental state is in a better place.”

The group is for bike riders of all levels. Anyone who can push pedal in any capacity is welcome.

Of course, mountain biking can be an expensive sport, as bikes can run into the thousands of dollars. That makes it a sub-ideal hobby for a group of chefs currently on reduced hours or furloughs. But the biker gang is a very sharing organization — with spare bikes, helmets and all kinds of gear flowing between members.

Chef and member Justin McCarthy said the restaurant industry “is a passion profession, and this is a passion sport. So the connection is really easy. We get to talk about other things — you’re a little bit normal for a while. You get out of thinking about COVID in a restaurant, which I think means everything in the world right now.”

Christmas (Shopping) Comes Early

But if mountain biking feels a little too challenging, there’s always the option of getting a jump on your holiday shopping.

All of us know that one person who manages to have all of their gifts purchased, wrapped and ready to roll by Thanksgiving every year, but few consumers are that efficient. Most seem to prefer to hold out for those sweet holiday sales and the pure adrenaline rush that is a Christmas Eve shopping run in a crowded mall.

But 2020 isn’t a normal year and consumers don’t want to be shopping in  crowded places. So, some Americans pushed to the brink by boredom have started shopping early.

A study sponsored by Affirmed found that half of Americans have already started their online shopping, pushed largely by extra time on their hands. In short, they’re bored, and holiday shopping takes up some time.

Plus as a side benefit, early holiday shopping allows consumers to mentally fast-forward to a future where the U.S. presidential election is over, Christmas lights are twinkling and the world is that much closer to a COVID-19 vaccine.

That last development will offer the ultimate cure for today’s boredom — the ability to regularly leave our homes and again feel safe doing so.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: HOW WE SHOP – SEPTEMBER 2020

The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.