I’ve learned that I have a minimal (or maximal?) ratio of monotony to creativity to maintain in order to not go absolutely stir-crazy.
It’s about 4:1.
For every 4 hours I churn on something that’s difficult to make interesting (office work, house cleaning, troubleshooting a tedious problem), I need about an hour of creativity. And not an hour of editing a creative work, but creating: sketching out a site design; penciling out ideas for an app, story, or novel; throwing down code/tests for a new or in-progress project; writing out a scene in my novel; knitting/crocheting; blogging; etc.
But 4:1 is pretty much my bare minimum for getting through the day with a smile. Most days, I prefer that ratio nearly flipped (1:3 or so).
That said, I don’t mind monotonous work when I can find a good rhythm. I can be all in-the-moment and such.
But I can’t be happily brain-quiet forever. Not day in and day out.