Time is precious, and you shouldn’t waste it. That’s why it’s always better to find productive things to do when you’re bored.
No matter how busy people are and how hectic their schedules become, everyone gets bored sometimes. So, what’s one to do when that happens? Lounge on the couch and watch so many episodes of a meaningless show that even Netflix goes, “Are you still watching? Are you even alive?”
Well, sure, you could do that. If you want to get bloodshot eyes from staring at the screen, go right ahead. There’s no judgment here. However, it’s always better to make good use of your time.
Still, people often lack ideas. Sure, you’d like to do something, but what? Here are a few (well, around 30) great ideas for productive things to do when you’re bored.
If You’re Bored but Stuck at Your Desk
1. Deal With That Pesky Email Inbox
People who have a squeaky-clean inbox are either control freaks or have had a stint of boredom and decided they needed to do something to fill the time. If you’re bored, clean up your inbox (you’ll be grateful for it later). Sort through all folders, reply to forgotten emails, and delete the enormous pile of junk mail.
2. Clean and Organize Your Desk
Surely your desk is clean. Of course, it is! But is it organized? Probably not. Everyone scatters stuff around while they work. Over time, junk, papers, post-it notes, and other unnecessary things pile up.
If you don’t do something about it, the mess will take over your desk. An organized and clean workspace will increase your productivity. What’s more, you might find some things you’ve forgotten about that will help you out with ongoing projects.
3. Clean Your Computer
Even if you’re the picture of an organization, you surely have plenty of junk on your computer. So, if you’re looking for productive things to do when you’re bored, consider cleaning your computer — both inside and out.
4. Tackle Your Upcoming Schedule
If you’re one of those people who say, “I don’t have to write it down, I’ll remember it,” reconsider your tactics. Sit down and put all meetings, get-togethers, and project deadlines in your calendar. The chances are that you’ll find more than two overlapping events.
5. Update Your CV
Even if you’re perfectly content at your job, having an up-to-date resume is always a good idea. You never know when a fantastic opportunity will present itself. So, update your CV. If you’ve been working at your current job for a while, the chances are that you haven’t included all those new skills you’ve developed during your time there.
6. Look for New Opportunities
If you’re looking for productive things to do when you’re bored, but don’t want to stray too far from work-related activities, you can search for new opportunities. Browse the internet and look for courses that could improve your current skill set or some that could teach you something entirely new.
If you think that there’s room for improvement at your current job, do a bit of research to see if you can take on any new responsibilities. Make a plan on how to approach this topic with your manager.
Of course, you can also look for a new job! If you’ve already updated your resume and would like to move on from your current position, there’s no better time than now!
7. Learn Something New
Even when you’re sitting at your desk, not everything you do needs to be work-related. Similarly, not all skills you have and the knowledge you gather need to be about your current occupation. So pass the time by learning something new just for the sake of it. Watch an interesting TED talk.
If there’s something you always wanted to learn but never found the time to do so, do it now! Find online tutorials or courses that pique your interest, and teach yourself something useful.
Alternatively, you can also browse through various podcasts and find some that cover topics that interest you. You can even kill two birds with one stone and listen to those podcasts while cleaning and organizing your desk!
8. Take Some Time to Update Your Professional Goals
Everyone has short and long-term goals. But how long has it been since you revisited those? Take some time to put everything on paper (electronic or otherwise). Think about your professional development so far and what you’d like to see yourself do in the future. Set firm career goals and make a list of things you need to do or accomplish to meet them.
You can also make a five-year plan. Planning the future is one of those fun and uplifting productive things to do when you’re bored because it allows you to daydream a bit.
9. Make a Debt Payoff Plan
If you can’t plan the future because you’re always thinking about your crushing debt, do something about it first. Planning payoffs is no easy task, but if you start with a solid plan (and a frugal state of mind), you can kick that debt off way quicker than you thought. But you have to get organized first.
10. Make Wishlists
If you absolutely have nothing else to do, go on Amazon or Goodreads and make some wishlists. These will keep you occupied, and they’ll also come in handy whenever someone asks what you want for your birthday or holiday.
If You’re Bored at Home
11. Start With a To-Do List
Boredom sneaks up on people. However, not everyone is quick to chase it away. Some would rather lounge around than do something productive, which is why many have a whole list of things that they should have already done but are too lazy to actually do. One of the main problems is that the list is in their heads.
So, instead of relying on your memory, make a real to-do list (on paper!). Then, do your best to check as many things off of it as you can.
12. Clean Your Home
Sure, cleaning isn’t something everyone likes to do, but it’s necessary. If you have some time on your hands, deep-clean your entire home (or at least a part of it). Think of all those nooks and crannies that you avoid every time you clean, and focus on them.
Haven’t cleaned your windows in a while? Do that first. When’s the last time you washed your curtains? Throw them in the washer, along with other textiles that are lying around your house (all those quilts, blankets, area rugs, etc. probably haven’t seen the inside of the washing machine in a while, right? Remedy that.)
13. Organize Your Closet
Although many people got the organizational fever thanks to Marie Condo, not everyone caught on to the magic of decluttering. So, if you’re one of those people, now’s the perfect time to tackle your closet and throw out everything you don’t need (or wear). You don’t have to throw out everything that doesn’t spark joy, but try to sort your stuff as much as possible.
It’s also a good idea to donate whatever you don’t need. Not only would that make your task more productive, but you’ll also feel much better after you’re done. It can be your one good deed for that day.
14. Declutter Your Basement/Attic
People seem to think that only hoarders have a problem with accumulating too much junk in their homes. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Take a good look at your “hidden” spaces like basements, attics, and closets, and check if there is stuff that you can get rid of. If you’re looking for productive things to do when you’re bored, decluttering is always the best idea.
15. Rearrange Furniture
If you like your furniture layout, then just leave it as it is. But if you’d prefer a little change in your life, rearrange a few of the smaller pieces to see how they look in new spots.
16. Sort Out Your Photographs
If you have a bunch of old family photos sitting in your attic, basement, or closet, collecting dust, take them out and go through them. That will be a beautiful walk down memory lane. Organize them into neat piles and pick a few to frame.
If you’re fully riding the technology train and have all photos in digital format only, then organize your phone or computer gallery.
17. Tidy Your Yard
A messy yard is a real eye-sore. So, take some time and tidy yours up. You don’t have to go into a landscaping frenzy. You can simply put everything back in its place and make the yard look neater.
18. Take Up Gardening
If your yard is already tidy but a bit barren, then this is the perfect time to whip out that green thumb of yours and do something with it. Buy some small plants and scatter them around to make a garden.
Apartment dwellers can also do something similar even if they don’t have available outdoor space. Instead of planting huge plants outside, make a kitchen herb garden.
If You’re Bored but Don’t Want to Be Alone
19. Make a Tasting Party
If you’re a decent cook, why not try out a new recipe? Many people aren’t too keen on cooking for themselves. If you’re one of them, you can invite a few friends over for a tasting party. That will give you an excuse both to cook and socialize.
20. Or a Potluck Party
Organizing parties usually takes a lot of time, effort, and money. If you want to avoid that kind of a hassle but would still like an impromptu party with your friends, just send out invitations for a potluck party.
21. Buy or Make Gifts for Loved Ones
Getting a gift out of the blue, without any occasion, is one of the best feelings in the world. So why not treat your loved ones a bit and get them an impromptu gift? Order or buy some appropriate gifts for those special people in your life. Alternatively, if you’re making the gifts yourself, take the time to wrap them nicely.
22. Go Sightseeing in Your Hometown
Grab your sibling, parent, best friend, or anyone else who’s available, and go for a tour around your town. Sure, you know it like the back of your hand — or do you? Play tourist in your city for a day and see if you find something new (spoiler alert: you inevitably will)!
23. Volunteer Your Time
If you’re looking for productive things to do when you’re bored, it doesn’t get any better than volunteering! Find a shelter, an organization, or simply someone in need, and donate your time towards making someone’s day or life a bit better.
24. Reconnect With Old Friends
Surely there are some people who aren’t in your life anymore for a good reason. Don’t call them. Call those other people, who you regret losing touch with, and see if you can reconnect with them. Catching up with old friends will lift your mood and enrich your life.
If You’re Bored and Need a Pick-Me-Up
25. Go for a Hike or a Swim
Do you live near any hiking trails or a lake or a river? Make good use of that and spend an afternoon in nature. You don’t have to organize an elaborate field trip, just pop somewhere close where you can take a quick walk or a swim to clear your head.
26. Try Your Hand at Painting
You might not be the new Picasso, but you can let your creative side out a bit with an at-home painting kit. Even if it doesn’t turn out perfect, you’ll have a piece of art that you created with your own two hands. And, who knows? Maybe painting will become your new hobby!
27. Plan an At-Home Spa Day
Why not pass the time by pampering yourself? You deserve it! Plan an elaborate skin and body-care routine, and spend the entire afternoon indulging. You can even make cucumber water and fancy (healthy) snacks to munch on while you’re sitting in your bathrobe and waiting for that face mask to work its magic.
28. Read a Book
If you don’t have a pile of books waiting for your attention, then find one online. And, of course, if you do have such a pile, try to make a dent in it. Reading is the best form of escapism there is. So, chase away your boredom by immersing yourself into a better (fictional) world — at least for one day.
29. Donate Blood
This isn’t something you can use as a cure for boredom every time, but it’s one of the best productive things to do when you’re bored. By taking the time to donate blood, you’ll be actively helping someone out (and maybe even saving their life).
Still Looking for Productive Things to Do When You’re Bored?
If these suggestions don’t tickle your fancy, here are a few more:
• Start a journal
• Write with your opposite hand
• Plan a dream vacation
• Take a cooking class
• Learn a new language (or at least start)
• Create a vision board
• Make a bucket list
• Learn a magic trick
• Buy an adult coloring book and spend an afternoon with it
• Make a meal plan
• Take a nap
• Do a sudoku puzzle
• Take up yoga.
Boredom doesn’t have to be unproductive. It can, in fact, be the excuse you’ve been waiting to start something new or do something you’ve never had the time for. The list of productive things to do when you’re bored goes on and on. Hopefully, these suggestions will at least give you an idea of where to start. You can do the rest yourself.