When most people get bored, they just sit there and don’t know what to do. They watch the clock tick and the time pass by, and then several hours are gone. But what if I told you that there are lots of simple, productive things to do when bored? You’ll start to feel motivated again, and you won’t have wasted hours of your life on staring at a wall.
Here are 15 productive things to do when you’re bored. Try some out and find which one brings the most motivation and joy to your life.
Productive Things to Do at Work
If you’re bored at work, try doing one of the following to stay productive.
1. Cut Down Distractions
Is there anything in particular that’s distracting you? If you’re looking for productive things to do when you’re bored, zone in on what specifically is slowing down your productivity.
Social media is a popular detractor, for example. Sign out of your social networks so you can focus on things that actually matter.
Other distractions may include the small task your boss gave you that you haven’t done or the pile of emails waiting for your attention. Even if you only eliminate one distraction, it’ll be a step in the right direction.
2. Do Quick Tasks
Even if you don’t have enough energy for a big task, you might have enough to do a small one.
Check off items on your to-do list that can be done quickly, like making a doctor’s appointment, sending off an email, or writing up that memo you’ve been avoiding.
3. Do a Bit of Work
This may sound obvious, but try to do some work when you’re bored at work! Work is probably the hardest thing to do when you’re bored, but it’s still possible to muscle through the lethargy and get things done.
If you’re unmotivated, remind yourself that your time best spent is doing the work that pays your income. A cash incentive goes a long way towards productivity.
If you’re really having a hard time doing any work, spend your free time making to-do list of everything you want to get done once you find some motivation. This may also help you set goals for the week.
4. Eliminate Concerns
Are you worried about something? Is that concern getting in the way of your productivity?
Deal with the problems that are keeping you from spending your time as well as you should by tapping into time management skills. You can double-check your schedule and send follow-up emails to create more time for things you care about.
By removing all of your stressors, you’ll be a lot more prolific.
If you’re not sure what you’re concerned about, try to use some down time to do a few minutes of meditation at your desk. It’ll create the space in your mind to help you figure out what’s worrying you.
Productive Things to Do at Home
If you’re at home, there are tons of productive things that help you be productive. Try any of the following to avoid wasting time.
1. Declutter a Room
One of the reasons why you’re not as productive as you want may be that you have too much clutter.
Some productive things to do include tidying up your desk, removing books you’ll never read from your bookshelf, or throwing out the excess clothing you haven’t worn in three years. Pick a room and get started!
Not only will you have done some cleaning, but the task might also give you energy to move on to the next, bigger task.
2. Decrease Stress
If your concerns are more emotional and are causing you stress or anxiety, take five or ten minutes to try a short meditation practice .You can stay on the couch or do it lying in bed, so it’s perfect for when you’re feeling a lack of motivation.
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Interested in building motivation through meditation? There are plenty of theme-specific guided meditations and can be found easily through a quick Google search.
Another easy way to decrease stress is to go for a short walk. Being in nature will do wonders for your mood, so take time to get outside. One study specifically found that contact with nature boosted an appreciation of humor, as well as more interest in personal development.
3. Learn Something
When you’re bored, it’s an opportune time to learn. One of the most productive things to do is to learn anything on the internet. It could be watching YouTube tutorials or learning facts and skills through TED Talks.
If you prefer audio to video, look up a podcast on a topic that interests you. You can sit back, relax, and still learn something when you’re bored.
You can even tackle something big and try to learn a new language (or at least get started). Look up a few new words and you may find you get motivated to keep going!
4. Dig Into Data
Information isn’t the same as knowledge. Are there names, terms, dates, statistics, places, or something similar you need to ingrain in your head?
Studying data or maps is one of the most productive things you can do when bored. This will also help you when you find a lull in any conversation—throw out one of those interesting trivia facts you’ve recently learned to get the conversation moving again!
5. Read Fiction
You have to be careful with this one; you can’t just watch an episode of your favorite TV show and call the time you spent productive. However, you can pick up some meaningful fiction books and start reading.
Fiction also serves the purpose of taking you out of your own world for a while. You can dive into a fantasy world or a mystery and get lost, forgetting about your boredom completely.
6. Read Non-Fiction
Reading a biography about someone in your profession or an account of historical events relevant to your career can be one of the best productive things to do when you’re bored. Time can be well-spent watching, reading, or listening to something that inspires you.
Non-fiction also includes self-help books. If you find you have a general lack of motivation in life, there are tons of books to help with this. What to learn to be more mindful? Find a book on that topic. The possibilities are endless!
7. Try Something New
If you take the time to find an activity you’ve never tried, you’ll be learning more about cultural differences and yourself. These activities can be very productive.
8. Try Being Artistic
If you don’t feel like doing something career-related, try something artistic! Studies have shown that engaging in artistic past times improves well-being and even has a positive effect on those with dementia and Alzheimer’s
Creative activities like painting or creative writing could be the perfect productive things to do when bored. Even if you’ve never tried these things before, give it a go! Even if your painting doesn’t look anything like the image in your head, you will have taken a step in the right direction and tried something new.
If you prefer to stay on the couch, try writing a poem or knitting. There are tons of great ideas to get you started.
9. Get Some Exercise
If you don’t have a lot of energy to do something mental, hopefully you at least have the energy to partake in a physical activity.
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Some productive things to do when bored are running, walking, biking, and lifting weights. Any kind of exercise is likely to free you from boredom and improve your physical health. If these sound too taxing, try a slow yoga routine or some light stretching.
Whatever you do, just try to stay active to get your brain back on track!
10. Give Some Attention to Your Mental Health
Is there a personal issue that’s making it hard for you to be interested in anything? If so, address it. You’ll find productivity a whole lot easier.
Boredom is often, in reality, something akin to anxiety or depression. Try doing mental exercises that help you focus on positive experiences and mindfulness to alleviate you of what you’re perceiving as boredom.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can calm and relax you. Other ways to tackle your mental and emotional health include meditation, journaling, talking with friends, or exercising. Pick the one that works for you and get started.
11. Hang out With Friends or Family
When you are bored and have some down time, consider calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, ask your mom or dad to grab a coffee, or see if your partner wants to go for a short walk. Even if it’s just a few minutes, the people you care about will appreciate the gesture, and you’ll feel better after spending time with someone you love.
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