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24 Productive Things To Do When You’re Bored

We all get that feeling sometimes. We’re sitting there, bored out of our mind thinking — What are some productive things to do right now so that I make the best use of my time?

Most of the time, we let that thought pass. And we end up taking the path of least resistance. 

We find ourselves binge-watching Netflix or falling down the Youtube rabbit hole for a couple hours, only to realize a few hours later that we accomplished absolutely nothing. 

Successful, happy people think about these pockets of time differently. 

Instead of seeing it as time that needs to be filled with mindless activities, they see it as an opportunity to achieve their goals and improve their skills.

In this article, we’re going to dive into a variety of productive things to do so that when boredom hits —  you make the most out of the 24 hours you have each day.

 

How can I have fun while being productive?

 

Productivity is dry and dull.

It’s typically thought of as long, focused work with very little breaks. So it’s not surprising that we often opt-for for the quick hit of dopamine and turn on a Netflix show that we’ve already seen seven times.

One of the main reasons people don’t achieve success is because they can’t handle the boredom that comes along with it. It can be grueling to do the same thing day in and day out unless you truly have a passion for what you’re doing.

That being said, there are certainly ways to make productivity a little more fun. Here are just a few suggestions.

Start with small things first. Logically, if you were designing a productivity system, you’d want to start with the hardest tasks first thing in the morning. 

But my goal here isn’t to give you a productivity system. I’m simply trying to show you how to make the best use of those “time pockets” during the mid-late portion of the when you’re searching for productive things to do. 

By crossing small things off of your checklist, you’ll get a boost of momentum that will carry you towards your bigger, more time-consuming tasks.

Use the Pomodoro technique. The pomodoro technique involves working for 25 minutes free of distraction, followed by a 5-minute break to do whatever you want. 

One 25-minute block is considered one “pomodoro.” I like this method because of its simplicity, and whenever you take a five-minute break you’ll feel like you’ve really earned it. 

Think beyond your to-do list. The work you get done in these time pockets doesn’t have to be grueling, soul-sucking work. 

You can use this time to catch up with friends, talk to a relative, go for a walk in nature, etc. 

Anything that adds meaning and joy to your life is considered productive. Don’t think that you have to be hustling 24/7.

With those tips in mind, let’s get into a list of productive things to do no matter the situation. Whether you’re at home, at work, or on your computer, you’ll have no excuse not to be efficient with your time.

 

Productive Things To Do At Work

 

list of productive things to do at work

 

  • Organize Your Workspace 

 

People underestimate the impact that visual cues have on their productivity.

You are a product of your environment. If you look at your desk and see a messy, disorganized mound of clutter, your work habits will likely follow suit.

Take 5-10 minutes and set up a nice workspace that doesn’t look like the desk of an accountant during tax season.

Once you’ve cleaned your workspace, you’ll be motivated to keep it clean. And this clean workspace will act as a primer for you to get things done.

 

  • Chat With a Colleague

 

Need to expand your social circle within the office? Go chat it up with a colleague you don’t know very well!

Instead of wasting time on your phone or watching Youtube, use boredom as an opportunity to form new relationships.

If you tend to be on the shyer side, this is a great way to expand your comfort zone and improve your social skills.

If you already have built a decent social circle from within your work, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have more friends around the office.

 

  • Stretch For a Few Minutes

 

On average, American workers are sitting down for an average of 11 hours per day.

According to an article written by Greg Okhifun at Corporate Wellness, sitting for too long has negative effects on your breathing, blood circulation, posture, and also increases your risk of getting several diseases linked to lack of physical inactivity.

Given that I’m a blogger, most of my time is spent sitting down at a computer

One of the hardest things for me to do is get up from my chair and stop working when I’m in the writing groove, but it’s something I have to do.

Every 45 minutes, I get up from my chair and move around a bit. I walk around, jump up and down on my toes and reach to the ceiling just to get a bit of a stretch going.

Every 3-4 hours, I sit down and perform a 5 minute stretching routine for my back

It may seem simple and unimportant, but making these two things a daily practice has drastically reduced the amount of tightness I feel at the end of each day. 

 

  • Clean Your Computer

 

Turn off your computer right now and look at your screen. Like what you see?

It only takes a few minutes to eliminate the dirt, dust, and grime that permeates the screens and keys of most laptops.

Spend a few minutes making your laptop nice and shiny. It’ll make you feel better about your device, and it’s one of those small tasks that may motivate you to take on bigger cleaning jobs like cleaning your workspace.

 

  • Take a Meditation Break

 

Although most of us actually perform better under stress, it’s not healthy to be in a constant state of fight or flight.

Running around to meet deadlines, calling clients, working on important projects, etc. These are all tasks that require us to be in go-mode.

However, most of us can’t be in “go mode” all day. Our body and mind need breaks, and there’s nothing that calms the mind more than meditation.

Practicing meditation regularly helps reduce stress and actually improves your focus, which will naturally boost your productivity at work.

Simply focus on your breathing and let your thoughts come and go without getting attached to them. 

Meditation has another benefit as well — it’s actually considered a keystone habit that can transform other areas of your life in the process.

 

  • Read a book about your industry

 

As I said before, those pockets of time where you feel like you have nothing to do separate successful people from unsuccessful people.

Most of your colleagues will likely fill this time mindless activities. Checking email. Surfing the internet. Browsing Facebook.

Be different. You have the opportunity to use this time to level up. Scoop up a book that will help you better increase your industry knowledge and start reading.

If you do this every day, your knowledge will compound, and you’ll have a leg up on 95% of people who are striving for have similar career goals.

 

  •  Look at Your Goals

 

Let’s face it — it’s almost impossible to find a job that you love 24/7.

When your work starts to feel like a grind, it’s crucial to reflect on your deeper motivations and long-term goals. 

Refocusing your efforts on the long-term vision you have for your life will reaffirm why you’re grinding it out every day.

When your goals are front and center on a daily basis, the things you don’t want to do become a means to an end that is worth seeing through.

When you neglect your long-term vision, the things you don’t want to do just become pointless suffering that you don’t see value in.

 

  • Eat a Healthy Snack

 

Feeling that midday crash? 

That’s a perfect time to get up and eat something small and nutritious that will help you recharge your batteries.

Digesting food is a process that significantly drains our energy. This means that when you eat a big meal, you’re going to experience a dip in energy about an hour later when your body starts processing it.

This is often referred to as being in a “food coma”. What’s really happening here is that your body is getting tired because it’s working overtime to digest the mammoth meal you just fed it.

If you’re going to snack at work, keep it light. Eat a cup of fruits and vegetables, or a small cup of nuts.

Your body and mind will thank you.

 

Productive Things to Do At Home

 

 

list of productive things to do at home image

 

Finding productive things to do at home is difficult, which is a lesson that many people learned the hard way during quarantine.

When you’re at home your brain is being exposed to all kinds of cues to engage in distraction. 

The remote sitting on the table. The couch that faces the television. The dog begging you to take him for a walk. With all of these external stimuli competing for your attention, it’s easy to fall prey to bad habits.

For further reading about how to break bad habits, click here to read an extensive article I wrote about this topic.

Anyways, let’s talk about some of the most productive things to do when you’re sitting at home bored out of your mind.

 

  • Go for a walk

 

Sometimes the most productive things to do involve not being productive. You can put meditation in that category, as the whole point of meditating is to do absolutely nothing.

First off, your body gets energized from being exposed to sunlight. 

When you are exposed to sunlight, your body releases serotonin. Serotonin improves your mood and keeps you calm and focused. Second, recent studies from the University of Exter have shown that going for a walk reduces sugar cravings.  

So not only will you get a little exercise in, but you’ll also decrease the likelihood that you get home and reach for a sugary snack.

Sounds like a good trade-off to me.

 

  • Read non-fiction

 

I know that this was on the list of productive things to do at work as well, but I’m throwing it on here too.

At work, reading something industry specific is the most practical option due to the environment you’re in.

But when you’re at home, your options are limitless. You can dive into self-help classics like Atomic Habits , or read a captivating biography like Shoe Dog

Given that reading at home is more about enjoyment, pick something relaxing and motivating.

 

  • Clean out your closet

 

I actually wrote about this in an article about minimizing your life, but it’s worth bringing up again.

If you take a peek at your closet right now, there’s probably tons of clothes that either don’t belong, or that you haven’t worn in years.

Just get rid of them! Throw them out or put them in a pile so that you can list them on various online marketplaces. 

If something that doesn’t belong is taking up space in your life, it needs to go.

 

  • Learn a New Skill

 

Why not use the time you have at home to learn something new?

Have you ever wanted to learn how to play the piano or learn Spanish? Well, then the comfort of your own home is the perfect place to take on a new challenge.

The beautiful thing about skill development is that repetition is king. You don’t have to dedicate hours per day to learning something new if you want to be good at it — being great at it is a different story.

Start with a small commitment and carve out a minimum of 5 minutes per day to focus on whatever new skill you’re trying to learn. 

Once you’ve made daily practice a habit, it’s only a matter of time before you become proficient.

 

  • Call/text a friend and check in on them

 

Sadly, most relationships die because they starve to death.

With everything that is competing for our attention in the modern world, it can be quite difficult to give our personal relationships the time and attention they deserve.

Calling or texting a friend is a simple way to maintain friendships and let people know you care about them. Even though calling a friend doesn’t feel like one of the most productive things to do, doing it gives me a natural boost of energy that carries over into my work.

As humans we crave connection. It’s a necessary component to our survival. Neglecting social connection doesn’t just harm our brain, it’s also detrimental to our physical health.

According to United States Surgeon General Vivek Murphy, loneliness has become a public health epidemic. Additionally, an AARP survey from 2018 shows that 1 in 3 adults over 45 feel lonely in their day to day life.

Keeping in touch with the people around you is a sure-fire way to combat loneliness. The more people feel your presence, the more likely they will be to think of you when they’re looking to make plans, thus creating more opportunities for you to strengthen your personal relationships.

 

  • Keep a journal

 

You can use a journal in various ways — to make plans for your future, air out your concerns/frustrations, practice gratitude, and more.

There are many research-backed benefits to journaling, but perhaps my favorite part about journaling is that it makes you self-aware. It’s easy to be honest with yourself when you’re journaling.

You can talk about your desires and fears without the threat of being judged by the people around you — oftentimes this leads to you jotting down your most intimate thoughts. 

Journaling improves your creativity and sharpens your memory, acting as a mental stairmaster for your brain.

All you need to make journaling a daily habit is to start by writing for one to two minutes per day. Once you get going, you’ll find it hard to stop.

 

  • Write Thank You Notes

 

Writing thank you notes is yet another reminder to people that you’re investing energy into your relationship with them.

It’s pretty amazing what can happen to your social life when you start genuinely making time for people.

One of the habits that I committed to this year was calling or texting someone in my social circle every single day.

Coincidentally, as the weeks progressed, opportunities started to pop up. Friends who hadn’t spoken with me in awhile started popping more frequently in my messages. 

Even people who I was never particularly close with started asking about my plans for the weekend.

With connection habits like this, it’s all about the compound effect. If you make time for the people who you want to see, the law of reciprocity will take over and your social circle will expand.

 

  •  Get a Quick Workout In

 

You don’t need to join a fancy gym to start taking control of your health, all you need is 10-15 minutes of free time. 

Working out is a broad term — meaning that anything that gets your body moving and sweating can be considered a workout.

If you find yourself on a tight schedule, then look into High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is your best bet if you’re looking to drop weight but don’t have 1-2 hours to spend at the gym every day.

If you don’t feel ready for high intensity workouts, then start with 10-15 minute walks around your neighborhood. 

If neither of those options sound enticing, throw on some music and dance for ten minutes.

Just get moving. Something is better than nothing. Working out at home one is one of the most productive things to do, especially if you need a “pick-me-up” and don’t want to grab yet another cup of coffee.


Pro Tip — If you work from home, get a workout in at lunch. This will give you a bit of a runner’s high that you can work off of for 1-2 hours after your workout.

 

Productive Things to Do On The Computer

 

productive things to do on a computer

 

 

  • Unsubscribe from useless email lists

 

This would be one of the first things I would do if you haven’t done this already.

My email inbox used to be filled with names and companies that I didn’t even remember, and didn’t care for.

One day, I decided to spend an hour and unsubscribe from every single email list that didn’t add value to my life in some way.

Spending this time to declutter my inbox was well-worth it. Now I have the ability to stay up to date with the people and companies I actually do care about. And when I need to find important emails from a few days/weeks ago, there’s far less to sift through.

 

  • Clear up space on your computer

 

If you haven’t deleted files from your computer in awhile, there’s a good chance that extra, unneeded files are slowing down the performance of your computer. 

That’s a perfect excuse to spend some time purging old files. Doing so will improve the overall speed of your laptop and make it easier to navigate your way through your files.

Here’s an article that walks you through how to start that process whether you’re on PC or Mac — Clean Up a Slow Performing Computer

 

  • Get Skillshare and start a course

 

Skillshare is an awesome platform. It’s packed with classes that provide immense value on any subject that you can think of — habits, productivity, art, photography, drawing, etc.

Skillshare offers classes that allow you to go at your own pace, which makes it perfect for those times when you’re mindlessly scrolling through your computer looking for something to do.

You don’t always know what you really love to do until you stumble upon it. And once that happens, it feels like the thing you’re destined to do for the rest of your life.

Skillshare, and other platforms like it, offer you the opportunity to discover yourself. And who knows, you may just take a class on something that becomes your next carrer.

 

  • Send Your Friends the Strengths/Weaknesses Message

 

A couple of years ago, I was reading a book and came across something interesting.

The author of the book noted that one of the things we hate to do is be vulnerable with other people. We fear putting ourselves in compromised situations where we may be judged or criticized.

This presents a challenge when it comes to self-assessment. Given the fact that we always try to see our actions in a positive light, our concept of who we are and how we act isn’t always accurate.

To put it more simply — we’re great at judging everybody else’s character, but we suck at judging our own.

However, an easy way to turn this weakness into a strength is to ask for feedback from the people around us

The people who spend the most time with us have a solid grasp on our strengths and weaknesses, and they’ll be able to offer an unbiased perspective on our character.

The way to do this is simple. Open up your email or your phone and send this message out to 5-10 people:

Hey { friend’s name }! Looking for some honest feedback here! Full transparency, what would you say my biggest strengths and weaknesses are as a person?

If you don’t want the message to seem so random, you can add in the fact that you read about this message in a book/blog post to justify the reason you’re sending it out.

Getting a different perspective on your strengths and weaknesses is an invaluable part of growth, so I strongly encourage all of you to try this.

 

  • Update Your Resume

 

If there’s anything we’ve learned from the past year, it’s that life is unpredictable.

Keeping your resume sharp and updated at all times should be a high-priority item for you no matter where you work or how much you love your job.

Even if you feel like everything is peachy at the job you currently have, things can change quickly. 

Maybe your boss that everyone loves gets replaced with a less warm, more demanding successor. Maybe management makes an operational change that severely impacts your department and leaves you looking to switch companies.

If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. Take an hour or two to polish up your resume every couple months and your future self with thank you.

 

  • Learn How to Type Faster

 

For years, I was a two-finger typer, frantically mashing buttons with both of my index fingers at what I thought to be a rapid pace.

When I finally learned how to use all of my fingers on both hands to type, I realized that rapid pace was actually a snail’s pace.

No matter what you do for a living, you most likely need to type a fair amount on a daily basis. Whether you’re typing up reports, or responding to emails, being a fast typer is a great skill to have.

It allows you to work more efficiently and move onto the other things that deserve your attention.

Here’s the link to a free typing course that you can start right away >> Learn to Type | Free Typing Tutor

 

  • Become a Freelancer

 

Do you have a unique skill that can make you money on the side?

Then you might want to check out services like Upwork and Fiverr, which allow you to  set your own rates and offer your services to people in the marketplace.

Some popular side hustles include graphic design, freelance writing, data entry, social media management, etc.

If you’re looking for a little extra change and have an in-demand skill that people are looking for, then it’s worth it to at least give one of these sites a try.

 

  • Start a Blog

 

Starting a blog has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

Writing about a subject matter that I live and breathe doesn’t feel like work to me, which is often why I’m able to spend so much time creating posts that bring value to you guys.

We all have things that we are naturally curious about. And for me, it was personal development. 

I’m always hungry for knowledge when it comes to topics like habits, productivity, cognitive psychology, etc. 

If you’re reading this right now, there’s probably a subject matter that naturally grabs your curiosity as well.

My best advice is to just start writing about it.

Getting your blog off the ground doesn’t take too much work. Monetizing and growing it is a different story. 

However, you’re going to be more likely to embrace the challenges you face when your work actually excites you.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Inevitably, there will be times throughout the day where you just feel like you have nothing else to do. No matter how you spend your time, you’re gonna get bored.

But when boredom strikes, it’s not an excuse to sit around and do nothing. 

You have an opportunity to strive and excel — to engage in activities that move the needle forward in your life.

Successful people understand this better than anybody.

They see any time they have as a gift. And they leverage it appropriately, spending their time on things that have a net positive impact on their life.

So next time boredom strikes, simply pop open this list of the most productive things to and take action.

I guarantee you that in the long-run, it will feel much better than pulling up Netflix and re-watching The Office for the fifth time:)