Being bored is usually a symptom of not doing productive things or not advancing yourself in a more permanent way.
However, you can leverage working towards more long-term-oriented goals to bring you greater satisfaction and thus, can easily diminish feelings of boredom.
And yes, we know other things can be fun in the short term such as playing video games or watching Netflix but they’ll eventually burn you out and you’ll realize you haven’t got anything to show for it.
For this reason, we’re going to bring you a selection of handpicked productive activities for you to do when you’re bored or don’t have much to do — let’s take a look.
Boredom: The Catalyst For Change (13 Productive Things To Do When Bored)
1. Plan out your long-term goals
First of all, if you don’t have an overarching goal that you’re working towards in life then you’ll probably lack direction and will end up meandering between lots of fleeting interests but never laying the foundation for something more substantial.
For this reason, before doing anything else, we think it’s a prudent course of action to set out some long-term goals, or an overarching vision if you will.
Good examples of a long-term vision include starting your own business, learning to invest and grow your income, and learning a new skill or subject of interest such as coding.
2. Do at least one thing you dislike each day
Part of building good habits is doing things you don’t like until they become reinforced enough that they become automatic.
The reason for this is that most great things in life are a product of building things up slowly, layer by layer whereby they become an unconscious part of your routine that doesn’t feel like a chore.
As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that’s very much the case for most great things that you’ll accomplish in life.
In fact, there is even a dedicated area of study for embracing this type of difficult routine on a daily basis, it’s called Stoicism.
3. Assess your finances
Being bored doesn’t always mean you’ll get to do something fun to quash it, however, it can be used as an opportunity to at least tick off a few necessities from your list.
One of those things should be assessing and making the most of your current incomings and outgoings such as your utility bills, salary, hobby costs, and savings.
Streamlining these things can really allow you to free up extra money for other musings, which in the long run, will help you to live more freely and can even allow for some spontaneity such as being able to go on holiday every once in a while.
4. Educate yourself
Boredom is a symptom of a mind that isn’t being challenged enough or that hasn’t had the opportunity to evolve and grow.
For this reason, it’s very important to use your boredom as a catalyst to propel yourself into something that will keep giving back to you on a daily basis, whether that be to offer a challenge, or perhaps, to broaden your experience of the world around you.
Plus, getting educated in something is a great way to enhance your future job opportunities and it can also be used as leverage to start a side hustle or to create a business.
5. Start a new hobby
We wouldn’t be a very good hobby website if we didn’t advocate the cause of taking up a regular activity for you to do that you enjoy.
In fact, we have a huge range of different hobby lists depending on your needs meaning it shouldn’t take you long to find something suitable.
Plus, hobbies aren’t just a cure for boredom, they’re also a great way to expand your philosophical horizons and can help you learn new skills that will enhance your overall well-being.
Heck, you don’t even have to do just one hobby, you can take up a few, though, we do recommend considering the type of hobby you pick up if you’re going to have more than one on the go — check out our advice on how many hobbies you should have.
6. Make time for friends and family
Sometimes there can be no way to escape your boredom other than to embrace some different thoughts and opinions from your friends or family.
Boredom can often be a result of being trapped in your own mind whereby you find it hard to negate the pessimistic thought patterns that keep you feeling bored and unstimulated.
As a communal species, it’s essential that you engage in social contact from time to time as it’ll definitely help keep spells of boredom at bay; alternatively, why not try a social hobby or something that can help you engage with others?
7. Document your day
If you’re feeling bored on a regular basis then it might be worth documenting your daily activities to see if you can spot any inefficiencies that lead to you feeling this way.
In most cases, it will just be a product of not having enough of your day filled with meaningful activities such as visiting friends and family or learning something new, however, it could just be that you’re doing something that you’ve stopped loving but haven’t yet realized.
The only way to know for sure is to keep track of everything so you can reflect on it from a more logical and calculated perspective.
8. Improve your emotional well-being
Being bored isn’t always a case of not doing enough with your day; it can simply be a case that you’re not in the right emotional frame of mind to start taking on new challenges.
This can contribute to your lack of motivation and overall apathy towards getting out of the current rut you’re in, however, there are some things that can help you catalyze your metamorphosis into a more ambitious and satisfied person.
This means addressing your emotional well-being by being more accepting of how you’re feeling and allowing yourself some general respite.
Everyone will have their own rituals, though, some of the more common processes for self-healing involve meditation, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and even embracing some selfish escapes.
9. Start a stretching routine
Being bored doesn’t mean you can’t do something productive with your time.
Even simple things like stretching every day can build up to something that has a permanent and positive effect on your general day-to-day living whereby you can engage in more active things or can feel less burdened by poor mobility or pain.
Even if you’re young or generally quite healthy, it’s better to start early than to wait until it happens — prevention is easier than curing.
In fact, most active hobbies such as sports will require you to have good mobility to deliver optimal results which is why we think it’s worth giving it a go if you’ve got a little bit of time to kill or if you find yourself suffering from boredom.
10. Declutter your living space
The causes of being bored aren’t always obvious and can sometimes be more obscure things like living in a cluttered or chaotic environment.
Basically, living in a cluttered environment taxes your mental processes as there are more things in your visual field for you to process and engage with.
Even if those items prompt you to only briefly think about them, that’s still more mental energy used than you would need if they weren’t there.
As they say, cleanliness is next to godliness, and that mantra can certainly be true where boredom is concerned.
You can’t always feel motivated or do your best work if the environment you’re working in doesn’t feel satisfying or calming.
11. Improve your resume
Probably one of the most productive tasks you can do when bored is updating or amending your current resume(s) whereby you can add any new achievements or relevant experiences for any new jobs you might want to apply for.
In fact, it’s never been more common than it is now to hop between jobs which is why you should always have an updated resume ready to be fired out to prospective employers.
If you’re not sure how to go about this in the most professional way then we would recommend using a search engine to find some templates or using YouTube for a video guide on how to update your CV.
12. Apply for jobs
If your resume is up to date then the next best way to spend your time when bored is by applying to jobs or looking for something new that can offer you a better salary and more potential benefits.
Even if you don’t particularly want to leave your current job, having some extra career options ready on the side really can’t hurt your confidence or ability to negotiate with your current employer.
Some of the most common job websites include things like Indeed or Monster which give you a huge range of jobs to pick from, though, don’t underestimate the power of direct communication through social media mediums such as LinkedIn or Twitter.
13. Start a side hustle
Last but not least, one of the main reasons for feeling bored is that you aren’t working towards something that is truly yours.
One of the best ways to get this going is by starting a side hustle whereby you can leverage your spare time at home into generating a secondary income, and eventually propelling that into something more long-term and substantial that can replace your full-time job.
Trust us when we say that there would be no better feeling for most people than being able to tell their boss they quit without feeling any fear of what’s to come after.
Heck, even if you keep it as a side hustle, it still means you’ll be making more money for yourself which could go towards home repairs and even holidays to give you a well-needed break every once in a while.
Some of the easiest side hustles include using trade skills that you might know such as painting or decorating to earn a fee or doing something more modern such as starting a blog or a YouTube channel which will allow you to generate passive income through ad displays and affiliate links.
Is it OK to have unproductive days?
Yes, not every day can be a day of productivity, mainly because being productive requires a huge emotional investment that will leave you feeling drained if you push yourself too much.
Having a day off and enjoying some well-earned relaxation can actually be just as productive as working on a new project can be or making money.
Think of it like this, would you rather have one day off every so often or continue pushing yourself until you have a total breakdown where you’re out of commission for weeks or months?
In fact, the Japanese understand this all too well which is why napping on lunch over there is actually considered productive — it’s also why many countries are starting to consider four-day weeks as a better option to five-day weeks, mainly because having a day off can really enhance someone’s overall productivity and feelings of satisfaction.
Hopefully, you should now have a better idea of how to leverage periods of boredom whereby you can put yourself on a better trajectory and enhance your overall productivity going forwards.
Conversely, you should also learn to accept that everyone needs a day off once in a while and you shouldn’t punish yourself for doing so, especially since one day off is better than needing weeks off if you’ve really burned yourself out.
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We regularly release similar articles of content that allow you to enhance your spare time and also look at different hobbies that you can do to make your day more engaging.