Unconscious Tasks: 14 Hobbies That Don’t Require Thinking (or Intense Thinking)

We’ve already established that there are absolutely thousands of hobbies out there that you can do for productivity or so you can get good at something, but what about hobbies that don’t require any thinking?

Well, that’s not strictly accurate as you’ll need to think in some capacity, however, we can provide you with a list of hobbies that don’t require intense thinking that we like to call unconscious tasks.

These hobbies (or tasks) are best used in those moments when you need to spend some time taking a break from focused thinking or problem-solving to help bring you back to equilibrium.

Ever twiddled a pen in your hands whilst staring into space? That’s something you can do without thinking much but yet still seems to serve a purpose. This is exactly the line of thinking that we want to go down in regard to the types of hobbies we’re going to mention today in our list.

1. Spinning Tops

Spinning tops are one of the best hobbies that don’t involve deep thinking and can serve your need for an unconscious pastime. They’re something we’ve mentioned in a few of our lists as they can serve many purposes, however, we think it serves the purpose of this article the best which is why it makes our number one spot.

You can get many different kinds of spinning tops in a wide variety of materials that can make for interesting objects to touch, play with, and of course spin.

Some of the most well-renowned spinning tops are from a company called ForeverSpin which makes them with various metals such as silver, gold, titanium, iron, and nickel.

2. Yo-yoing

Although you might get funny looks depending on your age, playing with yo-yos is a great way to break up the monotony of endless work or drab tasks that have you chained to your desk endlessly.

Yo-yos provide a different kind of physical motion yet still serve the same purpose of breaking up a session of intense work via unconscious playing similar to spinning tops. You can literally daydream or think about anything while playing with your yo-yo which is exactly what you need when you’re burnt out from a long day at work.

For basic yo-yoing, you’ll want what’s called a responsive yoyo, and this is because it will come back to you when tugged. However, if you’re wanting to get more invested in this as a hobby then you may want to look into unresponsive Yoyos as they allow you to do more tricks since they don’t come back up without a binder.

3. Doodling

Doodling is something you’ve probably done while in class at school but it’s also something you can take into adult life with you by always having a pen and pad on hand.

It’s quite natural to draw out random shapes, geometry, and even words when you’re focusing on something such as when you’re in a meeting or if you’re stuck on a call with a customer and don’t need to provide much input.

4. Listen to white noise

Having white noise in the background or other variations i.e. pink or brown noise can really help to guide your focus whilst also not requiring any direct thinking to do so.

Essentially, it’s something you’ll process passively through your auditory senses and because it doesn’t have words or alternating patterns, your brain won’t keep suffering from spikes in attention.

White noise and even natural ambient sounds can be mighty, and they can be harnessed for a wide variety of things such as to help with sleeping, studying, and even for creating an intense focus for a workout.

If you’re not sure where to start then we suggest trying YouTube first as you’ll be able to find white noise mixes that last for hours — with that said, you may not get the full experience if you don’t have good speakers or headphones as some types of noises are dependant on low frequencies such as rumbling.

5. Play an instrument

Once you get good enough to play an instrument by muscle memory, it basically becomes a passive activity that doesn’t require much thinking.

Even just repeating certain parts of songs can be really satisfying and offers up a mesmerizing quality that keeps you on auto-pilot while you zone out to the sweet sound of whatever it is you’re playing.

Although you can do this with many instruments, we recommend using an electric guitar for this purpose as you’ll be able to grab a variety of pedals that can create long-lasting ambient sounds that are nice to relax to.

6. Shoot some hoops

Not everybody can play basketball like a pro, or even play basketball at all for that matter, however, it’s very easy to just shoot some hoops without much thought to help brighten your day a little.

Although you won’t be giving it much thought, shooting hoops can actually get your heart rate going and can burn a decent amount of calories in just thirty minutes making it quite a productive hobby.

There’s no specific requirement to score your shots so don’t overthink it and give it a go; you can even combine it with our fourth point on the list where you can listen to some white noise whilst shooting hoops.

7. Stargazing

If you’ve got a mind that wants to wander then stargazing is a perfect choice and can actually provoke some deep insight without making a conscious effort to do so.

It’s best done on a clear night when there isn’t much cloud coverage for maximum enjoyment, however, you can also enhance your gazing prowess with a set of binoculars and even a telescope to get you closer to the stars.

It’s also a great hobby for the family and can help everyone have a nice relaxing evening whilst sipping on hot cocoa with marshmallows; make a date out of it if you can!

8. Walking

Walking is another great hobby that provides the unconscious mind with plenty of satisfaction and allows it to drift from thought to thought without you needing to influence it.

Have you ever been walking along the beach, or perhaps up a mountain, and then had a sudden feeling to stop and just take in the view? It’s a beautiful moment and one that doesn’t need any explanation to know that it’s a great part of life that can provide many benefits.

Not to mention, walking is a great way to clear the mind in general as you’ll be getting those mood-boosting hormones fired up from the exercise.

9. Knitting

Knitting is another hobby, similar to playing an instrument, that becomes part of your unconscious muscle memory once you get good enough at it.

This makes it a fab hobby to pass some time without having to think too much all whilst making some beautiful fabrics or garments.

Better yet, knitting is a fairly inexpensive hobby that can be done with only a few simple tools; beginner knitting kits include all the necessary parts and materials to get started.

10. Birdwatching

Birdwatching is one of the best hobbies that has many therapeutic qualities as you can take in all the sights, sounds, and smells that nature can offer you all while not requiring any kind of deep thinking.

You can literally sit for hours in your favorite forest or birdwatching hut with a hot flask of coffee just watching nature do what it was intended to do.

If you really need a hard reset then this is probably the best hobby for people who want to switch off from the world to get themselves back to baseline.

11. Swimming

Swimming is a hobby that often looks quite frantic if you’ve seen it on TV but actually is one of the most relaxing activities you can do without requiring any intense thinking.

In particular, underwater swimming such as snorkeling can help you block out the sounds of the world and get you closer to your inner self.

The only concern you should have when swimming is to keep yourself safe but provided you’ve checked everything off the list of necessary precautions then there’s not much else you need to know.

Make sure if you’re doing any kind of sea-swimming that you have an observer to keep a check for you — it might also be worth grabbing some goggles or a mask to increase your vision to avoid hitting any objects.

12. Gardening

Gardening is an amazing hobby if you want something to work on that doesn’t require intense conscious thinking.

You can literally switch off and get most tasks done for your gardening project without even realizing hours have passed — it’s deeply satisfying on an inner level and something that most people stick with for life once they get into it.

We recommend doing this on a warm summer’s day with a cup of fresh lemonade to keep you hydrated; once you’re done you can sit back in your deck chair and just chill out.

13. Cleaning

Cleaning probably isn’t the most obvious one, however, decluttering your house can also be synonymous with decluttering your mind.

Once you start cleaning you’ll find that after fifteen minutes or so that something magical happens — you get into a flow state that is completely unconscious and before you know it your house will be sparkling.

You can even put your favorite tunes on or even opt for some wireless earbuds to take your music around the house wherever you go.

14. Enjoy a hot bubble bath

If you’ve had a hard day then sometimes there’s nothing better than running a bath with your favorite scents that you can just hop into and switch off to the world.

You can literally stop all of your thinking whilst in the bath and enjoy the feeling of being caressed by the warming waters that almost warm you down to your soul.

You can increase the pleasure of your bath by lighting some scented lavender candles and dropping in a bath bomb to make it smell wondrous.


It’s all too common to feel like you’re thinking about everything these days especially when we have phones going off, social media notifications, and constant bombardment from studies or work.

Sometimes it helps to switch off but it’s not always obvious which things can help us with this. Hopefully, some of the ideas we’ve provided satisfy your need to declutter and unwind from the daily rat race that never ends.

If you enjoyed our article, don’t forget to save us to your favorites and if you need any further inspiration then make sure to check out our list of hobbies.