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10 Creative Ways to Kill Boredom on Public Transport

10 Creative Ways to Kill Boredom on Public Transport

We’ve all heard horror stories about the tedious boredom involved with commuting via public transportation. Whether if it’s a 2 hour bus ride or 20 minutes on the subway there is absolutely no reason you should be bored during your commute. With a little planning and the right tools you can use this time to make yourself a better person and actually start the day off productive.

1. Learn a New Language

It doesn’t matter what language it is, studies have shown that knowing multiple languages will improve your mental health. This could also become something you can add to your resume if you become fluent enough in the language. While there are a lot of free options out there that you can use on your commute, there is also some very thorough paid software available. You can find the reviews of them all here.

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2. Break Out the Old Game Boy

While there are plenty of emulators and new technology that put the Game Boy’s graphics to shame, there’s just something nostalgic about getting your hands on one. Using the Game Boy during your commute will decrease the amount of battery you’re draining on your phone, which you will likely need during the work day. As a bonus, if you’re riding with a friend there are several games you can play together – most notably a Tetris challenge to see who can clear 30 lines the fastest. The rules to Battle Tetris can be found here.

3. Plan Out Weekly Menus

Your commute is the perfect time to plan out your weekly menus or the types of food that you want to cook. It’s also a great time to learn new cooking techniques. Research and create a list of your favorite food blogs or Youtube channels and visit them daily. Cooking is a skill that doesn’t come naturally but it can be learned. Just because you’ve been known to burn the pizza rolls doesn’t mean you can’t become a world class cook for your friends.

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4. Learn a Programming Language

You might need your laptop for this one, but it’s a skill that could be invaluable to your career. There are also several options for free that can help you learn the skill. You don’t have to possess a beautiful mind to write code, you just need a drive and the will to do it. Here are some great resources to get started.

5. Check Out Some Lectures

There are plenty of lectures online for free that could spark your interests. You could also discover new interests that you never thought you had. From astronomy, to biology, there are thousands of free courses out there waiting for you.

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6. Read a Book

A real book with pages and all. Imagine that?! In a world of iPads and Kindles, people often forget the feel of handling and flipping the pages on a physical book. If this becomes habit it will also give you a good reason to visit the library more frequently or stroll the isles of your local bookstore – something you can’t do by just clicking “Buy It Now”.

7. Learn to Knit

You can knit really anything you want while riding the bus or train. It is a nice hobby that will give you a great gift at the end. You can find tons of free knitting patterns on Pinterest.

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8. Create Your To-Do List

Morning is the perfect time to create your to-do list for the day. Not only does creating a to-do list keep you focused during the day, it also gives you a sense of accomplishment when you complete that last task. Apps such as Wunderlist and Evernote will allow you to create your lists and sync them with the rest of your devices throughout the day.

9. Learn to Conquer the Rubix Cube

We’ve all had one and, more than likely, we all put it to the side after realizing we would never solve it. Well, your commute is the perfect time to practice how to solve it. After you learn to solve it, you can use your new skill to impress friends or even start competing in Rubix Cube time trials. Here is an article detailing the easiest way to solve the Rubix Cube.

10. Find New Music to Follow

It can be a new Pandora station or Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” but new music is something that will never bore you. There are countless artists you can discover and follow just by listening to one new song and then researching the artist. You’ll also have something to talk about in the future, especially if you have other friends that are deeply involved in the music scene.

Featured photo credit: Gameboy Color / Wen Zeng via flickr.com

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Colby Almond

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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