For most people, when they’re bored, they just sit there and don’t know what to do. They watch the clock ticks and the time passes by, and then several hours are gone.
But what if I tell you that when you really are feeling bored and don’t know what to do during your downtime, there’re lots of things you can do to feel (and really be) productive?
Here are 15 productive things to do when bored based on the principles of elimination, consumption and work.
1. Eliminate Clutter
One of the reasons why you’re not as prolific as you want may be that you have too much clutter.
Productive things to do when bored include tidying up your desk, removing books you’ll never read from your bookshelf and deleting the smartphone apps you never use.
Not only will you have done some housecleaning, the task might also give you energy to move on to the next, bigger task.
This guide will help you make decluttering easier: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)
2. Eliminate Distractions
Is there anything in particular that’s distracting you? If you’re looking for productive things to do when 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.
Take a look at these techniques to free yourself from social media distractions: How Not To Let Social Media Control Your Body and Mind
3. 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. Examples include tasks like double-checking your schedule and sending follow-up emails.
By removing all of your stressors, you’ll be a lot more prolific.
4. Eliminate the Unnecessary
There are a lot of things in our lives that might be nice but are distractions to our productivity because they’re not necessary.
Find out what those things are and remove them from your place of work.
If you find everything around you necessary, then maybe you can try this One Question to Help You Successfully Declutter Anything.
5. Eliminate 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 phone call or sending off an email.
6. Consume Knowledge
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 on these 24 Killer Websites that Make You Cleverer.
7. Consume Data (or Maps)
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 you feel bored.
8. Consume 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. But you can pick some meaningful fictions and start reading. Here’re some recommendations for you: 30 Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives
9. Consume Non-fiction
Reading a biography about someone in your profession or an account of historical events relevant to your career can be extremely productive things to do when bored. Time can be well-spent watching, reading or listening to something that inspires you:
10. Consume Culture
By consuming culture not only are you enriching yourself, you’re also trying a new experience. Taking part in activities you haven’t done before can be very productive things to do when bored.
11. Work on Your Work
Work is probably the hardest thing to do when 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.
12. Work on Your Craft
If you don’t feel like doing something career-related, try something artistic!
Creative activities like painting or creative writing could be the perfect productive things to do when bored.
13. Work on Your Physical Health
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.
Some productive things to do when you’re bored are running, walking, biking and lifting weights. Any kind of exercise is likely to free you from boredom.
14. Work on Your Emotional 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.
Become emotionally healthy by learning about these 15 Things Emotionally Healthy People Do.
15. Work on your Mental Health
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, take a look at this beginner’s guide to meditation: Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly
A few simple steps towards improving your mental health can go a long way, not only towards productivity but your happiness in general.
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