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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

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15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

When most people get bored, they just sit there and don’t know what to do. They watch the clock tick and the time pass by, and then several hours are gone. But what if I told you that there are lots of simple, productive things to do when bored? You’ll start to feel motivated again, and you won’t have wasted hours of your life on staring at a wall.

Here are 15 productive things to do when you’re bored. Try some out and find which one brings the most motivation and joy to your life.

Productive Things to Do at Work

If you’re bored at work, try doing one of the following to stay productive.

1. Cut Down Distractions

Is there anything in particular that’s distracting you? If you’re looking for productive things to do when you’re bored, zone in on what specifically is slowing down your productivity.

Social media is a popular detractor, for example[1]. Sign out of your social networks so you can focus on things that actually matter.

Other distractions may include the small task your boss gave you that you haven’t done or the pile of emails waiting for your attention. Even if you only eliminate one distraction, it’ll be a step in the right direction.

2. Do 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 doctor’s appointment, sending off an email, or writing up that memo you’ve been avoiding.

3. Do a Bit of Work

This may sound obvious, but try to do some work when you’re bored at work! Work is probably the hardest thing to do when you’re bored, but it’s still possible to muscle through the lethargy and get things done.

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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.

If you’re really having a hard time doing any work, spend your free time making a to-do list of everything you want to get done once you find some motivation. This may also help you set goals for the week. 

4. 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 by tapping into time management skills. You can double-check your schedule and send follow-up emails to create more time for things you care about.

By removing all of your stressors, you’ll be a lot more prolific.

If you’re not sure what you’re concerned about, try to use some down time to do a few minutes of meditation at your desk. It’ll create the space in your mind to help you figure out what’s worrying you.

Productive Things to Do at Home

If you’re at home, there are tons of productive things that help you be productive. Try any of the following to avoid wasting time.

1. Declutter a Room

One of the reasons why you’re not as productive as you want may be that you have too much clutter.

Some productive things to do include tidying up your desk, removing books you’ll never read from your bookshelf, or throwing out the excess clothing you haven’t worn in three years. Pick a room and get started!

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Not only will you have done some cleaning, but 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. Decrease Stress

If your concerns are more emotional and are causing you stress or anxiety, take five or ten minutes to try a short meditation practice. You can stay on the couch or do it lying in bed, so it’s perfect for when you’re feeling a lack of motivation.

Interested in building motivation through meditation? There are plenty of theme-specific guided meditations and can be found easily through a quick Google search.

Another easy way to decrease stress is to go for a short walk. Being in nature will do wonders for your mood, so take time to get outside. One study specifically found that contact with nature boosted an appreciation of humor, as well as more interest in personal development[2]

3. Learn Something

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 through TED Talks.

If you prefer audio to video, look up a podcast on a topic that interests you. You can sit back, relax, and still learn something when you’re bored.

You can even tackle something big and try to learn a new language (or at least get started). Look up a few new words and you may find you get motivated to keep going!

4. Dig Into Data

Information isn’t the same as knowledge. Are there names, terms, dates, statistics, places, or something similar you need to ingrain in your head?

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Studying data or maps is one of the most productive things you can do when bored. This will also help you when you find a lull in any conversation—throw out one of those interesting trivia facts you’ve recently learned to get the conversation moving again!

5. Read 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. However, you can pick up some meaningful fiction books and start reading.

Fiction also serves the purpose of taking you out of your own world for a while. You can dive into a fantasy world or a mystery and get lost, forgetting about your boredom completely.

If you’re not sure what to read, check out this list: 30 Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives.

6. Read Non-Fiction

Reading a biography about someone in your profession or an account of historical events relevant to your career can be one of the best productive things to do when you’re bored. Time can be well-spent watching, reading, or listening to something that inspires you.

Non-fiction also includes self-help books. If you find you have a general lack of motivation in life, there are tons of books to help with this. What to learn to be more mindful? Find a book on that topic. The possibilities are endless!

7. Try Something New

If you take the time to find an activity you’ve never tried, you’ll be learning more about cultural differences and yourself. These activities can be very productive.

If you don’t want to get out of the house, watch a documentary on other cultures. This will open your mind and offer you a different perspective on the world.

8. Try Being Artistic

If you don’t feel like doing something career-related, try something artistic! Studies have shown that engaging in artistic past times improves well-being and even has a positive effect on those with dementia and Alzheimer’s[3]

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Creative activities like painting or creative writing could be the perfect productive things to do when bored. Even if you’ve never tried these things before, give it a go! Even if your painting doesn’t look anything like the image in your head, you will have taken a step in the right direction and tried something new.

If you prefer to stay on the couch, try writing a poem or knitting. There are tons of great ideas to get you started.

9. Get Some Exercise

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 bored are running, walking, biking, and lifting weights. Any kind of exercise is likely to free you from boredom and improve your physical health. If these sound too taxing, try a slow yoga routine or some light stretching.

Whatever you do, just try to stay active to get your brain back on track!

10. Give Some Attention to Your Mental 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.

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.

Learning mindfulness can bring productive things to do in life.

    Practicing mindfulness and meditation can calm and relax you. Other ways to tackle your mental and emotional health include meditation, journaling, talking with friends, or exercising. Pick the one that works for you and get started.

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    11. Hang out With Friends or Family

    When you are bored and have some down time, consider calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, ask your mom or dad to grab a coffee, or see if your partner wants to go for a short walk. Even if it’s just a few minutes, the people you care about will appreciate the gesture, and you’ll feel better after spending time with someone you love.

    More Productive Things to Do When Bored

    Featured photo credit: Tetiana SHYSHKINA via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Matt OKeefe

    Matt is a marketer and writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on September 9, 2021

    10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

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    10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

    Productivity planners and journals are tools of a trade. There’s an art to productivity. Just like art is very personal to the artist, productivity is very personal to the person. What works for you may not work for me. This is an important distinction if you really want get more done in less time.

    Too many of us dabble in productivity hacks only to move on to the next tool or trend when it didn’t workout for us, missing the lesson of what worked and didn’t work about that tool or trend.

    We put the tool on a pedestal and miss the art. It’s worshipping the paint brush rather than the process and act of painting. We miss the art of our own productivity when the tool overshadows the treasure.

    As an artist, you have many brushes to choose from. You’re looking for a brush that feels best in your hand. You want a brush that doesn’t distract you from your art but partners with you to create the many things you see in your mind to create. Finding a brush like this may take some experimenting, but when you understand that the role of the brush is to bring life to your vision, it’s easier to find the right brush.

    Planners are the same way. You want a productivity journal that supports you in the creation of your vision, not one that bogs you down or steals your energy.

    Let’s dive into the 10 best productivity planners and journals to help you get more done in less time.

    1. The One Thing Planner

    The NY Times best selling book, The One Thing, just released their new planner. If you loved this book, you’ll love this planner.

    As the founder of the world’s largest real estate company Keller Williams Realty, Gary Keller, has mastered the art of focus. The One Thing planner has its roots in industry changing productivity. If you’re out to put a dent in the universe, this may be the planner for you.

    Get the planner here!

    2. The Full Life Planner

    The Full Life Planner is Lifehacks’ ultimate planning system to get results across all your core life aspects including work, health and relationships. This smart planner is 15 years of Lifehack’s best practices and proven success formulas by top performers.

    With the Full Life Planner, you can align your actions to long term milestones every day, week, and month consistently. This will help you to get more done and achieve your goals.

    Get the planner here!

    3. The Freedom Journal

    Creator of one of the most prolific podcasts ever, Entrepreneur on Fire, John Lee Dumas released his productivity journal in 2016. This hard-cover journal focuses on accomplishing SMART goals in 100 days.

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    From their site:

    “The Freedom Journal is an accountability partner that won’t let you fail. John Lee Dumas has interviewed over 2000 successful Entrepreneurs and has created a unique step-by-step process that will guide you in SETTING and ACCOMPLISHING your #1 goal in 100 days.”

    Get the planner here!

    4. Full Focus Planner

    Michael Hyatt, author of Platform and host of the podcast “This is Your Life”, also has his own planner called the Full Focus Planner.

    From the site:

    “Built for a 90-day achievement cycle, the Full Focus Planner® gives you a quarter of a year’s content so you aren’t overwhelmed by planning (and tracking) 12 months at a time.”

    This productivity planner includes a place for annual goals, a monthly calendar, quarterly planning, the ideal week, daily pages, a place for rituals, weekly preview and quarterly previews. It also comes with a Quickstart lessons to help you master the use of the planner.

    Get the planner here!

    5. Passion Planner

    They call themselves the #pashfam and think of their planner as a “paper life coach”. Their formats include dated, academic and undated in hardbound journals with assorted colors. With over 600,000 users they have a track record for effective planners.

    From the site:

    “An appointment calendar, goal setting guide, journal, sketchbook, gratitude log & personal and work to-do lists all in one notebook.”

    They have a get-one give-one program. For every Passion Planner that is bought they will donate one to a student or someone in need.

    They also provide free PDF downloads of their planners. This is a great way to test drive if their planner is right for you.

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    Get the planner here!

    6. Desire Map Planners

    If you’re looking for a more spiritually oriented planner, Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, created the Desire Map Planners. With Daily planners, Weekly planners and Undated planners you can find the right fit for you.

    Behind this planner is the Desire Map Planner Program including 3 workbooks that not only support you in using the planners but guide you in your thought process about your life and intentions you’re using the planner to help you fulfill.

    Get the planner here!

    7. Franklin Covey Planners

    The grandfather of all planners, Franklin Covey, has the most options when it comes to layouts, binders, and accessories. With over 30 years in the productivity planner business, they not only provide a ton of planner layouts, they also have been teaching productivity and planning from the beginning.

    From the site:

    “Achieve what matters most with innovative, high quality planners and binders tailored to your personal style. Our paper planning system guides you to identify values, create successful habits, and track and achieve your goals.”

    Get the planner here!

    8. Productivity Planner

    From the makers of the best selling journal backed by Tim Ferriss, “The Five Minute Journal”, comes the Productivity Planner.

    Combining the Ivy Lee method which made Charles Schwab millions with the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused in the moment, the Productivity Planner is both intelligent and effective.

    It allows for six months of planning, 5-day daily pages, weekly planning and weekly review, a prioritized task list, Pomodoro time tracking, and extra space for notes.

    From the site:

    “Do you often find yourself busy, while more important tasks get procrastinated on? The Productivity Planner helps you prioritize and accomplish the vital few tasks that make your day satisfying. Quality over quantity. Combined with the Pomodoro Technique to help you avoid distractions, the Productivity Planner assists you to get better work done in less time.”

    Get the planner here!

    9. Self Journal

    Endorsed by Daymond John of Shark Tank, the Self Journal takes a 13 week approach and combines Monthly, Weekly and Daily planning to help you stay focused on the things that really matter.

    Self Journal includes additional tools to help you produce with their Weekly Action Pad, Project Action Pad, the Sidekick pocket journal to capture your ideas on the go and their SmartMarks bookmarks that act as a notepad while you’re reading.

    Get the planner here!

    10. Google Calendar

    You may already use Google Calendar for appointments, but with a couple tweaks you can use it as a productivity planner.

    Productivity assumes we have time to do the work we intend to do. So blocking time on your Google Calendar and designating it as “busy” will prevent others from filling up those spaces on your calendar. Actually using those blocks of time as you intended is up to you.

    If you use a booking tool like Schedule Once or Calendly, you can integrate it with your Google Calendar. For maximum productivity and rhythm, I recommend creating a consistent “available” block of time each day for these kinds of appointments.

    Google Calendar is free, web based and to the point. If you’re a bottom line person and easily hold your priorities in your head, this may be a good solution for you.

    Get the planner here!

    Bonus Advice: Integrate the 4 Building Blocks of Productivity

    Just as important to productivity planners as the tool are the principles that we create inside of. There are 4 building blocks of productivity, that when embraced, accelerate your energy and results.

    The four building blocks of productivity are desire, strategy, focus and rhythm. When you get these right, having a productivity planner or journal provides the structure to keep you on track.

    Block #1: Desire

    Somehow in the pursuit of all our goals, we accumulate ideas and To-Do’s we’re not actually passionate about and don’t really want to pursue. They sneak their way in and steal our focus from the things that really matter.

    Underneath powerful productivity is desire. Not many little desires, but the overarching mother of desires. The desire you feel in your gut, the desire that comes from your soul, not your logic, is what you need to tap into if you want to level up your productivity.

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    A productivity planner is just a distraction if you’re not clear on what it’s all for. With desire, however, your productivity planner provides the guide rails to accomplish your intentions.

    Block #2: Strategy

    Once you’re clear on your overarching desire, you need to organize your steps to get there. Let’s call this “strategy”. Strategy is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. You must first turn over all the pieces to see patterns, colors, connections and find borders.

    In business and life, we often start trying to put our “puzzle” together without turning over all the pieces. We put many items on our To-Do lists and clog our planners with things that aren’t important to the bigger picture of our puzzle.

    Strategy is about taking the time to brain dump all the things in your head related to your goal and then looking for patterns and priorities. As you turn over these puzzle pieces, you’ll begin to see the more important tasks that take care of the less important tasks or make the less important tasks irrelevant.

    In the best selling book, The One Thing, the focusing question they teach is:

    “What’s the One thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else is easier or unnecessary?”

    This is the heart of strategy and organizing what hits your planner and what doesn’t.

    Block #3: Focus

    With your priorities identified, now you can focus on the One Thing that makes everything else easier or unnecessary. This is where your productivity planners and journals help you hold the line.

    Because you’ve already turned over the puzzle pieces, you aren’t distracted by new shiny objects. If new ideas come along, and they will, you will better see how and where they fit in the big picture of your desire and strategy, allowing you to go back and focus on your One Thing.

    Block #4: Rhythm

    The final building block of productivity is rhythm. There is a rhythm in life and work that works best for you. When you find this rhythm, time stands still, productivity is easy and your experience of work is joyful.

    Some call this flow. As you hone your self-awareness about your ideal rhythm you will find yourself riding flow more often and owning your productivity.

    Without these four building blocks of productivity, you’re like a painter with a paintbrush and no idea how to use it to create what’s in your heart to create. But harness these four building blocks and find yourself getting more done in less time.

    The Bottom Line

    Your life is your art. Everyday you have a chance to create something amazing. By understanding and using the four building blocks of productivity, you will set yourself up for success no matter which planner, or “paintbrush”, you choose to use.

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    As you experiment with different planners you will narrow which one is best for you and accelerate your path to putting a dent in the universe.

    More Tools to Boost Your Productivity

    Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

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