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Last Updated on August 24, 2020

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

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.

    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

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    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 18, 2020

    How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

    How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

    Time is a great leveler isn’t it? We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Even if you’re self-assured, the day may never feel quite long enough.

    Why is it that some people can be so much more productive and achieve so much more in a typical day, while others struggle to achieve anything apart from feeling time crunched and overwhelmed?

    Everyone I know and work with wants to make the best use of their time. They want to learn how to be more self-assured, happier, and work less—all while growing in their career.

    How effectively we use our time—and how we actually work in our business—can make a huge difference to the amount we accomplish in a day or week. It can also make us more focused and more confident.

    Do you want to have more thinking and creative time? Do you want to spend more time working on your business rather than working at or in your business? In this article, we’ll show you how.

    Get More Done by Gaining Confidence

    What if you had a strategy for making the best use of your time that brings you more joy and allows you to focus on the biggest activities and opportunities in your business? You may find the following outline below to be helpful:

    1. Create an Exciting Vision

    If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?

    You want to be more productive and spend more time getting the right stuff done. Well, you need to create a compelling and exciting vision of your future.

    What does this future look like? How will you feel when you get there?

    Creating a new vision, especially one that is a lot bigger than where you are right now, has a way of igniting your passion. It may be something that feels hard to achieve, but every step you take towards that bigger vision will certainly build your confidence.

    Create a vision board to feel more self-assured.

      Commitment to this vision, and accomplishing continual daily progress depends on your ability to look at any situation you’re faced with or currently in, feel self-assured, and see something bigger ahead.

      Also, when you know where you’re headed, you will instinctively start to see all the new opportunities and connections that will get you there.

      Make a vision map to get you started on the path to better productivity. This doesn’t have to be fully actualized, but you should know at least what direction you are heading.

      2. Build a Strategic Plan

      Once you have your future vision mapped out, the next step is to build a strategic plan to get you there.

      Your future vision may be for 3 years or 5 years, or you may choose a longer time frame. Any timeframe over 3 years may feel like a long way away.

      You may wonder how you are ever going to feel confident and motivated on this bigger future years from now when you feel as though you have so much to accomplish today.

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      The first step is to decide on some specific goals for the next 12 months. Don’t list too many or you may begin to feel overwhelmed.

      The magic number for me and my clients is usually five annual goals.

      These are big goals that will create massive change in your business and life and bridge your current situation to your bigger future; accomplishing these goals one by one will help to increase your confidence on a daily basis.

      3. Get on Goal Planning

      Get yourself a piece of blank paper and a pen and divide the paper into 4 columns: A, B, C, and D.

      Ask yourself the question: What is great in my business and life right now? Write these things down in Column A. This might be a couple of things, five things, ten things, whatever feels right to you.

      Then ask yourself: What things are happening right now that I don’t want in my future? Write these things down in Column B.

      This is your opportunity to take a step back and look at the things that are simply not working. You may list people that are bringing you down or projects that you don’t want to work on any more. Maybe you’ll include a service offering that’s going nowhere. It could be the people you’re working with, or it could be your pricing.

      Now, let’s look at your personal strengths. Write down everything that you’re great at in Column C.

      These could be things that you’re doing right now and having success with. It could also be things you know you’re awesome at but you’re not spending enough time on.

      Column D is for your biggest opportunities. Is there a new service/product you could offer your ideal customers? Is there a new innovation you could bring to market? Just take some time out and really think and list these things in Column D.

      Once you’ve analyzed everything you’ve written down, take some time to really think about what goals you want to set for your business and life in the next 12 months.

      4. Set Outcomes to Build Confidence

      You now have your goals, and you’ll feel self-assured and raring to go. They are written down and you’re committed to achieving them. You feel self-assured and motivated.

      But how do you ensure that you stay on the correct course to achieve these goals?

      Managing and juggling day-to-day projects can get in the way. Dealing with problems can get in the way. Staying on top of orders, managing cash flow, and handling day-to-day stuff can move your ship off course.

      You want to be productive and achieve your goals, but you also need to ensure the day and week runs smoothly.

      One way to ensure this happens is to set 90 Day Outcome Goals; within those Outcome Goals, put some specific process goals that need to be undertaken.

      Let’s say you want to get 10 more speaking jobs in the next 90 days, and you know that you typically convert 50% of opportunities.

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      Therefore, your process goal needs to be to have 20 conversations in the next 90 Days to deliver the 10 new pieces of work. You will then work out who you can have those conversations with.

      It’s smart to overshoot, so you will more easily hit your target. This is a clear plan to work through because with every win, your confidence will grow.

      5. Completely Commit to Your Success

      If you are not truly committed to achieving your goals, then chances are that you won’t reach them.

      Motivation can only take you so far. It is the intentional commitment[1] and emotional investment in your future success that will move you forward.

      Think back to any time that you really committed to achieving something. There must have been a reason you actually achieved what you set out to achieve. What motivated you?

      Were you fully invested? Why did it matter? Did you have to be really courageous to achieve it?

      How did it feel when you achieved it? What difference did it make?

      When have you felt truly self-assured? When you are committed to something, then you are propelled into action. Your mindset is focused, and your body follows; you want to get it done.

      And, when you do get it done, your confidence goes through the roof. You feel a level of certainty in achieving the goal you set out to accomplish.

      6. Focus on Your Strengths

      To feel self-assured and build up the confidence needed to achieve our biggest goals, we need to focus on our strengths.

      What are you best at? What are your unique skills? You want to spend as much time as you can working in the areas that you’re great at.

      Multiply your strengths. These areas are where you add the biggest value. They often bring you the biggest amount of joy, and you feel more and more confident when you are using your unique skills.

      If you think there is a specific capability you need to learn or be better at, spend more focused time in that area.

      Many of us want to do it all. We want to be good at everything. We want to offer a lot of services. But, in reality, there are some very specific things we are great at; nobody is good at everything!

      Spending more time adding value in the areas where you excel can create breakthrough results and boost confidence.

      7. Embrace the Present

      Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the future or worrying about the past that we forget the present moment[2].

      Are you spending most of your day reacting to things, or have you taken the time to think about what your perfect day looks like?

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      We all have the opportunity to create rather than react, to decide what we do with our day. All of our future success can be created in the present moment if we just take a step back and take action.

      Sometimes, doing it now is more important than doing it perfectly. There are hidden opportunities in every moment. We need to make sure we don’t miss them if we want to feel self-assured.

      8. Calm the Whirlwind

      The day-to-day life in business and life can be hard, which leads us to feel less self-assured.

      Your mind may be full to bursting with all of the things you feel you have to do. The phrase “I don’t have time” has almost become an instant reaction by so many people when new opportunities are presented.

      There is a whirlwind happening inside our minds.

      Appointments, notifications, tasks, phone calls, errands, cash flow, staffing issues, networking, marketing all can clutter up our timeline. The sheer volume of things we feel we should do creates procrastination, stopping us from pursuing the projects and people that matter.

      Many of us feel we have to do everything within our business.

      Rather than simplifying things and doing less, we do more. We work longer, which creates a lack of energy and focus. Because of this, we lose clarity on our biggest opportunities. If you feel this way, take some well-deserved time off.

      Look at where you’re spending your time. How much of your time is being spent moving your ideas forward?

      In the next 90 days, if you could delegate or outsource more daily tasks and spend more time focusing on where you add the biggest value, what difference would it make?

      Calm the whirlwind by slowing down and doing less.

      Focus on areas that you add the biggest amount of value. By doing this, your energy levels will increase, your confidence will grow and you will have more success.

      9. Take More Time off

      This may seem counterintuitive, but taking more time off to recharge and refocus can pay huge dividends.

      If you are constantly fighting fires and caught up in the myriad of different activities that you have to do each day, then how can you move your business forward?

      You may be being pulled in difference directions without any focused time on your biggest projects. If that’s the case, then it’s almost impossible to gain any real momentum in moving your business forward and hitting your goals.

      The best way to get off that treadmill is to take more creative time out of the business.

      Could you realistically take one day off per month to work on your business? If you could, what would you do with this time?

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      Just imagine no distractions, only focused time on the strategic development and growth of your business.

      Every day off per month could have a different focus: New product innovation; Thinking about your biggest clients; Improving operations.

      Add to this a quarterly review to check in with your goals progress, and this could have a dramatic effect on where you spend your valuable time.

      10. Celebrate Wins

      Sometimes you just want to get through the day, right?

      You have so much to do. There are so many things on your task list that you just complete what you can and then start another day. But what would happen if, at the end of each day, you took some time out to look at what you’ve accomplished?

      Celebrating success keeps you motivated and helps you become more self-assured. It is not just another day. It’s a day that included things that should be celebrated.

      If you’re struggling to feel motivated, try celebrating a couple of wins each day.

      Celebrating success combined with the gratitude you have for achieving those wins will boost your confidence and inspire you for the next day.

      11. Give Yourself More Space

      When was the last time you gave yourself time to think?

      Within the hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to give yourself a little bit of space and time to just think[3].

      Imagine giving yourself just an hour a day to just let your mind wander or think about a specific thing.

      If you think about it, we can all free up an hour a day for something without really losing any efficiency or really impacting our business.

      In fact, that hour could be transformational for your business and life.

      A new idea for a product could form, or an idea for adding value to your existing clients could materialize. Perhaps you could do a check in to your ideal future and your goals. You could decide that you want to take your business in a new direction.

      Try this: Just sit alone for an hour with a notebook and let it be your creative thinking time. See what happens.

      Final Thoughts

      Ultimately, being self-assured happens when you have a clear direction.

      This, coupled with having clear goals and working in your unique skill-set, gives you the biggest opportunity to be more productive and get more of the right things done.

      The old mantra that “less is more” is right on the money. By giving yourself more time to work on your goals, you will inevitably increase your confidence; at this point, your ideal future can be anything you want it to be.

      More on How to Be Self-Assured

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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