It happens to the best of us. You get a little downtime and then you find yourself scrolling social media looking at cute puppies. Or you plop yourself on the couch to binge-watch the latest season of Stranger Things on Netflix.
But when you look back on the day, you think, “Wait, what did I actually do today?” Well, to help you make better use of your free time, I’ve come up with a list of productive things you can sprinkle into your day. After knocking out a few productive tasks, you will instead end your day feeling more fulfilled and accomplished.
Try These 25 Productive Things To Do When Bored
1. Listen to Podcasts
Got an hour or so? Why not feed your brain with an interesting podcast that inspires or educates you? The great thing about podcasts is that you don’t need to sit and watch your screen. Simply turn on your favorite podcast (like Master Your Life podcast with Kate McKay) and listen as you go for a walk or clean the house. Then you’ll get a double whammy of productivity.
We all tend to forget to update our LinkedIn profiles. We lose contact with former colleagues and business teams. And that’s totally fair; keeping up with these people in our lives can be tough when we’re busy. But now that you’ve got some time–Go for it!
Try reaching out to other professionals in your industry that you admire. You can meet up for coffee, share insights, and gain more perspective on industry trends to get prepared for. Networking is essential these days to stay on top of your game. Now’s the time. Reach out.
3. Take a Walk
Planning a walk or other physical activity into your morning routine will give you a productive jump-start to your day. And once you’ve taken a brisk stroll around your block, you’ll be motivated and energized to get more stuff done at home. Exercise helps you de-stress, boosts mood, and can also promote creativity.
On our busy days, we forget about the laundry waiting to be folded in the hamper or the dishes piled up in the sink. But now that you’ve hit a spot of boredom, you can get to decluttering! When you declutter, you can look at it as a form of self-respect. It is signaling to ourselves that we deserve to live in a tidy, clean place and that we will put in the effort to keep it that way.
5. Get Organized
When was the last time you addressed the stack of receipts strewn across your desk or went through the piles of boxes that need sorting in the garage? These kinds of tasks we often spend procrastinating for weeks, months, and sometimes even years. So why not make it a day of it?
When we are organized, we feel a sense of certainty and groundedness in our daily lives. This magically takes stress off our shoulders that we probably didn’t even realize was building up.
6. Ted Talks
As you get de-cluttered and organized, throw on a Ted Talk. Ted Talks are free educational talks published online featuring some of the most renowned speakers, thinkers, and entertainers of our time. There are plenty of scientific, cultural, political, humanitarian, and academic topics to choose from. You are sure to find a topic that will inspire and delight you with “ideas worth spreading”.
Ready to learn something new? Try a new non-fiction audiobook such as The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk or Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey from the New York Times Best Sellers List. Not only are you learning, but you are also improving your comprehension and vocabulary at the same time.
8. Learn a New Language
Get ready for your next vacation by familiarizing yourself with the language of your dream destination. When you learn the language of the culture, you gain new respect from its people and are seen as more than just a clueless tourist. You will also benefit from the brain workout it takes to learn a language by developing more neuroplasticity.
This can help you create new mindsets, new memories, new skills, and new abilities you never thought possible. Try Duolingo to get started mastering the sensual French language, the passion of Spanish or Italian, or any other language that inspires your wanderlust.
9. Make or Update Your Vision Board
When life starts to feel like it has gotten off track, it may be time to update your vision board. Creating a vision board can help you reassess what direction you want your life to go in. Do you see yourself traveling, getting that job you always wanted, starting a family, or writing a novel?
Cut out pictures from magazines that represent your vision and glue them to a poster board. Hang it up somewhere you will see it every day to keep your future vision clear in your mind.
One of the most powerful productivity hacks is meditation.
“Aren’t you just sitting around though?” you may ask. Actually, meditation allows us to deepen our concentration and focus, which can help decrease the mental effort we spend on other tasks. Try the Calm app today, and you’ll be surprised what a serene headspace will help you accomplish.
If you work from home, this could be the perfect time to get your workspace in order. After cleaning and organizing, put away the office tools you never use or throw out the old files you’ll never use. Then make a list of things that would make your workspace more productive and go pick them up at the store.
The next time you sit down at your now fully-functional workspace, you will be more motivated to tackle the day.
12. Start a Side Hustle
We all have little hobbies that we enjoy that could easily be turned into a side hustle. And having a little extra income these days couldn’t hurt. Do you make bomb bundt cakes? Or is your passion for creating musical scores ready to be turned into a part-time music producer role?
You never know, your long-time hobbies could turn into a booming small business. Who knows, it may eventually overtake your regular 9-5.
13. Discover Useful Tutorials
As the Internet grows, there are hoards of information out there on how to do anything. Do you have a water heater that needs cleaning? Have you always wanted to learn how to build a computer? There’s a YouTube channel for that. Enhance your life by learning a new skill or picking up a new hobby.
You’ll feel accomplished after you’ve learned to do something new.
14. Update Your Spotify Playlist
As you clean, organize, and de-clutter, turn on your Spotify playlist. Find some new music with the Discover Weekly feature. Listening to a new or old playlist will get you in the productivity zone.
15. Unsubscribe From Promo Emails
If your email is overflowing with junk mail, it is time to do a thorough cleaning of your inbox. Unsubscribe from the email lists you have no interest in and put away all the important messages you want to keep in folders.
16. Start a Bullet Journal
If the thought of keeping a diary sounds like a monumental task, try starting a bullet journal (aka BuJo). A bullet journal incorporates not only a diary, but fun doodles, bullet lists, and calendars to keep you functional and organized. It can also be used as a creative outlet, a meditation medium, or a guide to keeping good habits.
Schedule your day, week, month, or year with a calendar, or track progress on various goals in your life. Check out these creative bullet journal ideas for some inspo.
17. Try a New Recipe
Ready for an update to your sadly predictable meal plan? It’s time to try out a new recipe. With all the cuisines in the world, there is an abundance of healthy or exotic options to choose from. Time to expand your cooking repertoire! Plan a nice meal to create for a dinner party with friends.
Are you gluten-free? Try a cauliflower pizza crust or falafel. Craving something sweet and sinful? There is a surprisingly easy Flourless Chocolate Cake with your name on it.
18. Garden DIY
It’s a beautiful day outside and you’ve got a lot of time to kill. Why not get your hands dirty? Planting some flowers, shrubs, or grass can be very therapeutic. Not to mention it raises the overall comfort and beauty of your home. And if you’d like to get more function out of your garden, try planting some herbs, veggies, or fruit trees in raised beds.
Some fun gardening DIY project ideas include cascading clay pot fountains, a trellis for creeping vines, or colorful cinder block planters.
19. Check In With Loved Ones
Have you called your mom lately? Catch up with your best friend or family member now that you’ve got some time. Reach out to see what they’ve been up to, schedule a get-together, or share a funny story they’ll get a kick out of. In this busy day and age, these moments can be very precious gifts!
20. Enroll In An Online Course
Have you always wanted to learn how to improve your writing skills? Do accounting reports boggle your brain? Do you want to learn how a website works? Try out an online course to expand your professional development. There are tons of places where you can learn for free, or earn a certificate to wow your boss and increase your value to the company.
Coursera has lots of options to choose from.
21. Clean Up Your Computer
I’ll say it. If you’ve still got pictures of your breakfast from 2016 on your computer, it might be time for a clean-up. Being a digital hoarder may be useful when you need a copy of your W2s years down the road, but not for the arbitrary photo or abandoned file.
Take some time and go through your old files and photos. Pick out the useful ones, then throw the rest in the trash bin. Your hard drive will thank you.
22. Personal Development
What could be more productive than expanding your potential through self-improvement? When you focus on personal development, like facing your fears or learning to be more empathetic, your mental health benefits. And in turn, you will then be more likely to accomplish your dreams and aspirations.
And not only do you benefit, but you will also have a better connection with those around you.
23. Come Up With New Goals For Yourself
Who says goals should only be made on New Year? Assess what you really want out of life. What steps will it take to get there? Jot the steps down, making each step into a goal. Then try to read your goals every day. This will keep them fresh in your mind and you’ll be more focused on achieving them.
24. Help a Neighbor
As social media takes over our lives, we start to lose connection with those around us. Instead, try to make social connections with your neighbors. Help your elderly neighbor bring in her groceries, or set up a complicated IKEA furniture set for a busy single mom.
Reaching out to those around us bridges the gaps between us, developing a more connected world you can’t find on social media.
25. Organize Your To-Do List
Now that you’ve got tons of ideas to keep you busy, it’s time to write a productivity to-do list. Check out these to-do list templates to get you started.
Feel Accomplished and Fulfilled
So, what did you do today? Meditation, audiobooks, gardening, walking, helping a neighbor? These are all wonderfully productive things that will make you feel accomplished and fulfilled. I hope you’ve gotten a few ideas from this article on how to fill your spare time. Here’s to a productive week!