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50 Ways to Pass Time During Jury Duty

Updated on March 6, 2014

A Day In A Room With Strangers...What Is There To Do?

For those of us who have been asked to fulfill our civic responsibility by completing jury duty, we know how truly boring the experience can be. While serving on an actual jury may be interesting, waiting for selection which may never come is most certainly not. It is inexplicable how much time seems to slow down when you have nothing to do for hours on end. Sitting in a dull room, awkwardly making eye contact with someone you have never met, looking at the clock as seconds seem to take minutes to tick by is painstakingly unbearable. Time seems to crawl. Add to this the constant fear and anxiety that your name will be called every time they need a new panel along with the uncertainty of how many hours, days or even weeks you might be required to put your life and job on hold while actually serving on a jury and you get one massively stressful day. So, while I was sitting in the waiting room, surrounded by a least 2 hundred other people in the same position as I was, listening to music, I thought of some random things to help keep your mind occupied and help pass the time. These suggestions may not be practical. I mean just having your laptop, iPad, tablet PC or even just a smartphone can keep you entertained for the entire day, but in instances when you don't have access to these devices or they run out of juice, my examples can come in handy. A few minutes here and a few minutes there will add up so that you'll want more time to give each of them a try.

Here it goes, Have Fun and Keep Busy

As you will see, a lot of these activities are less practical than others, but all 50 of my tips will help you waste time and you might learn a few things.

1. Read a book or magazine (if you have the stamina to read for 9 hours more power to you but for people like me this will only take up a fraction of the time)

2. In the book you have, draw a flip book on the bottom right corner (if you are willing to deface your own property)

3. Read the newspaper (I prefer the comics section, but that's just me)

4. Take a nap or two....or get the picture (see if your seat neighbor is willing to give you a nudge when they start calling names)

5. Do the crossword puzzle/sudoku in the daily newspaper (they may have one there but try to bring one from home)

6. Try to get work done from your job, school or whatever you have going on in your life (one of the many reasons that you should bring a pen)

7. Practice rolling a quarter between your fingers

8. Knit something (if you know how to)

9. Write some poetry or short story (don't forget a pen and paper)

10. See how fast you can ties your shoes (if it comes to this then may god have mercy on your soul)

11. Think up actual reasons for why you can't be on a jury just in case you go through jury selection (but don't lie)

12. Time how long you can hold your breath

13. Try to write out a list of movies, bands, TV shows, animals, or whatever you want for each letter of the alphabet

14. Practice writing something with your non dominant hand

15. Take occasional walks to stretch your legs

16. Read the ingredients list and nutritional facts on any food you have

17. Practice twirling a pen or pencil between your fingers

18. If the person sitting next to you looks friendly enough and looks bored, try to strike up a conversation

19. Sketch something of scratch paper

20. Look around and try to make up fake back stories on people in the waiting room. Get those creative juices flowing (there are lot of interesting characters there)

21. Count ceiling tiles, number of windows, chairs, doors, people with hats, etc. (this wastes lots of time)

22. Reread the Jury Duty pamphlet given to you

23. Bring a deck of cards and practice card counting for blackjack or play solitaire

24. Test your ability to accurately count to 1 minute in your head (check with the clock to see if you're right)

25. Clean out and organize your wallet or purse

26. Think of and write down some recipes that you want to try at home

27. Make a list of movies you want to see or DVD's you want to rent or buy

28. Exercise your calves while sitting by pushing off on your toes, flexing the muscle

29. Design your dream home in your mind or on paper

30. Come up with ideas for screenplays or books

31. Make predictions about things going on around you (how will get up next, how many people will be called in the next panel, who will cough next, etc. Keep track of your guesses)

32. Think up some new inventions and draw them out if you want

33. Start up a journal (first entry: somebody put me out of my misery)

34. Make a list of items in your home that you want get rid of or sell on ebay/in a garage sale

35. Flip a coin and try to guess if it will come up heads or tails (test your psychic abilities)

If you're lucky enough to have a laptop, smartphone, portable music/dvd player or a portable game system then you're experience with jury duty will be much more pleasant. Just pray that you don't run out of battery power! With that in mind here are some things you can do with your electronics.

36. Do some online window shopping on amazon

37. Browse (this could potentially used up the whole 8 hours)

38. Learn sign language online

39. Take online surveys for money (global test market, opinion outpost, survey spot are good)

40. Take quizzes on (I recommend learning the countries of the world)

41. Watch a movie on a portable DVD player, laptop, tablet PC, iPod, phone, etc.

42. Listen to music or radio

43. Learn HTML and CSS at (easy and straightforward way to learn web coding)

44. Play something on

45. Go through and delete old messages, emails and voice mail on your phone and laptop

46. Browse Youtube videos on stuff that interest you

47. Text your friends (better to waste their time than yours)

48. Mess around on Facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.

49. Run a virus scan, defrag, and clean up files on your laptop.

50. Watch movie trailers online or look for flicks to add to your Netflix queue

Entertaining Books To Pass The Time

These are some books that I have read and have been very engrossing.

List of Useful Links

I added some links of sites that I had mentioned above to help you guys out.

JuryTube - This Man Knows What He Is Talking About

Funny video on a miserable subject.

Would you rather?

Which would you rather go through

See results

If you've gone to jury duty and have a great idea of how to spend you're time, let me know and i'll add it to the user suggestion section.

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    • profile image

      Kekepania 16 months ago

      These are actually pretty good, I potentially have jury duty tomorrow. If my group number is called so...I need all the help I can get considering I have a low attention span, I am debating if I should bring my computer but I don't want it to be a hassle.

    • profile image

      asile-oznola 4 years ago

      Unfortunately, there are no electronic devices allowed.

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 4 years ago

      I haven't had jury duty in a long time. But if/when I do, I have no problem with lots of time to read and write. Heck, maybe next time I will bring my Chromebook and make Squidoo lenses while I wait.

    • sallemange profile image

      sallemange 5 years ago

      Wish I'd seen this list before I did jury duty.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Measure the differences between the sizes, heights, weights, clothing, hair color and ages of respondents to jury duty. try to guess where each one lives and what each one does for a living. Write this down and develop a screenplay or drama involving each member of the jury pool.

    • CnickTuigsinn profile image

      CnickTuigsinn 5 years ago

      This is a really unique lens, and funny because a few of my family members had to go through Jury Duty recently. One came back relatively unscathed, another wasn't so lucky and actually got picked to a Jury. The horror!