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Productive Things to Do When You're Bored

Updated on January 9, 2013

So, you're bored? Rather than sitting through yet another episode of reality television, find something productive to do! Here are eighteen great ideas!

1. Clean
Okay, okay. Cleaning isn't exactly the most thrilling thing to do, but it has to be done sometime, right? And what better time than while you're avoiding an equally unpleasant task?

Set a goal for yourself - "Today, I will organize my bookshelf!" Don't feel like you have to scour the entire house, but cleaning out something will make you feel useful and will make it a lot easier to find things! Added bonus: De-cluttering a desk drawer, organizing a closet, or vacuuming a few rooms have been proven to relieve stress!

2. Donate clothes that you don't wear anymore
Cleaning out my closet and dresser drawers is a particular hobby of mine. Every so often, it's nice to go through and find shirts that you forgot you had. (Even better discovery: My favorite pair of jeans, wedged in a forgotten corner of my closet!) Anything that hasn't been worn in the past six months is up for consideration. Will you wear it again? Does it still fit?

Put together pile to take to Goodwill or another consignment store. You'll clear out some space in your closet (giving yourself an excuse to go shopping for more!) and you'll be repurposing the clothes.

3. Watch a TED Talks video
When I am feeling particularly lazy and unmotivated, I like to watch a TED video. TED is an organization committed to gathering short lectures from some of the most brilliant experts in the world! These lecturers have approximately seven minutes to make their speech, and every single one of those videos is inspiring in a different way.

You can learn something about a topic you're interested in or gain perspective within your life, but watching a TED video is a great way to feel productive without even having to leave the couch.

4. Pay It Forward
One of the best things you can do in your free time is to do a favor for someone else. It can be something that you've been meaning to get around to for some time, or something completely unexpected.

Why not mow your neighbors' lawn when you finish yours so they won't have to this week? Why not bake cookies for the break room? Why not send a thank you note to someone just for being awesome?

It's a great way to make somebody else feel good, and to make you feel good as well!

5. Organize your music
If you've got a whole iTunes library full of mismatched songs with no cover art, spend some time going through and cleaning it up! Delete all those "accidental purchases" (Don't worry - we all bought Call Me Maybe and now regret it. You are not alone,) and streamline your playlists.

6. Plan a vacation
Think about your next holiday weekend and spend some time researching a great place to travel. Visit websites like to research the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Not only will you be getting all the planning done, but the earlier the start, the more likely you are to score great deals on tickets and hotels. Plus, you'll have something wonderful to look forward to!

7. Explore
The best way to get to know the area around you is to go exploring. You can go by yourself or bring friends and family with you. Drive a way you wouldn't normally drive, or go for a walk. If you live in a rural area, explore the surrounding nature. You might come across a really great thinking spot or some cool plants you've never seen before. If you live in the city, you might check out a restaurant you've never been to before or walk through a part of the city that you don't know as much about. (Just be safe! For example, I wouldn't advise exploring the Bronx alone at 3 am...)

8. Fix something
Now might be the perfect time to repair that leaky faucet you've been meaning to take care of for weeks. Grab a caulking gun or a hammer and nails and get to work repairing the house! If you don't know how to do something, google it or refer to a book!

Finish all your home repair projects and get them out of the way so your wife will stop nagging you! (Or at least, she'll find something new to complain about.)

9. Learn a new skill
Learning how to do something new is always exciting! It doesn't have to be something overtly useful - choose something that interests you. You can look up tutorials, or even video guides for how to do just about anything. One of my best friends taught herself how to play the guitar based off of tutorials from videos on YouTube!

Some ideas to get you started: How to tie a tie, how to tune a piano by ear, how to sing harmony, how to make Tira Misu (or any other tasty food!), how to knit, how to french-braid your own hair...

10. Play with kids
If you're a parent, you know the value of forming a bond with your children and taking time to play with them. If you don't have kids of your own, you should know that there is so much we can learn from children and that playing with them is amazing stress relief!

Now, I'm NOT suggesting that you just go to the nearest playground and just start playing with strangers children. Please, please, please - DON'T do that! Offer to babysit the young children of a friend or family member. Play dress up. Make a craft. Build and knock down block towers. Color. Be involved and use your imagination. (And remember - it doesn't count if all you do is turn on the television!)

11. Make plans with someone
Even on the laziest of days, if you crave something productive, make a plan. You'll feel productive knowing that you will be productive on Friday, when you'll catch up with a friend you haven't seen in awhile. Just make sure that you actually follow through with your plans!

12. Donate money
If you have money to give, give! Share the wealth with those in need. Make sure that you do your research to make sure you aren't investing in a scam. Popular charities include the Make a Wish Foundation, Livestrong, and the Red Cross. You might consider a smaller, lesser known charity as well. Find something you are passionate about!

13. Read the newspaper
Yes - a real newspaper! No, checking it on your phone does not count. Catch up with what's going on in the world and in your community. Don't skip to the wordsearch. Don't just skim the sports section. Read the entire newspaper!

14. Clean out your email inbox
Deleting old emails and cleaning out your spam folder takes all of five minutes, and it will make it a lot less stressful to check your email next time!

15. Write a letter
Everybody loves to get mail - especially amidst a sea of bills and junk mail. Make someone's day by sending them a handwritten letter in the mail. Catch up with someone you haven't seen in awhile outside of the confines of Facebook and email. Added bonus: you might get one back a few days later!

16. Exercise
Okay, this is another one that might not be the most fun, but it's good for you and it will boost your mood! Take a walk, lift some weights, or head to gym - you'll feel ready to tackle the world after!

17. Balance your checkbook
Being financially organized is crucial, especially in this economy! Sitting down with your checkbook might not be the most fun thing you could do today, but it's certainly productive - plus, it means you won't have to do it later!

18. Write
Start the next American novel! Write a Hub! Write in a journal, type out some poetry, or scribble down some lyrics. Get your creative juices flowing by taking the time to reflect and write something meaningful to you.

What is YOUR favorite way to do something productive when you're bored? Leave a comment!


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    • SimilarSam profile image

      Sam 2 years ago from Australia

      I'm one for TED talks! At least I feel productive even though I might not actually be..

    • nines profile image

      Precious Sanders 4 years ago from Kansas

      Very good list. I just wish I had enough time to be bored!

    • Alex Brockie profile image

      Alex Brockie 4 years ago from England

      I found this Hub entertaining to read and has given me some ideas for what to do when I'm next in need of something to do.

    • marion langley profile image

      marion langley 4 years ago from The Study

      I am so there...and I do start with cleaning. I'm usually burnt out wrestling with the kids but usually I can talk myself into a card game and a board book to two. My husband sings my praises when I exercise but my motivation doesn't kick in till he's home. I wish I could make plans more often with other people but moving puts quite the damper on yay for hubpages!!!

    • anagham profile image

      Anagha V Mahishi 4 years ago from Hubli, karnataka

      My favourite pass time would be gardening... But found many interesting things to do from your list.... Great hub!!

    • laurathegentleman profile image

      laurathegentleman 5 years ago from Chapel Hill, NC

      @Winterfate - I know exactly what you mean! (Although I usually find myself in the opposite predicament. As a student, it's a lot easier to find other, semi-productive things to do, just in order to avoid homework assignments and studying!!) Thanks for stopping by!

    • cleaner3 profile image

      cleaner3 5 years ago from Pueblo, Colorado

      love it ... waiting for that letter.!

    • Winterfate profile image

      Darrin Perez 5 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Nice ideas Laura! Of course, the problem with me sometimes is that I'm bored of being constructive, if that makes any sense. :D

      Thanks for the hub. Voted up and useful!


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