Did you know that boredom can affect your overall happiness and well-being? It can. The Cambridge Dictionary defines being bored as “feeling tired and unhappy because something is not interesting or because you have nothing to do.” That means that boredom, if left unaddressed, can lead to other undesirable outcomes in our lives – and who wants that? The good news is that there are productive things to do when bored that can help you counteract those negative outcomes while also helping you become more productive in the process.
Don’t Be a Victim of Boredom
To help you live out a happy and productive life, we’ve provided a list of productive things to do when bored. The reality is that, from time to time, we all get bored. And instead of getting caught off-guard, we want you to have ways to be prepared.
Productive Things to Do When Bored at Home
Life can feel pretty overwhelming at times. Trying to balance work, family, and everything in between can leave us feeling stressed, fatigued, and burnt out. Embrace that rest is an important part of our well-being physically, mentally, and emotionally. Learn to appreciate that you don’t have anything pressing to take care of or to worry about. Use it as permission to treat yourself to a massage or a much-needed nap.
Though this may not appear to be one of the productive things to do when bored, findings show a link between the priority of quality sleep and some of the most productive and successful CEO’s. Besides, your body and mind will thank you for it.
There may be times where you feel like you lack meaning and purpose in your life. Take a step back to reflect and gain some perspective. It may be helpful to reflect upon some of the bigger questions about life and work. “What do I feel called to accomplish in my life?” “Am I pursuing what I’m passionate about?” “What big changes do I need to think about making in my life?”
Without a sense of meaning and purpose, it won’t matter how much activity your life is filled with. You’ll likely remain prone to boredom and unhappiness.
3. Read a Novel
There are few things that can stir one’s imagination like reading a good novel. Whether it’s as an escape from the “every day” or an effort to better empathize with others, the benefits of reading a good story are plentiful. One of our favorite books is To Kill a Mockingbird, among others.
If you’re not wanting to visit your local bookstore or library, you can even purchase an e-book instantly from the comforts of your own home.
4. Learn Something New
Believe it or not, there was once a time when YouTube, and even the internet, didn’t exist. Today, there’s a tutorial for nearly anything you can think of, from learning how to prepare a turkey to fixing a broken faucet. Why not take this time to learn something new that will aid your leisure, improve your home life, or help you excel at work?
5. Plan Your Next Vacation
We all need something to look forward to from time to time. Vacations are a great way to break up the year. Figure out the next spot you or your family would like to visit and start making plans accordingly. We find that when you’re not proactive about them, they don’t happen nearly as often as you’d like them to. Vacations can also serve as a way to reward yourself after each season of work. This is definitely among one of our favorite productive things to do when bored!
More than likely, you have unnecessary items and boxes in your home that make cleanup and organization more difficult than they need to be. Take it from The Minimalists who define minimalism as “a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”
Create a system that helps you figure out what in your home can be sold, donated, or simply gotten rid of.
7. Journal Your Thoughts
Journalling can serve as an effective way to process and organize our thoughts. Many find it therapeutic to write their thoughts out on a journal. Along with your word processor, there are a number of online mediums that allow you to type and privately store your thoughts. As an added bonus, your old journals can serve as a way to pass something of value onto future generations.
8. Call an Old Friend
Few of us would deny that people and relationships are two of the most important things in all of life. And yet, we also realize just how easy it can be to neglect them. Rather than simply scrolling through your social media feed, give an old friend a call who you haven’t connected with in a while. You won’t regret the time you put into doing that.
The benefits of exercise are multi-faceted. Far beyond one’s physical well-being, exercise also affects one’s mental and emotional well-being. An article by Harvard Health Publishing states that “Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means”.
If you don’t consider yourself a workout buff, simply start by going for an easy walk in the neighborhood.
10. Listen to a Podcast
Podcasts are a great way to grow and learn. A lot of them are pretty entertaining as well. The great thing about podcasts is that they can be listened to while driving, exercising, or doing work around the house. For multi-taskers, podcasts are great!
Productive Things to Do When Bored at Work
1. Clean Out Your E-mail Inbox
Due in part to the growth of e-mail marketing, there’s a good chance that your e-mail inbox is filled with useless junk. The worst part about it is that it makes it that much easier for us to overlook the e-mails that are important. Take some time to clean out your inbox while updating your filters to prevent future junk from getting there in the first place.
2. Organize Your Desk
The state of one’s desk likely reflects, to some small degree, the state of its owner’s mind. We encourage you to not only organize your desk but to set it up in such a way that inspires you towards the work you’re seeking to get done. This may be in the form of an inspirational quote, a photo of a family member, or even a pen that serves as a memento for you.
The tools of your trade may differ according to the industry you’re in. Whatever your industry, you want to make sure the best ones are available especially when in the middle of an assignment or project. For you, it may be a new laptop, an updated program, or a more comfortable desk chair. Whatever the case, take this time to take an inventory and retool.
4. Connect with Coworkers
This is probably one of the more important, yet overlooked, productive things to do when bored. The quality of your relationships with coworkers can help make your work life delightful or miserable. Take time to chat or do something nice, like grabbing a cup of coffee, for a co-worker. It will help to build the quality of the relationships and also make it less difficult to ask for help and cooperation when needed.
5. Find a Mentor
In whatever field you find yourself, you’re likely to run into people in positions you’d like to aspire to one day. Take the initiative to ask them if you could buy them a drink or meal in exchange for a few minutes of their time. Rather than simply settling with where you currently are, be proactive in seeking out people who may be able to give you the insight, knowledge, and inspiration to help you expand your influence.
6. Personal Growth
Read a book or take a class to help expand your skill set. With the emergence of online schooling, there is much more flexibility in terms of taking classes that work around your schedule. You never know when the right opportunity will come knocking within your current company or with another one.
7. Volunteer Yourself
With the holiday season just around the corner, there will likely be volunteer opportunities to sign up for as a team or group. This will be a great way to show and to experience a different side of the people you work with. There may also be opportunities to volunteer with holiday workplace activities which can serve to not only boost workplace morale but allow you to display your strengths and leadership.
8. Utilize Your Resources
Many people are unaware of the host of valuable resources their workplace has to offer them. Give your human resources department a call to see what’s available for you. You may just find that they offer a free yoga class or massages. If so, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of those!
How you let your boredom affect you depends on how you respond to it. You can either become a victim of it and its consequence or you can respond with one of the productive things to do when bored that we’ve listed here. Rather than letting boredom get the best of you, use it as a way to live a happier and more productive life.