Published on May 26, 2020
Read time 16 minutes
The 28 Most Productive Things to Do When Bored
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Boredom is a part of every human life and what you decide to do with your time goes a long way in determining whether you remain bored or make the word totally nonexistent in your vocabulary. The best way to remove boredom totally is to engage yourself in several productive things to do that are self-rewarding.
Making productive use of your time does not only mean that you have nothing to do, but there are also time slots within your busy time that can be used to achieve the littlest of things that when put together would result in getting that thing you have always wanted to do.
A study by the University of Texas researchers found that idle time can cost employers up to USD 1 billion per annum which means if you quantify your idle time in money you might be losing more than you are gaining. Another study also found that people who engage their idle time become 8% more productive.
The Most Productive Things to Do in 2020:
Here is a list of productive things to do that will prove both productive and fruitful to your professional and personal growth.
1. Take a break
The value of taking a break and having some rest can never be undermined. It makes you feel re-energized and boosts your morale to work on other productive things throughout your day.
2. Get organized with nTask productivity app
Several productivity apps help in managing your workplace tasks, personal organization, and team productivity. If you have finally decided on productive things to do when bored, you can check online for several apps that would be suitable for your personal requirements.
The nTask is one of the best productivity apps, free to use with unlimited tasks and checklists. It helps you stay on track with timely reminders and handy tips on how to carry out some of those tasks. Check out our blog post on our handpicked top to-do list apps.
nTask is one of the best productivity app:
Use it for personal or team productivity. nTask is free and includes unlimited tasks and checklists.
3. Listen to productivity podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to boost your morale and get you on top of your game and the best part about it is that you can listen while you are taking a walk, driving, or while you wait on your next task. Listening to podcasts is one of the productive things to do when bored which gives you access to various famous book authors, inspiring celebrities, and everyday individuals each hosting a unique talk about accomplishments and overcoming obstacles.
You also get to hear about handy tips and tricks that could go a long way in making your life and career a whole lot easier and more interesting.
4. Brush up on your skills
Choosing a career path involves acquiring knowledge and skills in your field, however, somewhere between the work hours and getting home in time to eat and get a healthy dose of sleep could sometimes leave our acquired skills rusty especially with the ever-changing world.
Doing your job can easily make you fall into a routine like filling orders, calling customers, and crunching numbers as reflexes without giving much attention to creativity and newness to our daily tasks. A great way to increase your productivity is to research the latest developments in customer dealing, app development, writing, or whatever your niche may be during your free time so you can work on your skillset to continue shining in the long run.
Check out these courses to improve your skills set:
5. Learn a new language
Next on our list of productive things to do when bored is to learn a new language. According to the language experts at LearnALanguageOnline.net, professionals that are fluent in a second language can earn up to 10 to 15 percent more than their monolingual counterparts.
Another advantage of learning a new language is that it boosts your chances of career growth exponentially. Learning another language doesn’t just improve your career opportunities but it also gives you an advantage whenever you decide to take that trip to a foreign country of your choice.
6. De-clutter your inbox
Sometimes we just choose to read that mail some other time which leads to a piled-up mailbox containing both relevant and irrelevant emails. According to The McKinsey Global Institute, an average employee spends 13 hours a week reading and responding to email. Also, according to SaneBox’s internal data, the average inbox contains only 38% important, relevant emails.
Email de-cluttering can be one of the most productive things to do in your free time. Set up a reminder with sticky notes on your desk or wherever you can easily see it and get down to cleaning your inbox.
Check out several ways this blog can help you achieve an optimized inbox.
7. Plan the task ahead
Planning your task ahead is a sure way of ensuring you have listed all possible tasks for the day, identified your free time, and slotted in extra productive activities for the day. This may not seem like a fun thing to do but planning allows you to know that there is a task in the pipeline that may need extra attention or homework before you get down to it and how much time you have till the next task.
Knowing you have a complex and overwhelming task ahead, particularly helps you prepare for productive things to do when bored, you can go ahead to brainstorm on the options available, come up with a roadmap and make a list of tools that may be required and whether you would need more professional help along the way.
You can also track down colleagues that have carried out similar tasks and get some advice on how to carry out your task easily and efficiently. Along with productivity apps are also top project planning tools to help you work more effectively.
Looking for top task management tools? Check this out:
Reading is a sure way to continually keep your brain exercised and acquire more knowledge, whether you are into fiction or non-fiction, read up when you are not sure about what other productive things to do. Non-fiction such as how-to articles, daily newsletters, and community pages can help you stay abreast of things going on around you.
Research at Emory University concluded that reading non-fiction can help the brain function better and boost its connectivity. Another study suggests that people who engage their brains through activities such as reading, chess, or puzzles are 2.5 times less prone to developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who don’t.
If you prefer the conventional style, the next time you go shopping, be sure to stop by a bookstore and grab your favorite comics or novels and begin an adventure into the world of books. And if you choose e-books you can just look up recommendations for books online through several sites that introduce read-worthy books, offer book reviews, and buying details.
Check out the top productivity books that you may like to read:
9. Learn a new skill
“Find a niche and stick to it” is all too common a phrase now but the real fun begins when you try to master a skill that is not associated with your field.
Explore new dimensions that you normally wouldn’t even think twice about and discover the vista of knowledge waiting to be mined. Doing this will not only allow you to explore your abilities, but will also help you to dramatically increase your productivity and creativity levels, plus you get to discover the untapped areas of your mind.
It is also an opportunity to incorporate new habits which you haven’t tried before into your personal routine, like joining a dance class, taking music lessons, or joining a painting class.
Learn from the Productivity Gurus:
10. Evaluate your productive hours
It is important to constantly evaluate yourself and your working habits to correctly determine your peak energy hours.
Statistics show that typically, individuals get most of their work done (9.7%) at around 11 am. And discovering whether you are a morning or nocturnal person helps you plan your task well. You must sit back and determine the time you’re most productive at, so you can get most of your work done during those hours.
If you think your energies are off the chart during the daytime, gear yourself up and try to complete most of your important tasks during the day, this way you’ll get more done and still have ample time left to run other errands.
This can be a little challenging, especially for introverts but trust us when we say this, networking is crucial when it comes to staying at the top of your game. Another productive thing to do when bored when you have free time on your hands is to take the opportunity to reach out to your industry professionals to make yourself visible.
Also, remember to shoot a quick message or email to a former colleague that you haven’t contacted in a while.
Check up on them and ask if they’re up for a short coffee session. By networking, you can build a good rapport with your peers which would facilitate understanding the industry’s trends and give you a quick idea about how things are changing.
12. Update your resume
One of the most productive things to do whenever you have free time at work is to update your resume. You never know when an opportunity knocks on your door, so you should be prepared.
It is also an opportunity for you to evaluate your skills and experiences that you’ve gathered over time. Updating your resume will also reflect your strengths and weaknesses and how you can work on them.
This might take some time but it will give you useful insights to reflect on your career and what career choices you should look into. This practice can come in handy when there is an internal promotion in line. Your chances of success can increase if your resume is up to date because that way you don’t have to frantically update it when the opportunity surfaces.
13. Take up some new responsibilities
Discovering you have free time on your hands at work is an opportunity to pick up some responsibilities beyond your basic job requirement. Take a look around you and you might find a colleague who needs help or a new intern who can benefit from your expertise.
Taking up some new roles that’ll break the monotony of your routine will be a productive thing to do that would also be beneficial to others.
This might mean stepping out of your comfort zone, without overstepping someone else’s boundary, and choosing to do this would add more value to your career development and bring better opportunities along the way.
14. Maintain a journal
This is next on our list of productive things to do when bored is keeping a journal. This is an important way to gather your thought, reflect on yourself, document your achievements, and prepare in advance. Pen down your thoughts and ideas whenever you have some time to spare. This not only helps you in staying productive but also makes it easy for you to comprehend your musings.
It is important to take out some time during your schedule and write it all down. It’ll take about 10 to 15 minutes and will be extremely useful. It’s a great productive thing to do to indulge in self-reflection and safe venting. Your journal is like your best friend, but without the trust issues. Furthermore, there is concrete evidence to support the notion that writing down your emotions and thoughts have a positive impact on your mental health.
You don’t have to walk around with all the anxiety and stress of keeping things inside. Pour it all out and see how your productivity improves.
15. Go for a stroll
If you’re a workaholic and spend most of the time at a desk, your health could be at a risk.
Sitting at your desk for long hours without taking a break to move around could have a negative impact on your productivity, studies show that walking has a direct relationship with your creativity levels. People who sit for long hours at work are at a higher risk of contracting multiple ailments.
Squeezing in a strenuous workout routine during your schedule can be tough but very rewarding. Choosing to engage yourself in active exercises for a little bit each day can work wonders for you. Take a small break at intervals to go for a small stroll around the office even if its short distances. You don’t have to take longer breaks to let it work its magic. To improve your productivity and creativity at work, try to move around more often.
16. Organize your computer
If you are like a whole lot of people then you are bound to have stored up a lot of files that you probably do not need anymore and taking out time to decongest your computer is a very productive activity to add to your list.
The digital hoarder inside you might get a panic attack from just thinking about this but you need to get rid of all those extra files you’ve been holding on to. It is also an opportunity to organize your folders into smaller and easily identifiable information. Categorize all the files according to their type and group them in related folders to make fetching them in the future a whole lot easier.
Another productive thing to try out when bored is giving your keyboard a quick clean-up, it is buddies with your fingers and deserves all the TLC it can get.
17. Track your progress
If you have the opportunity, sit down at a quiet place and track your progress. Now is the perfect time to embrace what you’ve been doing and contemplate on your decisions.
This will help you analyze your goals better and set your priorities straight. It is a great way to highlight your achievements both small and great ones and give yourself a well-deserved thank-you hug to boost your morale. With all your achievements right in front of you, you will likely be motivated to work on your goals even better.
Plan, prioritize, and then act. Also, if you’ve been thinking about measuring your success and what better decisions you need to take, start with this step right now.
18. Set your goals for next year
This is closely linked with the previous productive thing on our list, tracking your progress paves way for future goals.
It allows you to reflect on your previous goals and set new ones for the future. Possibly the best time to practice this productive thing is at the end of the year.
To be more specific, break down your larger goals into smaller ones to make them more achievable. You can set them up on SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) metrics. These carefully thought-out goals will give you a laser focus on what exactly you want to achieve. Setting your goals also takes into account the time factor. With everything set out in front of you, you only need to take action.
Learn how to set your goals in this blog:
19. Eliminate distractions
Distractions are everywhere around you. They are also the worst enemy of productivity. Whether its social media, unnecessary emails, or calls, they can turn out to be your productivity killers if not addressed rightly.
They can also mentally and physically exhaust you, thus taking a toll on your mental health too. To improve your focus and give all your energies to your tasks, you need to eliminate distractions around you. Firstly, try to identify what is distracting you from your standard work routine and is slowing down your productivity. Jot these things down and analyze how much time you use on each one of them.
This will give you a fair analysis of probable distractions and what you need to do to remove them. Another important thing to note here is that a plethora of unnecessary distractions keep our minds occupied. They take up our mental energies, which otherwise could be spent on other productive things.
Check out the best apps to keep you focused:
20. Work on your physical and mental health
This can never be overemphasized; your mental health is so important that it has a direct connection to your physical health and how productive you can be on whatever thing you set to do.
Boredom is another cause of depression and anxiety. Doing nothing results in losing energy and motivation to achieve your short term and long-term goals, and carrying out some physical activities is a great way to regain your energy and get back to your work.
You can try out walking, jogging, swimming, biking, and several other exercises that will make you physically active. You can also try out meditation and other relaxing practices like yoga to improve your mental health and help you relax. Mental exercises help you focus on your work with a positive attitude. This way, you can get productive in your job and at the same time eliminate boredom.
21. Make your grocery list in advance
Still don’t know productive things to do when bored? Creating a grocery list in advance so that you won’t miss out on a thing next time you go shopping is definitely a way to kill the boredom.
Planning your grocery shopping in advance can help you make sure you get the things that you need and eliminate those expenditures that don’t have much utility. Doing this will ensure that your time will be well utilized and you will not worry about forgetting important grocery items every time.
You can use a list-making app like nTask, to help you store your grocery list for FREE.
nTask is one of the perfect best to-do list apps:
Use it for personal or team productivity. nTask is free and includes unlimited tasks and checklists.
22. Write thank you emails
This is definitely an activity that is going out of fashion due to extra busy schedules but goes a long way in bringing a smile to someone’s face and ensuring you are always remembered in your network. Saying ‘thank you’ to the people who matter to you is necessary to live a happy life.
Take out time on your list of productive things to do to think about the people who have given you the courage to be at the place you are right now. It could be your colleagues, teachers, managers, bosses, friends, or family members.
You can either send them handwritten thank you cards or a nicely crafted email. Sending a message on their social media accounts will also suffice. This will help you the same as networking in events for your career and personal growth.
Take a moment to tell them that you love them all and also when finishing up on an important project or when you have achieved a big milestone, remember to thank the people who helped you out in life.
Want to try other platforms than sending an email? Check this out:
23. Help out your friends
The best friends are those who are always there to help. It is always nice to reach out and help your friends. You can always catch up on what they are up to and ask if they need any kind of help. It doesn’t have to be something grand or elaborative, you can help your friend to find the car they want to buy or help in searching for a job for an unemployed friend.
Sometimes it is the small actions that matter the most in lasting friendships. This will make your day more awesome and make you feel good.
24. Watch Motivational Videos
Watching motivational videos is an important investment in your personal and professional development and is another productive thing to do when bored.
If you want to watch a mix of different motivational speakers from around the world, then you subscribe to join the TEDx Talks channel.
Check this out:
25. Start your personal blog
This can be fun and enlightening. It is an awesome way to add your voice to the world and interact with as many people that would subscribe to your blog. This will also help in your career and be a fruitful addition to your resume.
Starting your personal blog is a sure way to build upon your confidence and help you identify the areas in your choice of blogging topic that you need to brush upon. You should become a voice in the niche in which you have some knowledge and possess expertise. If you are a student you can start a blog where you give tips to other students on how to improve their study life or a stay at home mom, you can help other moms with food recipes and home hacks.
The best option for you is to buy a domain and host it on WordPress, Wix, or Weebly. Moreover, if you even have zero knowledge about website creation, you can join free blogging and microsites like, Medium, Tumblr, or LinkedIn Publisher.
26. Join Product Hunt
If you are a tech enthusiast and always looking for new software, mobile applications, and tech gadgets that will help you in both personal and professional life, then you should join Product Hunt. This platform curates the best new product in the market every day. You can search, collaborate, ask questions, and get feedback on the latest products.
Product Hunt has around a million subscribers that talk about tech products and share their knowledge with the community. So, as the next item on your productivity list, log in to this amazing platform to learn about new stuff that is trending. You can also upvote your favorite apps listed on Product Hunt and give useful suggestions.
27. Cook something new
Learning to cook something new is another exciting item that should be on your productivity list. Now is the time to try out the cuisines you loved in that MasterChef series.
You do not need to impress the MasterChef judges, just your family and loved ones are enough to try something new with. You can simply search on the internet for new recipes and try them out yourself to spend your time more productively.
You can share your experience of trying out a new recipe by sharing it on social media.
28. Leave online reviews for products you love
Leaving positive reviews for the products, services, events, or places you love is a great way of encouraging those who made them available.
It could be anything, a t-shirt you recently ordered from an e-commerce store or software you use to manage your work online.
Take out time to write some good and honest reviews for the products you love as a token of appreciation and an opportunity for them to make improvements to their products.
What would you recommend for things to do when bored? Do you have any favorite productive things you do in your free time at work? Share your advice in the comments below.
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