How to Stay Productive: Things to Do When Bored

When you’re bored, thinking about being productive instead of watching Netflix or aimlessly surfing the web can seem unmanageable.

Productivity is not just about completing your important tasks or figuring out your priorities. You can stay productive by spending time on improving your skills, producing something useful, learning new things, etc. – all of that means being productive, even when you are bored.

How to stay productive even when you don’t feel like working? Here are a few productivity tips for when you feel bored at work or finding it hard to focus:

Seven Productive & Fun Things To Do When Bored This Moment

1. Boost Your Memory

Do you struggle to remember names, dates, random facts you like, or even your favorite jokes?

Utilize your downtime to retrain your brain. There are plenty of fantastic memory exercises you can use. National Geographic has a great collection which is technically for kids but I have found it pretty enjoyable too.

While you’re boosting your brain power, you can also start using your very own Kanban board to organize your daily tasks and responsibilities. This will free up your mind to focus on the tasks at hand, and you can always add your fun memory exercises to your to-do list on the board. Better time and task management is always a great way to develop your cognitive skills and problem solving!

Do you need to go more advanced, build a memory palace (read a fascinating article on how to do this here):

How is this productive?

Improving your memory will enhance your ability to learn new information and sharpen your mind. By regularly training your brain, you’ll become more productive. Next time you have to memorize a lot of data at work or at school, it will be much easier and faster for you.

2. Listen to Podcasts

The best podcasts encourage personal growth. Learn about money management, becoming debt free, exciting episodes from history, or lessons about philosophy and time management. Most podcast apps let you download episodes for offline listening, so try creating a backlog of unheard episodes for the next time you’re bored without WiFi.

A few of the highest-rated podcasts out there are:

  • Happier with Gretchen Rubin (iTunes link): The author of The Happiness Project brings her practical, actionable advice about happiness and good habits
  • The School of Greatness (iTunes link) by NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes exploring “what makes the greatest people great”
  • The Tai Lopez Show (iTunes link) brings you the best business education from the world’s top entrepreneurs as well as book reviews for you to continue your education
  • The Chalene Show by a fitness trainer Chalene Johnson offers practical tips on self improvement and getting organized
  • London Real by Brian Rose introduces you to the most fascinating people in the world.

How is this productive?

Inspired people are more productive, as studies show. Inspiration involves approach motivation, in which people strive immediately act on a new idea pr vision.

Getting introduced to new ideas and people’s stories also helps in unplugging and brainstorming new ideas. It’s also a great way to overcome anxiety and free your mind of unwanted thoughts.

3. Learn Something New

Start every day with a new fact. Check out websites that teach new facts and other useful information in easy-to-understand chunks. Wikipedia has a featured article every day that can be sent straight to your inbox. They also have fun games. Now I Know offers fun tidbits in their daily newsletters.

Now I know
Never stop learning!

How is this productive?

The more you know, the more answers you have to any problem you are dealing with. Consequently, the faster you cope with any task or assignment you have in front of you. It’s that easy as that! Learning a new thing a day is the most useful hobby one can think of, especially if you don’t have much time to spare.

4. Practice Speed Reading

Speed reading lets you move through dense text at faster speeds while still understanding and retaining the information.

An online app like Spreeder teaches you to speed read through 15 pages in 15 minutes, which is 300 words per minute. Set aside 15 minutes a day for practice and find yourself speed reading everything in no time.

When you feel bored or unproductive, teach yourself to read faster! It’s a useful skill to help you daily

How is this productive?

Being able to read anything faster than your peers already puts you ahead of a game. Faster reading skill also trains your brain and teaches it to cope with other mental tasks more efficiently.

5. Find a TED Talk

TED Talks are full of information and inspiration, and many are under five minutes. Click their Not sure what to watch? Button to mix things up and find new talks you never thought to look for before. You can also start by checking out the most popular talks of all times. Another free lecture site worth noting is Academic Earth.

How is this productive?

There are TED talks on pretty much any topic to help you find answers to whatever you are struggling with. In most cases the solution is right there. All you need to do is to hear it.

6. Build Your To Be Read (TBR) List

Filling out your To Be Read (TBR) list is a great way to spend time when you’re bored. Use Goodreads to find new books and add them to your virtual TBR list.

Reading is always an excellent way to spend your free time, so make a list of books you’re interested in takes the guesswork out of what to read next.

How is this productive?

Reading is associated with stress reduction and improved focus. However deep reading is also a skill that needs to be practiced. As long as you have a list of books you feel like going through, getting into a habit of regular reading will become more doable. If you feel stuck, there’s always a book waiting for you.

7. Start a Journal

Who else remembers the days of LiveJournal? Introduced in 1999, all of your friends kept their journal public, and everyone binge read their favorite contributors. Things have changed since then, moving from full passages on LiveJournal to 140 characters on Twitter. The mental health benefits of journaling are well-known, but it’s also a great way to create something and feel accomplished.

A fantastic way of using your time productively and helping your mental health is taking a few minutes to journal about anything and everything that interests you. Start a thread on Twitter, go retro with LiveJournal, or start a blog on WordPress.

The moment you learned something new (using the resources above) or feel inspired, write it down.

How is this productive?

There are plenty of mental benefits associated with keeping a journal, from stress reduction and boosting your creativity to memorizing new things better. All of those make you a more productive and a more motivated person.

How to Stay Productive: Things to Do When Bored NOW

  • Improve your memory with memory games or by building a memory castle
  • Listen to motivational and inspiring podcasts
  • Learn a new thing
  • Practice speed reading
  • Listen to a random TED talk
  • Build your to be read (TBR) list
  • Start a journal to keep note of new ideas and new things you’ve learned every day

Boredom is normal: We’ve all been there. It’s how you cope with being bored that makes all the difference. We all need spare time in which we can recharge and forget about getting things done. But it doesn’t mean that we need to stop being productive to enjoy ourselves.

Instead of wasting your time doing nothing, you can work on improving yourself or creating something new. The key is using every minute of your life to accomplish something, even if it’s a relaxing and entertaining exercise.

When you have no energy for organizing you to do list or scheduling your tasks, procrastinate. The important thing is: procrastination shouldn’t necessarily be unproductive. There is a smarter, better way to do nothing, i.e. procrastinate with purpose.

Stick to creative things that help with self-improvement and personal growth. Keep yourself entertained by doing something useful: That’s the best combination out there. Come up with your own productive things to do that will also help you feel good about yourself.

And what are your hacks to staying productive when you are bored? What are your boredom busters? Please share!

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