15 productive things to do when you’re bored
April 26, 2021
For many people, the pandemic period has left more free time than ever. Concurrently, came a chance to do things for which we lacked time for, but which we wanted or enjoyed doing. In circumstances when it is harder to mobilise ourselves for work and other activities it is important to stay creative and do something that matters to us.
If you’re not sure what to get involved in to make the most of your time, this article will hopefully point you in the direction to become more productive. Being creative is the best way to increase your efficiency and deal with the boredom that may have crept into your life. Creative activity should inspire you to improve and change your lifestyle, eliminate mental inactivity and make your professional career more enjoyable.
Boredom comes from a lack of dopamine or a “reward molecule” in the brain. When it receives too little dopamine, you feel less excited and happy. Boredom is also beneficial – it can stimulate productivity and creativity. It becomes a space where the magic begins.
15 productive things to do and learn
Research has shown that even a short break from work and related activities adds energy and improves mental sharpness. Distancing ourselves from our tasks, we come back recharged, enthusiastic and more productive. That is the time to be active and look for productive things to do. One of the best ways to wake yourself up physically and improve your time management is to switch to a learning mode. We’ve compiled a list of 15 productive things to do or learn that you must try if you have hit a creative plateau or are simply bored.
1. Plan a daily walk in the fresh air
Inactivity causes loss of energy and motivation needed to achieve your goals. Research shows that long hours of sitting still can have a negative impact on productivity. Performing physical activities breaks the monotony and gives an energy boost. And most of all, it contributes to one’s fitness. So come on, run, swim, cycle to become more active.
Walking on its own requires little commitment, but it improves your performance and keeps you mentally energised. Surveys also show that walking is directly related to the level of creativity. Daily walks, air and sun are invaluable to your physical and mental health.
Moreover, exercising outdoors, in the bosom of nature, makes us happier. They help strengthen the immune system, reduce anxiety and improve sports performance. However, it’s crucial to remember that the key to practical training is routine. And while following an exercise plan may seem boring, it’s incredibly rewarding in the end.
2. Meditate and clear your mind
Yoga and meditation work as mental exercises that help you relax, improve concentration and achieve peace of mind in times of uncertainty. Meditation is one of the best things to significantly enhance your well-being.
You can use various applications at home, such as Headspace or Calm, where you can also find unique programs to calm down before bedtime, clear the mind or relieve stress. Find a quiet place, light candles and turn on soft music for meditation. It works!
3. Unsubscribe from unnecessary newsletters
Distraction is productivity’s worst enemy. Distracting factors can be social media, unnecessary emails and phone calls. They can also exhaust you mentally and physically if not appropriately handled.
Try to identify what distracts you from standard tasks at work and slows down your productivity. Write them down and analyse how much time you spend on each of them. Moreover, tons of unnecessary distractions keep our minds busy while we could use them for productive things.
4. Update your CV
The pandemic can take a long time, and work environments can change, so our skills must match changing needs. Therefore, it is worth working on your opportunities and professional competencies that your current or future employer can offer.
Updating your resume is one of the most productive things you can do. You never know when a chance will be knocking at your door, so can’t hurt to be prepared. It’s also an opportunity to evaluate your skills, experiences, strengths and weaknesses that you’ve accumulated throughout life. It may take some time but will certainly bring valuable insights for reflection on your career and career choices. They are worth taking a look at, especially when you have the chance to contribute to your personal growth.
5. Learn a new skill with an online course
A career involves acquiring knowledge and skills in your field, but somewhere between working hours, eating time and eight hours of sleep, you find that you lack the time to learn extra skills. Your spare time could be filled by practicing an old one or learning another one. It could be something in your field, such as learning about the latest trends in project management or customer relations, or software development. These activities can help you advance your career in the long term.
However, the most vital thing will be to master a skill unrelated to your field because it creates new neural pathways, strengthens existing neural pathways, making the brain more “elastic”. It is worth learning the art of presentation, public speaking, learning graphic design, a new programming language and so forth.
Learning skills may also include mastering a foreign language, chess or playing an instrument. In the era of the pandemic, online learning has become more popular than ever. Such platforms include, for example, Coursera, which organises online courses run by universities and research institutes around the world.
6. Paint a picture
Arts and crafts are a great way to express yourself and look at ordinary things from a different perspective and channel your inner creativity. In addition to learning to play an instrument, you can also sing or paint. You can easily get art supplies in art shops – stationary or online.
To practice, you can start with simple drawings in a sketchbook, then buy brushes and paints (e.g. acrylics) and paint something on the canvas. You can also paint your first pictures following a scheme of connecting the dots and colouring the fields according to the attached instructions. You would be surprised by the result!
However, if painting is not your cup of tea, then try to learn to knit, embroider, make your own candle, stained glass or jewellery. To do this, browse websites that offer starter kits and ideas for arts and crafts.
7. Discover a new music style
In an office environment, you may or may not be listening to music from radio channels. When working from home the choice concerning music is entirely up to you. So you can listen to music from your favourite genres or something completely new and potentially undiscovered.
Find a list of the best albums of a given genre, listen to them all, or browse the list of the top 500 albums of all time. It is worth saving the songs you have heard and creating your ranking. Track and album ratings can even be kept on a spreadsheet or shared on social media, or you could create your own Spotify playlists.
8. Read non-fiction
Immersing yourself in reading and focusing entirely on the book’s content, its characters and plot is the simplest and, at the same time, the best activity to stimulate productivity. Books train the brain, increase vocabulary, reduce stress and stimulate the imagination.
Reach for a book or series you have put off for later, or check out book portals and discover brand new ones. Get in the habit of reading a little bit every day. Whether you prefer fiction or nonfiction, research from Emory University has shown that reading the latter can help your brain function better and improve its connectivity.
9. Solve puzzles
Another study suggests that people who engage their brain in reading, chess, or various kinds of games are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who don’t. Brain training can take multiple forms: solving puzzles, such as Sudoku, an ordinary crossword puzzle or arranging puzzles. It brings several benefits: better memory, higher problem-solving skills and increased IQ, etc.
Number of games that stimulate the brain can be found, for example, in the App Store/Play Store on a mobile phone. More significant mobilisation for this type of training is achieved through setting time limits and then striving to complete a given activity within a designated time.
Another idea to train your mind is to remember the periodic table of the elements, for example. This tabular representation of chemical elements by atomic number, electron configuration and repeating chemical properties is an exciting form of productivity exercise.
10. Keep a diary or blog
The way to refresh your creativity is to document your ideas, thoughts, achievements and dreams. A diary may turn out to be your best friend, a place for self-reflection and discharge of emotions. Keeping track of your reflections and actions is always a good idea and it adds to your productivity.
There is an opportunity to look back at a particular time and reflect upon memories about the past day or week. Such a diary can be written on a private computer, smartphone or notebook. Writing it once a day can take up to 15 minutes. Consider taking it a step further and starting a personal blog that takes over these daily experiences and turns them into weekly or monthly posts. It’s a great way to add your voice to the world and interact with people who can read it and leave comments.
A blog is also a way to build self-confidence and define your skills or passions. When choosing its topic or profile, it is worth finding a niche with some knowledge or experience. A blog can also benefit your career and even improve your resume.
11. Give special thanks to people to whom you owe something
In your productive to-do list, leave some space to people who are important to you, who have helped you in your life, or encouraged you to be who you are. They can be your colleagues, teachers, managers, bosses, friends. Use the time to talk to family and relatives and even research information about other family members. You can send them handwritten thank you cards or nicely composed emails.
It’s an activity that is considered a bit outdated but has a significant impact on making someone smile and will ensure that you are remembered. It helps just as much as professional networking and personal development events. Saying “thank you” to those who are important to you is essential to living a happy life.
12. Sign up for volunteering
Helping those in need is always productive. Join a local shelter or volunteer group to spread goodwill. Even small actions can have a massive impact on someone’s life, and the bonus is your wellness component.
Volunteering has been shown to help treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, anger and depression. It can become the most productive and rewarding path in your life. Of course, with the current restrictions, it is not always possible to come into contact with people and you may get the impression that you have limited possibilities. However, this does not mean that there are no volunteer opportunities available.
13. Plant flowers or try DIY
The more time you spend at home, the more you realise how much there is to do. It is the perfect time and space to be productive and do activities that you had no heart for. Home redesigning, gardening, fence painting and any other work around the house can be done on a casual basis when you feel like it.
If gardening in your spare time sounds tempting, take it a step further and start a do-it-yourself project. Repairs or learning how to fix something can be very rewarding. It’s worth enrolling in a DIY course to tackle even larger projects around your home. You can also learn to cook something original and share this experience, e.g. on social networks. A culinary, DIY or gardening blog is a great medium to tell about your activities.
14. Create your vision board
A vision board (or a dream board) is a collage of images, words and affirmations. According to a survey of more than 1,100 people and 500 small business owners, people who created these boards displayed twice as much confidence and courage than those who did not. These people feel more motivated and ready to face the world.
Sit down with a pen and paper (or broaden your vision), answering the following questions: What have I always wanted to try? What would I like to know more about? Is there a skill I’ve always wanted to learn? Make an exhaustive list of visions, big and small, and then start completing it.
15. Get organised with the productivity tracking app
Productivity applications are beginning to play a significant role in task management both in the workplace and personal life. Organise to-do lists, events, meetings, schedules, etc. They also help you keep track of your progress on almost anything you want to monitor. Moreover, they often include reminders and helpful tips. Thanks to them, you can get better at analysing your goals, clearly define and emphasise your achievements. Having them all on your schedule will likely teach you to stick to your goals, make better decisions and ultimately be more productive.
Any application of this type comes to your mind? You can use our suggestion: TimesheetKiller is the perfect example of an app doing everything mentioned above. What’s more, it’s fully automated, so after completing the initial settings, your work reports are created without your participation. Thanks to this, you will gain knowledge about how much time you spend on individual tasks and be able to organize your work better.
Looking for productive things to do is just the first step. Aside from trying the new activities, perhaps the most critical is to stick to your routine and develop habits that will allow you to continue working and stay productive. Plan ahead and create your horizon every day. Sometimes planning seems to kill creativity and inspiration. Still, it also allows you to get a wider view of anything that needs your attention, as well as identify your productive hours. This is one way to achieve success.