Productive things to do when bored at work

  • February 23, 2021
  • by Ola Rybacka
  • No comments

Let’s face it – doing the same thing for a few hours straight can be bored even if we find it satisfying. The brain needs some rest, especially if the performed tasks are highly engaging. Of course, the easiest way to relax would be checking out social media or a short nap if favorable conditions. However, rest doesn’t mean just messing around; there are many productive things to do and have fun! Let me introduce you to some easy ways to entertain yourself when getting bored.

Why are we getting bored?

According to Lexico, boredom is:

Feeling weary and impatient because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity.

Remember how many times you felt that way? No matter if you’re at home, after hours, or at work, doing the same thing or anything for a long time makes us totally fed up.

Most of us don’t complain about having too much free time and wish to be blessed with at least one hour of not doing anything a day. Then the vacation comes, and we’re taking few days off to get rest. And we often experience quite a strange feeling – however, coming back to work seems to be somewhat scary; we really would love to do something productive than just lying flat on the beach.

Why do we need to keep our minds occupied all the time?

The answer comes straight from our ancestors’ lifestyle years ago. They’re highly focused on survival-related things to do, like ensuring food or defending the tribe from the wild nature around them. Things we now do in a minute took them so long. The effect was their brains were still busy and wide awake, working in high gear.

The natural heritage of such an attitude is now a continuing need to keep ourselves occupied. Fine, we can blame our ancestors now – shame they’re unable to organize our time when boredom strikes back. Fortunately, there are many ways to fulfill the time when we lose interest! Of course, we can read a book or listen to music, but sometimes we feel like we want to do something new and exciting.

Productive things to do when bored (easy and exciting!)

No matter if you work in the office or straight from home, these simple activities ensure you a great time when feeling bored! Some of them are productive things to do online, but I also encourage you to leave the computer aside and stretch up your mind with offline tasks.

Update your resume

Even if you’re not going to change the work or you’re fully booked with the freelance assignments, there’s always a good time for updating your CV and resume. Try to remind yourself if there are any new skills you’ve recently learned, courses you’ve attended, or languages you’ve improved in? Or maybe you leveled up in things you’ve already know, and it would be nice to boast about it?

First, make a list of your achievements, check which you can include, and then add them to your CV. It will also help you point out the skills you need to practice or learn if you don’t already have them.

Learn a new skill

Who doesn’t say you can’t challenge yourself a bit during the break? I bet there are some new things you always wished to learn but haven’t devoted a special timespan for it yet. That’s trying something new is one of the best ways to entertain us when boredom intensifies.

Try browsing the wide range of online courses that you can do step by step when having a moment. You can get a free pass on websites like Udemy or Coursera. It shouldn’t be something from your area of work interest, you can also learn a new language. A superb activity: it only helps us get out of boredom and affects our personal development and mental health in a helluva good way!

hi in various languages

Polish skills you’ve already know

If you’re not eager to start something new, focus on the existing abilities. We live and learn, so there’s always enough time to become better. You can use the websites I mentioned above – they’re offering a wide range of different courses, so you’ll definitely find one that meets your needs.

If your break isn’t long enough to handle a course lesson, try reading blogs from your niche or books – they’re always full of useful tips from specialists. Based on my own experience, I can tell it’s a great way to let my mind rest when I’m bored. What is more, practice makes the master!

Plan your dream vacation

Thinking about days off should be one of the most effective activities to get us out of boredom. Even if we don’t have any expectations or specific plans or places we’d like to visit go beyond our money abilities, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming.

Browsing the photos of your favorite destinations should energize and get us into a happy mood a bit. What is more, the task itself is really creative – planning sightseeing routes, writing down things we’d love to eat, activities to perform during vacation stimulates the imagination and makes us forget about being bored. Wish you all fulfill these plans and have fun!

Watch something behind your favorite genres

We used to be quite picky when choosing what to watch. Usually, having a few favorite series, we repeat one episode after another all the time. Although we still find them rather enjoyable, trying others from time to time can turn into an even more exciting experience.

Have you ever thought you can watch a documentary voluntarily? Youtube and Netflix are full of these, and they’re covering various subjects, from social affairs and history cases, through medical issues to detective ones. If you not sure the one you find is for you, read the reviews. I highly recommend watching “Toys that made us” on Netflix, covering a story of the most famous playful items that many of us had as kids or still enjoy owning. It’s not only one of the most entertaining, productive things to do, but also a real childhood journey!

But if you’re not a fan of documentaries and prefer to watch people speaking about their areas of knowledge, visiting the Ted Talks channel on Youtube will also be a nice idea.

movie and popcorn

Make a list

Short, but intense tasks are perfect for killing boredom. When feeling tired of what you’re doing at the particular moment, leave it and prepare a piece of paper and a pen or your favorite to-do list mobile app. Create a shopping list, plan the meals for a week ahead or make a family housework schedule.

You can also write down all the goals for a specific period of time and then track them. Engaging the brain in the new task should be a nice refresh, especially if you do the same things at work every day. Who knows, maybe you’ll turn it into your break routine?

Cook something

Working at home (like many of us do these days) creates many opportunities to entertain yourself when bored. Here’s my favorite one: cooking! When boredom intensifies, and I feel writer’s block, I just shut the computer and go to the kitchen to prepare a solid, healthy meal. I find each cooking-related activity rather exciting – from creating a recipe (or using the one I found on culinary blogs) through chopping, mixing, and seasoning to serving. Plus, after all the ingredients are put together, eating a homemade dish is a real treat!

If you doubt your cooking abilities, don’t worry – you don’t have to prepare something complicated like a full course. Sometimes it’s all about changing the environment (leaving the desk and going to the kitchen), let the brain rest a little bit. Additionally, the effect of such activity may be quite surprising and you’ll get better!

man cooking

Go for a walk

Being bored also correlates with the loss of interest in things we’re doing at a particular moment. No matter if it’s a painstaking process of filling the documents at work watching another episode of your favorite series at home, we can find even the usually entertaining activities boring. That’s why instead of bothering yourself with it, go outside to refresh the brain. Even pointless wandering is way more productive than just staring at the screen and checking social media updates.

Next time you’ll feel bored, consider choosing one of the activities from above. As you can see, they’re not such rocket science, and you don’t need any additional equipment to perform them.

Do you have your own list of productive things to do on the computer or offline when boredom intensifies? Feel free to share it in the comments section!

Ola Rybacka

Community Manager at TimeCamp, Ph.D., and speech therapy student, full-time otaku. よろしくお願いします!

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