It's a fact of life that when we get a little bit of downtime, sometimes we struggle to know what to do with it. The books on our nightstand don't seem interesting, nothing looks good on Netflix, and we've already called all of our friends to catch up. What's left to do?
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make those moments of respite more meaningful, more productive, or at the very least, more fun. To encourage you to say bye to your boredom, we've come up with a list of 97 things you can do when you're bored.
Pick an Area of Your Home to Organize
Whether you're looking to take on a huge organizational project like your closet or something smaller and more manageable like your underwear drawer, your pantry, or that crowded bookshelf, you'll feel amazing when your home is neat and tidy. Before you throw clothes or old furniture out, check and see if anything can be donated to a worthy cause.
A few deep breaths and several rounds of sun salutations are an awesome way to distract your mind from boredom. Roll out your yoga mat and do some stretches at home, or just sit and practice deep breathing.
For a great stretch, try yin yoga and for something more athletic, look for a free power yoga class online.
Unsubscribe From Emails
How do our inboxes get so big? Unsubscribe from all of your spam emails in just a few clicks by visiting Unroll.me and finally achieve inbox zero.
Make Sure You're Registered to Vote
Save yourself the headache later by heading to vote.org to make sure you're set for the polls. If you've moved lately or are no longer registered, you can register online. You can also sign up for election reminders so you'll never miss a primary.
Practice Your Latte Skills
Finally put that milk frother you got for Christmas a few years ago to use. Whip up some milk of your choosing (regular, skim, oat, almond, whatever!) and try to emulate the latte art of your favorite barista.
Strengthen Your Brain
Whether you grab a crossword, a Sudoku book, or just plan on practicing your general knowledge for the next trivia night, taking a few minutes for brain games will do your whole body good. For a group activity, get your trivia team together to practice in person or over Zoom, so you'll feel confident next round.
Change Up Your Décor
And you don't even have to spend a dime, we promise. Restyle your coffee table, move the pillows on your couch to your bedroom, and swap your dining chairs with your kitchen chairs. See? Whole new aesthetic.
Work Your Way Through a Cookbook
Just like regular books, we sometimes gather cookbooks that do nothing but collect dust on our shelves. End the cycle today by cooking your way through one à la Julie & Julia. If you're not ready to take on Mastering The Art of French Cooking, start small with a more millennial-friendly pick.
Update Your Résumé
Even if you’re not in the market for a new job, make sure it’s up to date. Add in some recent accomplishments and update your personal website with new information. Remember that future employers love to see tangible numbers — think about how you've impacted your company's success and translate that info to your résumé or cover letters.
Try Your Hand at Painting
We promise it's fun. Find a paint-by-numbers print you like or just grab a canvas and some fun colors (abstract is always in). When you’re finished, you'll have instant statement-making art for your walls.
We're guessing that you might be a little tense if you're working from a desk all day. Try a few easy stretches like downward dog and some simple supine twists to give your muscles some relief. Bonus points if they target your lower back.
Take a Bath
But make it a ritual. Light some candles, turn on your favorite music, and use your fanciest products (like that bath bomb you've been meaning to try). Hey, you could even pour yourself a glass of wine, we're not judging.
Recreate Your Favorite Restaurant Meal
Sure, you could always order takeout, but isn't it more satisfying to make something yourself? If you've found yourself craving your favorite steak frites from that fancy French place downtown, try to find a recipe to make it online. You might surprise yourself (and come up with your new dinner party menu).
Pickle Some Vegetables
No, you don't have to have a lot of tools to make your own pickles (or pickled red onions or any pickled vegetable really). All you need is a container, some vegetables, vinegar, salt, sugar and, if you want, some spices. Throw your pickled veggies on salads, in ramen, or just enjoy them as a snack.
Research Places to Volunteer
The next time you start to feel bored, give back to the community with your time and energy. If you'd rather volunteer virtually, visit Catchafire.org to find a project that you can help with from the comfort of home. Whether you're skilled in web design or research, you can be matched up to a non-profit in need of pro bono work.
Paint an Accent Wall
Or the kitchen cabinets. Or the back of your bookshelf. Whatever paint project you've been putting off, now is the time to tackle it.
Actually Read the Books You Were Assigned in High School
Whether you were a SparkNotes devotee or just didn't get a chance to read everything you wanted to, it's time to revisit some of those classics. You may find them more interesting now that you're older.
Plan a Party
Life is too short not to plan parties, even if they are months away from happening. Can't think of a good reason to throw one? Some of our favorites include celebrating a great new cocktail recipe, a promotion, or just because your apartment is clean and you want to show it off.
Put Together a Care Package
If you know a friend is going through a rough time (like a breakup or tough month at work), put together a few of their favorite things and leave it on their doorstep. We love to include a luxurious candle, some homemade baked goods, and a magazine or two.
Start a Garden
Even if you don’t have any outdoor space, plant some herbs or succulents on your window sill. You'll save some money when a recipe calls for fresh herbs, plus your home will smell great.
Write in Your Journal
Write down what’s going on in your life and how you’re feeling at this moment. List five things you're grateful for each day. Studies have shown that this practice reduces mental distress and anxiety, and can lead you to feel more resilient and social.
Start Learning a New Language
Yes, you can. Buy an introductory textbook and get started by reviewing a chapter per day. Or download an app like Duolingo that will remind you to practice.
Call a Relative and Get an Old Family Recipe to Try
In my family, we have an absolutely killer party mix recipe. Each family member puts their own spin on it, but it's a great recipe to know in a pinch to take to a dinner party or get together. Play around and see how you can make a timeless recipe your own.
Create a Home Office
Whether you have a room to yourself or your only extra space is in a spare closet, you can transform that space into a work station. Invest in a great desk, drawer organizers and plenty of artwork to create the office of your WFH dreams.
Read a Book That's Been Sitting On Your Shelves
If you're in the habit of buying the entire New York Times bestseller list, but never read them, you're not alone. Grab a book from your shelf and read the first chapter. Or start that classic—The Great Gatsby, Pride and Prejudice, or The Catcher in the Rye—you’ve been meaning to read forever.
Plan Your Next Trip
Itching to travel? Now's the time to do the research. No matter where you'd like to travel, spend some time looking up the best hotels, activities, and restaurants in the area.
Look Up the Best Restaurants in Your Neighborhood
We know you've been meaning to check out that new spot you pass on the way to work every day, but we're betting there are some other fantastic restaurants you've yet to try in your area. Make a list of the ones you'd like to hit and start crossing them off.
Meal Plan For the Week
If you've got the time, you might as well make your life easier. Research easy recipes to make this week and your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and leftovers are covered. Plus you'll save a little dough by eating in.
Become a Plant Parent
Add some greenery to your home with an easy-to-care for plant for beginners. We recommend snake plants, succulents, or ZZ plants for those without green thumbs.
Hang a Gallery Wall
We love leaning art as much as the next person, but there's something super satisfying about well-organized hanging art. Mix and match frames, prints, and colors for a one-of-a-kind statement that feels like you.
Perfect Your Go-To Cocktail
Research how to make your preferred drink, get the ingredients, and make it at home. Don't forget to add the garnishes like a lemon twist or three olives. Serve them at your next dinner party.
Make the Perfect Cheeseboard
A crowd favorite, making an incredible cheeseboard takes patience and practice. First, mix flavors and textures (like brie, gruyere, and bleu), then add some cured meats, a touch of produce, then nuts, seeds, and crackers, and finish it off with dips and fresh herbs.
Go Thrift Shopping or Antiquing
Take advantage of cool vintage stores in your area for one-of-a-kind goods and statement-making pieces. Look for handmade rugs, unique tchotchkes, and art. Be sure to examine each item carefully for damage before purchasing.
Plan Your Next Date
Whether you're looking forward to hanging with friends or want to surprise your significant other with a romantic night out, start planning a fun excursion. Grab reservations for that trendy restaurant or create a menu to host a nice dinner in.
Clean One Thing
You don't have to tackle the whole house. Just one part of it! Finally tackle your oven, dust your ceiling fans, or give your shower head a quick rinse. You'll feel better knowing that your home is squeaky clean.
This boho-chic trend is sticking around for awhile. The cornerstone of any bohemian residence is plenty of texture. Try your hand at macramé and create one-of-a-kind wall hangings for your space.
Cook For a Loved One
Surprise your significant other with a special homemade dinner, or call up your cousin and invite her over for fried chicken tenders. Head to the grocery store and get the ingredients; then start cooking. Use the good china!
Smyth JM, Johnson JA, Auer BJ, Lehman E, Talamo G, Sciamanna CN. Online Positive Affect Journaling in the Improvement of Mental Distress and Well-Being in General Medical Patients With Elevated Anxiety Symptoms: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Ment Health. 2018;5(4):e11290. doi:10.2196/11290