81 Things to Do When You’re Bored But Still Want to Be Productive
Sitting stuck at home can suck.
Whether you’re practicing social distancing or stuck in isolation, there’s something weird about not being able to go anywhere that can make you go stir crazy – even if you’re typically an introvert or homebody (like me).
I know a lot of us are wondering how to best use this time to work on our goals, or are worried that after a few weeks on the couch it’s all going to go to pot.
And when it seems like the whole world is out of order, it can be very tempting to just give up and say, “I’ll try again when things are back to normal”.
I don’t want that to be you.
81 Things to Do When You’re Bored But Still Want to Be Productive
If you’re bored, being stuck at home can be an excellent opportunity to recharge, revisit your goals, and reconnect with who you are and where you’re going. Not to mention catch up on some backed-up work or start a new project! If you still want to be productive, you can be!
I had so many ideas about what to do with myself while I’m stuck at home (we have three weeks off of school for the kids, plus a 14-day household quarantine when a family member returns from travel) that I decided to share them here to give you a jolt.
If nothing else, use this list as a starting point to brainstorm your own list!
I’ve divided it into categories to make browsing easier, and enabled comments for this post so you can leave your own thoughts below!
Sometimes just doing something productive can help keep our minds off of things and keep us off the couch. Here’s 10 productive things you can do when you’re stuck at home, besides just melting into a couch puddle:
1. If you don’t use a planner, now’s a great time to start one. Set one up with your long and short term goals
2. Make a list of all the things you’ve been putting off around the house – minor repairs, forgotten closets, storage problems. Work your way through the list.
3. Work your way through that pile of books you’ve been meaning to read.
4. Set yourself up for success with a habit tracker for anything you want to keep an eye on – goal work, hydration or exercise tracker, even your sleep pattern. Analyzing these can help you make connections between what you do and how you feel.
5. Undertake an organizing project to free up some space in your home or make things easier to find. Stick to it
6. Try a new skill to keep your hands busy, like papier mache or sewing. No one has to see those early attempts 😉
7. Look up detailed instructions on how to properly care for your dying houseplants and pamper them
8. If you’ve ever wanted to start a blog, now is definitely a great time for that!
9. Start or participate in a social media challenge.
10. Plan your meals out in advance. Even better, do as much prep work ahead of time as you can, or make entire meals to freeze for busy times.
Being stuck at home in isolation can be the perfect time to undertake an organizing project! And what better way to make your life easier to run once everything’s back to normal?
1. Organize your laptop & phone – delete unwanted apps, programs, files, bookmarks, and streamline your devices
2. Clean out your closet and donate unwanted clothes – many shelters will be looking for donations at this time
3. Take everything out of your kitchen cupboards – declutter, then wipe the insides of those cupboards down. I don’t know about you, but mine don’t get done very often, and it’s a small thing that makes a big difference!
4. Drawers need some TLC? Check out this super cute tutorial for DIY drawer dividers, using materials you likely already have at home
5. Clean out your purse or backpack and look for cute pouches to keep small things together.
6. Wash your bedding and air out your mattress, then tidy up around your bed. Having your go-to-sleep spot be clean and fresh will help you sleep better.
7. Wrap up any spare cords (charging cables, A/V lines, etc) that you don’t currently use daily and tuck them away.
8. Take on a big “deep clean” project you’ve been putting off – the oven and the shower grout are both places I procrastinate!
9. Now is a great time to start getting ready for spring. Clean your winter shoes and tuck away your heavy coats, scarves, etc (weather permitting, of course!)
10. Pick a room that could use a refresh and completely rearrange it. Move furniture, change out the decor, pull knick-knacks from other areas of the house.
11. Clear out your fridge and freezer and give them a good wipe down. Put everything back in a way that makes sense, with your fresh fruit and vegetables somewhere easily accessible.
12. Go through your stash of makeup, skincare, and toiletries. Get rid of anything that’s old or expired (especially makeup, which can harbor some nasty bacteria). Organize what’s left in a way that allows you to use your favorite pieces every day.
13. Spend a day going through old memories, photo albums, keepsakes. Get rid of anything that makes you unhappy, or makes you think, “Why did I keep this?”
14. Your phone, wallet, keys, headphones – a lot of the items we touch every day are filthy and barely ever get cleaned! Give them a good wipe down with alcohol and let dry.
15. Collections of books, music, movies and shows, and anything else you collect – these areas don’t get picked through critically very often. Look at your collections with fresh eyes and see if you can clear up some space.
It can be easy to feel like you have to give up on your goals when you’re stuck at home. But what better time to sit down and form a truly rock-solid plan for your future?
1. Write your Dream Life Manifesto
2. Sit down and journal about your goals. Write about them as if you’ve already accomplished them, or write about how you’re overcoming obstacles you’re going to face along the way.
3. Come up with a plan for the rest of the year – what can you decide now that will make later easier?
4. Find creators who talk about your goals (fitness, finances… there’s a blog for everything!) and follow them
5. Look up TED talks about your specific goals. Take notes
6. Make a life plan. Where do you want to be in five years? Ten?
7. Have you bought courses or books in the past while related to your goals? Now’s the time to really go through them. I’m devouring everything out of the Ultimate Productivity Bundle while my family is in isolation
8. Write out some daily routines you can incorporate into your life, that will help you work on your goals in small ways frequently.
9. Draw a visual map that shows the journey from where you are to where you want to be. Use this as a tracker for reaching milestones in your goals.
10. Create a vision board, either on Pinterest or in real life. Keep it somewhere it can inspire you
11. Write down a mantra or a series of affirmations to say or write every day. Stick to it and see what happens
12. Actively work on your mindset. Write down some limiting beliefs that you have, and re-write them as affirmations. Correct yourself when you find yourself thinking these beliefs and repeat the revised version instead.
13. If there are steps you can implement right now to work on your goals while you’re stuck at home, commit to doing them. If you have fitness or health goals, don’t let them slack now. Working on creative projects or businesses – no better time than right now!
14. Find an accountability partner in the same situation you are. Make it a date to chat daily or weekly to keep each other motivated and moving forward.
15. Leave notes to your future self in places you can see them periodically. Remind yourself about your why, and include some inspiration.
16. Do you have a vision board? Now’s the perfect time to make one. See how – and why – in Your Guide to Vision Boards.
Physical and Mental Health
Being stuck at home – especially being stuck in isolation – can do a number on your mental and physical health. We’re boredom eating, not moving around, and with no change in scenery it can really be rough on your body and brain. Try some of these below to stay on top of your health during this time:
1. Try meditation or practicing mindfulness. Sit somewhere comfortable and try to let your mind go blank for as long as you can. If that’s not easy for you, look up guided meditations on YouTube for some help.
2. Challenge yourself to learn a new physical skill, like how to do a headstand or the splits. (Work within your fitness level – don’t hurt yourself!). Practice every day until you’ve nailed it
3. Look into bodyweight exercises. Think pushups, planks, squats, even crunches. These no-budget, no-equipment, do-anywhere exercises are some of the most beneficial for your body anyway, and in my opinion they’re super underappreciated.
4. Try not to devolve into eating only junk food or mindless hand-to-mouth eating. Snacking is great! But make sure you’re also giving your body the fuel it needs to protect you. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day.
5. Binge watching Netflix? Make yourself get up and walk around your home for a few minutes between each episode. Fold laundry while you watch. Keep yourself moving even when you’re living your best couch potato life
6. Don’t underestimate the amount of moving you do cleaning! A whole-home deep clean is a huge workout in itself.
7. Throw your windows open, step out on to your balcony if you have one. Don’t underestimate the power of fresh air.
8. Start – or continue – a journaling practice to help keep track of your moods and mental health.
9. Don’t feel pressured to do all the things all the time. For a lot of us, this is the only time we can really expect to be stuck at home with little to do. Incorporate relaxation into your day.
10. Isolation doesn’t have to fully mean isolation. Reach out to people who make you happy. Videochat with friends and family, send a hand-written letter to someone who will appreciate it (this is a very sweet gesture for older generations who may not be as tech-savvy!). Make a phone call.
11. Put on your favorite music from high school, and dance it out. Take breaks for water.
12. Look up recipes for new ways to cook healthy meals, or a fresh spin on an old classic.
13. If you find yourself getting anxious or stressed, take ten deep breaths and release slowly. Pull your attention to something you can control right now, even it’s just washing dishes.
14. Start your morning, and end your night, with some deep stretching.
15. Fight off the same-old slump by making your home feel new in some way – whether it’s rearranging a room or even just lighting a candle in a scent you don’t often try.
Self-care is one of those things that can easily fly by the wayside when you’re spending all day at home. Here’s some thoughts that might help.
1. Use this time to implement and stick to a good skin care routine that works for your needs.
2. Now’s the time to use self-care to keep your spirits high! Paint your nails and toenails a bright, fun color. I’m in love with this Essie shade on Amazon for spring!
3. Keep up a regular sleep schedule. If you’re working from home or on a flexible schedule for the first time, it can be tempting to stay up late and sleep in – but as gratifying as that can be, it won’t help you keep your spirits up for long. Try to keep your sleeping habits as normal as possible
4. Pick up a new hobby you can start for low cost, like teaching yourself to dance with YouTube tutorials. Or get back into an old hobby that you used to love
5. Try a hair mask – if you don’t have one on hand, here are some recipes for DIY yogurt hair masks you can make in your kitchen
6. Set up your perfect morning routine to help start every day motivated and energized
7. Don’t skip breakfast – and don’t replace dinner with empty calorie snacks
8. Try not to let yourself get pulled into the news cycles. Check in once or twice a day to get the updates, then stay away.
9. Look for happiness in small things. Enjoy an excellent cup of coffee, or watch the sun come up. Make a point to fully experience the flavors as you eat. Pay attention to the smell of your shampoo or body wash.
10. Start a watch party with friends and go through all those Disney classics you haven’t seen since you were a kid. Argue about your favorites.
1. Read new books, something you wouldn’t normally pick up.
2. Look for something new to learn online. Try to come up with three interesting facts you can use to start a conversation.
3. Download a puzzle game with challenging puzzles, like crosswords or Sudoku
4. Talk to yourself – practice standing up for yourself or speaking out for something you believe in.
5. Enroll in a free class online – check out Khan Academy for free, online learning.
6. Practice your self-expression by journaling for one entire hour about how you’re feeling. Notice how these emotions manifest as physical sensations in your body
7. Try your hand at creative expression – paint or draw something without worrying about how it looks
8. Find new music that inspires, calms, or energizes you – try listening to something outside your genre, or expand into oldies.
9. Do you know what your calling is in life? Try these journal prompts to find your purpose
10. Start a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be time consuming… just write down 5-10 things you’re grateful for every day.
11. Write out your personal growth plan
12. Use this time to truly reconnect with those closest to you. Have deep conversations, confess something you’ve never told anyone before.
13. Try out an app like Duolingo to teach yourself a second language
14. Write a short story or a poem. If you want to get really brave, write a whole novel!
15. Do you already have your big goals figured out? If not, check out How to Reverse Engineer Any Goal to figure out how to chunk big goals down into manageable tasks!
Things to Do When You’re Bored
Do you have any to add? How are you staying on track while you’re bored?
Looking for some more productivity tips?
Check out our best posts:
- The Productivity Tools I Use Daily
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- 7 Overlooked Productivity Hacks for Working From Home
- Journal Prompts to Find Your Purpose
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