What productive things can I do when I’m bored?
Sometimes the hardest part is getting started – so, how on earth did our moms get it all done?!
Girl, do I have the motherlode of list for you.
And spoiler alter: this post contains a harsh reality check ahead!
Today, we’ll be covering ideas in:
- research-based bad habits to break – for productivity’s sake
- what are some productive things to do at home?
- productive things to do outside
- productive things to do online and on your phone
Let’s get started with some productivity destroying habits and how to become more aware of your time.
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links and I could earn a small commission if you make a purchase using one. This comes at no additional cost to you and all opinions are based on my experience.
Productive Things to Do at Home (When You’re Bored!)
How can I be more productive at home?
Congratulations! You’re already half way there by wanting to make a change 🙂
The next step is understanding where your time goes and breaking the bad habits that used to eat so much of it up.
We all have the same 24 hour period in a day to get things done but where we spend it can be dramatically different – even productive things to do for yourself will change on a daily basis!
So, if you had one guess, what would you say is your time-wasting kryptonite? Keep reading for a list of five popular time suckers!
Bad Habits to Break – for Productivity’s Sake!
Old habits are hard to break but identifying areas you need to work on will help you be more cognizant of them. To maximize your productivity, consider ditching the following:
You might be thinking…
Is multitasking bad for productivity?
I’m going to answer this from my personal point of view – it’s absolutely horrendous.
Instead of checking off one thing from your to do list, you’ll partially get through each thing and wonder where the heck the time went.
A 2009 Stanford University study found that heavy multitaskers – people who try and manage several tasks at once – are far less mentally organized than those who focus on a single-task and performed worse at:
- sorting relevant information from irrelevant details
- switching from one task to another
Even more frightening is the fact that multi-taskers performed poorly when focusing on just a single task – a finding that suggests high-levels of distractibility and long-term negative impacts.
I love crossing things off my to do list and it gets me pumped up to move onto the next thing – when I used to multi-task, I’d review my to do list and think, “well, I sort of finished that” but I couldn’t cross off that item because it was 100% complete!
Multi-tasking can leave you feeling stuck and prevent you from accomplishing more in your day.
Research shows that it also leads to:
- more mistakes
- lower quality work
- money lost for employers
So, whether it’s cleaning a room in your home or studying, stick to one area and move on only after you’ve finished everything that needs to be taken care of for goal #1.
2. Netflix + YouTube
Watching a show will take away from whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish.
Intense scene? Stop what you’re doing and watch.
Missed a line or important moment? Time to rewind!
Distracting music video? Oh no! Now that sidebar is sucking you in.
I once tried to watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo while tackling a closet in our home – big mistake.
I ended up binge watching the series and found myself stopping to watch the messy home vs tidy home reveals. Needless to say, I didn’t end up finishing the closet that day!
Streaming Observer found that the average Netflix user spends 1 hour and 11 minutes a day watching shows on the service – at about 36 hours a month, it’s pretty alarming to know that one entire day goes to Netflix alone!
Visuals are a time sucker!
Pingdom found that YouTube users visit the site 14 times a month for about 25 minutes a session – this comes to another 5 hours and 50 minutes a month.
Not nearly as alarming as the Netflix stat, but when you add them together, you’ve wasted almost 2 days of your month watching shows!
This works out to 21 days or three weeks a year!
So, instead of watching something, listen to some music or a podcast in the background – I love singing and dancing my way to a clean home and so does my toddler!
It might only take five to 15 minutes to catch up on Township – I played this game a lot to kill the time when I was dealing with an accidental Pinterest suspension – but how many times a day are you playing?
I love the Screen Time report iPhone offers and appreciate the harsh reality check its given me from time to time.
Really, who needs to be on their phone for 3 hours and 30 minutes a day – that’s the average time Americans spend using mobile internet daily! Yikes!
The average gamer spends about 24 minutes a day playing mobile games.
How many hours a month is that, you ask? 12 hours!
Yep, another half a day gone each month – and 6 days of your year.
4. Checking your phone – just because!
This is a habit I’ve recently begun to take much more seriously.
On average, Americans check their phones every 12 minutes – or 80 times a day!
You have notifications set, don’t you?
Refreshing your email just in case that list you still haven’t unsubscribed from sent you another sales pitch?
Cell phones are an addiction and identifying troublesome behaviour is the first step in taking your life back.
5. Social Media
Raise your hand if you love saving the best for last too!
In 2019, the average social media user spent 153 minutes a day on a combination of their favourite platforms.
That works out to:
- 2 hours and 33 minutes a day
- 3 days a month
- 36 days or over 5 weeks a year
Given the average lifespan is 72 years, BroadbandSearch found that this works out to about 6 years and 8 months of one’s lifetime!
Interestingly, research also suggests that a minority of social media users experience loneliness, fear of missing out (labelled FOMO), anxiety, and depression, so excessive social media usage could be doing far more damage than just wasting your time.
Be conscious of how much time you spend on your favourite social networks and set limits for yourself – experts found that limiting social media usage to 30 minutes a day had a dramatic impact on well-being.
200+ Productive Things to Do Right Now
So, what can you do with the hours of time you just freed up?
If you plan on ditching everything above, you’ve created as much as four solid hours to get more done in your day! Woohoo, that’s like a part-time job that’s all about you!
But the even better news is, most of the ideas on this list take one hour or less to complete.
Boom – it’s time to take care of business!
Productive things to do at home
There’s nothing I love more than a good day of power cleaning or getting our family life organized.
Find inspiration to take care of your home and harness the power of clear space, clear mind – it’s life-changing stuff!
This list includes ideas for how to take care of your home as well as tasks you can complete at home – perfect for a day you just want to hang out in your pyjamas 🙂
- Wash a load of laundry
- Rewash the load of laundry you forgot about!
- Hang laundry or move it to the dryer
- Fold or hang up your laundry – we ditched dressers and hang up 99% of our clothes now!
- Clean your kitchen
- Descale your coffee maker
- Unload dishwasher
- Reload dishwasher
- Organize cupboards
- Remove items with missing pieces from your cupboard
- Remove cracked glassware and dishes from your cupboards
- Remove socks with no partners from your sock drawer / bin
- Evaluate your wardrobe – donate or sell things you haven’t worn in 6 months
- Organize your closet – i.e. short sleeves together, by colour, style, etc.
- Clean out a drawer full of miscellaneous items
- Organize your pantry – i.e. remove expired items, downsize large packages
- Declutter your paperwork – in the US, you can toss receipts after 3 years but in Canada, you’ll need to hang on to them for at least 6 years
- Pre-cut / chop fruits and veggies – I store mine in glass containers like 1 | 2 | 3 so it’s easy to snack and prep meals for my family later on!
- Clean out your fridge – remove expired items, downsize large packaging, wash bins, etc.
- Wash your kitchen counters
- Wash your cupboards
- Wash your appliances – I love these stainless steel wipes for our appliances and drawer handles
- Clean and wash your kitchen table
- Organize your desk
- Change your bed sheets and pillow covers
- Evaluate your cookware – sell or donate less than ideal items
- Organize your cleaning supplies
- Clean toilets
- Wash your sink
- Scrub your shower / bath tub
- Wash window ledges
- Windex your windows and mirrors – nothing on earth works better than this!
- Vacuum / dust vents
- Assess your library – go digital whenever you can to save space
- Say goodbye to worn out clothing and footwear
- Remove footwear that hasn’t been worn in over 6 months from your entryway / shoe cabinet
- Clean your makeup brushes – it’s as simple as using shampoo and conditioner!
- Clean out your freezer – check packaging dates and remove items that are no longer safe to eat
- Prep dinner / work lunches – safely defrost items to gain time later on
- Downsize your skincare / makeup collection – remove items that are expired
- Declutter your home one room at a time
- Re-organize under your sink
- Wash your shower curtain
- Wash baseboards – it doesn’t need to be for just special occasions 😉
- Ask your kids for help downsizing their playroom / toys
- Dust blinds
- Throw curtains in the wash
- Windex mirrors and windows
- De-crumb your toaster – no more burnt toast smell
- Clean your oven or run it’s self-cleaning feature
- Clean your microwave
- Spot clean your carpet
- Clean out your vacuum
- Stock up on cold and flu remedies – running out during a nasty bug sucks!
- Organize your medicine cabinet
- Hang up some photos or canvas art you haven’t gotten to yet
- Create a Pinterest board for a room your want to update
- Paint a room in your home that needs serious TLC – here are a few Bougie trends to consider
- Clean out your garage – I use clear plastic bins for everything now! Life changing stuff
- Learn a new word – use it in a sentence today
- Plan a vacation
- Fix something in your home
- Take a trip to a health food store – fill your fridge with healthy options!
- Create or purchase cards for upcoming special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
- Create a family photo album you can display proudly in your home
- Research and start a new diet – my husband and I have been keto since October!
- Start a new fitness routine – I love spinning on my Peloton and doing yoga
- Book dentist appointments for yourself and your family – cleaning every 6 months is ideal
- Schedule an annual health checkup with your doctor
- Visit your optometrist – update your prescription
- Clean out your desk drawer – check to see which pens still work!
- Deep clean pots and pans
- Detangle jewelry
- Detangle and organize wild cables
- Refill your printer with ink
- Take back empties to the bottle depot
- Have an excess amount of cardboard? Drive it to recycling yourself!
- Call a friend or family member that’s been on your mind
- Make plans with family and friends
- Plan your dream kitchen – I used the IKEA Kitchen planner to do ours
- Repair drywall with a repair kit
- Prep clothing for the next day
- Bleach white items that need serious TLC – I’ve had great results with this natural alternative
- Scan important documents and name them well so you can always find them on your computer
- Clean out your wallet – get rid of any unnecessary receipts
- Organize business receipts and expenses
- Do an inventory of your medical kit – add bandaids, Advil, or anything else your family uses
- Create an emergency kit
- Eliminate life clutter – unnecessary projects, negative people and experiences!
- Create a morning and/or evening routine
- Read something educational – now implement it
- Write a list of bad habits to break – now write an action plan for how you’ll do it
- Write a list of things you love about yourself and your life – now find a mirror and tell yourself! It might sound insane
- Cook a brand new meal
- Revisit old goals – make adjustments!
- Write a journal
- Clean out your purse or diaper bag
- Organize your nightstand
- Learn a new language
- Teach your kids your native language
- Plan a gathering at your home
- Draw or design something
- Make a playlist of songs that always get you pumped up
- Create a debt repayment plan
- Review your last month’s expenses
- Polish your jewelry
- Take a nap or go to bed when your kids do – sleep deprivation has a negative impact on productivity and performance, so listen to your body when it tells you to sleep!
- Take a shower – it can help you feel more alert and motivated to get things done
- Give yourself a spa treatment – eyebrows, mani, pedi, whatever gives you a confidence boost!
- Make a deposit your emergency fund – create one if you don’t have one yet!
- Create a weekly routine – stick to it!
- Clean your keyboard
- Clean your electronics and screens – I like WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner for my camera, tv, phone, and computer
- Shop online – get it delivered, if it’s reasonable. I’ve had groceries delivered for $7.95 in the past! My fuel back and forth from the grocery store would have cost more than that!
- Make a list of things you need
- Learn to play a new song on your favourite instrument
- Trace your ancestry – alternatively, you can test each of your parents to get even more specific
- DIY a gift for a loved one or something for your home
Productive things to do outside
Want to spend some time outside while getting things accomplished? Try the following:
- Sweep your entryway / patio
- Pull out weeds
- Wash your car
- Vacuum out your car
- Wash and vacuum out kids’ carseats
- Check levels and refill fluids in your car
- Check air pressure of your tires – refill them
- Preload your car with reusable bags for shopping – no more forgetting!
- Wash outdoor furniture
- Wash your patio or deck
- Wash children’s toys
- Put away seasonal children’s toys
- Go for a walk – just 30 minutes a day provides countless health benefits!
- Take a stroll around your block and chat with your neighbours – it can help with stress management
- Play with your kids
- Mow the lawn
- Redecorate your front door
- Organize the shed
- Take out the trash
- Invite a friend over for coffee and wine on the patio – don’t neglect your social wellness
- Spend time with your pet
- Wash the outside of your windows – if it’s safe to do so
- Check out your roof – ensure no drains are plugged
- Clean the gutters
- Repot plants that have outgrown their current habitat
- Host a garage sale or participate in a community-wide sale
- Volunteer for your church or around your community
- Take photos – of yourself, kids, pets, home, etc.
- Make a list of repairs or updates your home needs on the outside
Productive things to do online and on your phone
If you’re going to use your phone, make it productive!
The list below contains a number of suggestions for how to actually use your devices to get things done.
- Turn off notifications – especially for social media!
- Create a to do list for the day / week / month ahead
- Pay your bills
- Set up automatic bill payments
- Unsubscribe from email lists you don’t read
- Create a list of goals for the year
- Write a 5 or 10 year plan
- Create a budget
- Re-evaluate your monthly / yearly non-negotiable expenses
- Create a meal plan
- Write a grocery list
- Delete apps that are wasting your time
- Delete apps you’ve never used / stopped using
- Delete duplicate media files, screenshots, and/or photos taken by mistake
- Close all of your open applications – swipe up on your iPhone to show everything that’s open
- Restart your phone
- Update your phone – it’ll remind you multiple times a day until you do, so just get it done!
- Create Reminders and/or update your iPhone calendar with important events
- Read an ebook for your business or a PDF you need to review for class
- Create a Pinterest board for an upcoming project
- Unfollow people on social media
- Clean up your social media account – remove / archive old or irrelevant posts
- Mass delete old or irrelevant emails
- Delete old text messages / conversations you don’t need to refer to
- Review and empty your spam folder
- Backup your computer, phone, etc. – I use iCloud and external drives for my business and personal life
- Update your email signature
- Browse flyers with an app like Flipp – plan your shopping accordingly
- List items you want to sell on Facebook Marketplace or bidding groups
- Read a blog post about something you want to accomplish this week
- Write an outline for an email, blog, or social media post
- Update your LinkedIn profile
- Update your business’ social media accounts
- Respond to text messages – I’m the worst at this!
- Run updates for the apps you have downloaded
- Find and print personal photos you want to display in your home
- Update contacts – remove old and irrelevant ones
- Order a photobook on Motif – it also makes a great gift!
- Start a blog – it takes 15 minutes and costs as much as a Starbucks coffeee
- Start writing something – blog post, memoir, cookbook, epic love story, or otherwise!
- See if a title you want to read is available at the library – reserve it!
- Review passwords for your accounts and write them in a physical book to keep somewhere in your home
- Update your Amazon prime subscriptions – get rid of what you don’t need, add what you do
- Update your media kit or resume
- Research networking opportunities – I used Meetup to build my makeup portfolio when I worked on set in the film industry
- Edit photos for your blog or social media account
- Treat yourself to an online shopping trip – set a budget and get what you need
- Research conferences related to your profession and make plans to attend
- Learn keyboard and phone shortcuts
- Digitize business cards and contact information
What can you do in 1 hour? What are some productive things to do at home that you’ll try this week? Which one of the bad habits to break did you need to do most?
Have suggestions for productive things to do that should have made this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below!