How to Find Things to Do in a Boring Class

Four Methods:Trying Study-Like ActivitiesFinding Fun Things to Entertain YourselfRiskier Forms of Class DistractionHelping Yourself to Pay Attention

Let's face it––not every lecture, not every class you take may be exciting and riveting, no matter how hard you and your teacher might try. Sometimes it's a mismatch of your personalities, sometimes you just don't care about the subject matter. Yet, even in the most boring of classes, there are things to do.

Method 1
Trying Study-Like Activities

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    Do homework for another class. This way, you’ll pass the time doing something constructive and you don’t have to worry about the homework later.
    • Ask your teacher whether it is okay to do the homework in their class. This only works if you are bored in class because you are not challenged.
    • Sit in the middle or in the last row.
    • Keep the materials for your other class out of your teacher’s sight.
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    Write to-do-lists and weekly schedules. This will give you a sense of doing something important in an otherwise boring environment and will look as if you are taking notes.[1]
    • Vary your to-do lists. Write down what to search for online later, or birthday gift ideas,or your top ten favorite things of any category (i.e. Bands, video games, TV shows, etc). This can really pass the time, deciding which of your favorite things make the list and which are left out.
      • Write down the song lyrics to your top five songs, your favourite quotes from a Videogame, TV show, Book, etc. It'll get you thinking for a while and passes time.
    • Divide your list up into goals, projects and tasks- this will give you an overview of how to spend your time outside of class. [2]
    • Write an imaginary schedule: Stuff such as Monday: Mass destruction of school books, Tuesday: World domination. Wednesday: fitting of mute button on all siblings and parents. Thursday: World domination again. Friday: Sleeping.
      • Imagine how your teacher would react if they saw what you have written down.

Method 2
Finding Fun Things to Entertain Yourself

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    Chew gum, or suck on hard candy. You'll still have to listen to the lessons, but you can have all sorts of fun manipulating the treat inside your mouth.
    • Find out if there is a no-food policy in your class.
    • Make the decision to chew or not- weigh the consequences of getting caught.
    • Put your piece of gum or candy in your mouth when your teacher is not looking.
    • Keep a straight face while enjoying your treat. You don’t want to give yourself away!
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    Draw or doodle things on notebook paper in the margins of notes. Bring an empty notebook or some paper to class and use it as your drawing notebook or just use some binder paper. Not only does it occupy you, it can also indirectly boost your writing skills.[3]
    • Write everything on the board into your notebook- you will still need your notes, as there will be a test at some point.
    • Sit far from the teacher and tilt your notebook up- it will just look like you are taking notes.
    • Draw whatever shapes come to mind- geometric patterns, circles, blobs- most teachers won’t mind, as it keeps you occupied and you don’t disturb the class.
    • Look up and glance at the teacher every so often- it will give the impression that you are paying attention.
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    Look out of the window, or look around the classroom. This is another quiet way to pass the time- and what is more interesting than your fellow classmates?
    • Entertain yourself by counting how many students are wearing a school sweatshirt, how many have dyed their hair, etc.
    • Play classroom bingo with your neighbor. It's fun and hones your observation skills.[4]
    • Zone out, but but try to remember the last sentence your teacher said, just in case your teacher asks you to prove you were listening.
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    Read magazines or novels. They are often more engaging than the textbook, and you can disguise them easily.
    • Pick a book or magazine that is smaller or the same size as your textbook.
    • Hide the magazine behind the book, and read it.
    • Look up every once in a while, not only to feign interest, but also to check if the teacher makes rounds.
    • Find a way to hide your book or magazine quietly and elegantly before you get caught.
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    Sleep. This may not be distracting to others, but is truly rude towards your teacher. However, sometimes you’re short on your sleep.
    • Stay in the back of the room, if you can sit behind a bigger classmate, even better.
    • Try to hide behind a book.
    • Have a friend near who can wake you before your teacher notices.
    • If you get caught sleeping,then say you had a migraine or come up with an acceptable excuse

Method 3
Riskier Forms of Class Distraction

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    Send text messages to your friends. Nine out of ten students text in class,[5] and more and more teachers begin to incorporate text into their teaching anyway.
    • Have your phone in reach- either in your pocket or under the table, but out of your teacher’s sight.
    • Put your phone on silent- if you put it on vibrate, people WILL hear (for most phones).
    • Text your friends without looking on your screen too much.
    • Look up into your teacher’s direction repeatedly, to feign interest and attention.
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    Pass paper notes. The old fashioned version of text messages, time goes by quicker if you commiserate with friends.
    • Take a small piece of paper- either rip a piece out of the back of your notebook, or use pre-cut pieces of paper.
    • Write your message- keep the paper on your notebook so it looks as if you are taking notes.
    • Keep your message brief- you don’t have much space.
    • Make sure your teacher is not looking
    • Fold your message, write the recipient on the outside.
    • Pass it to your neighbor inconspicuously, who will pass it along.
    • Look into the other direction, and wait for a reply!
    • Consider learning Morse code and using that- it adds a layer of mystery to your notes.
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    Do origami. The art of folding paper will keep your hands and mind occupied in a boring class, and can actually help you concentrate after all![6]
    • Familiarize yourself with the basic folding techniques.[7]
    • Start out with simple, fun shapes, such as a dog or a cat.[8]
    • Practice folding without looking too closely- that way you can always look up to your teacher and pretend you’re listening.
    • Keep and ear out for what your teacher is saying while you’re folding. If you get caught and can at least repeat their last words, the punishment may be less severe.
    • Fold slowly and quietly- origami paper can be quite loud.
    • Offer the cute origami animal to your crush- or to your teacher if you get caught!
    • Make a fortune teller once you are a bit more advanced, and play with your friends![9]
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    Play with change. There are several fun ways to spin a coin, which can entertain you and your classmates.
    • Look for loose change in your pockets- quarters are best, but any coin will do.
    • Stand the coin under your right index finger, and flick it with the other index finger so that it spins.
    • Vary your methods. Try your right index finger, then your thumb, or let it roll of your hand.[10]
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    Learn to spin a pencil over your thumb. It’s a fun way to impress your friends and keep your hands occupied.
    • Start with an evenly weighted and smooth pen. [11]
    • Watch a tutorial before you go to class- you want to have an idea of what you are doing.[12]
    • Begin with simple balancing tricks, and then work your way to greater tricks.
    • Spin when your teacher is not looking at you- especially in the beginning, you will drop the pencil very often.
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    Play video games. You can play these on either your phone, or a small hand held device.[13]
    • Make sure your device is fully charged- you don’t want to run out of battery in the middle of your game.
    • Decide whether you want to play online with others (even your classmates) or just for your amusement.
    • Pick the game you want to play and have it ready by the time the class starts.
    • Turn all sounds off.
    • Keep your device hidden beneath the textbook. Under the table is another option, but it will strain your neck after a while.
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    Play with mini skateboards- they fit into every pocket and will amuse you and your classmates to no end!
    • Keep your mini skateboard in your pocket or your binder.
    • Build little ramps from pens and other books- your school supplies can serve as a mini-skatepark
    • Play with them on a notebook or a binder. This will soften the loud impact when they land.
    • Keep an eye on your teacher and put them right back in your pocket the moment they notice something.
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    Listen to your favorite music while pretending to listen to the lesson.
    • Sit in the back of the room, if possible against the wall
    • Use small in-ear headphones[14] that are not easily visible.
    • Try to listen with only one ear. Hiding only one headphone is easier and you can still somewhat pay attention.
    • Put the wires under your shirt or hide them under long hair.
    • Rest your head on your arm to cover the earphones even more.
    • Keep the volume low- you don’t want to get caught by blasting your music loudly.
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    Make a fake JRPG. This is a creative way to keep you entertained for probably more than one boring class period.
    • Keep an extra notebook, that looks very similar to your class notebook.
    • Start by drawing out characters, plot lines, and story ideas.
    • Write the script and design your own battle system.
    • Write the game play sections as if you were writing a guidebook for others.
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    Paint your nails with white-out or sharpie pens. This will probably only keep you occupied shortly, but it’s a fun way to express yourself and passes the time!
    • Decide which colors you want to use. Be creative; you could paint your nails in a pattern, or add little ornaments to the color.
    • Put a sheet of paper underneath your hand- you don’t want to stain your notes.
    • Slowly paint your nail in the chosen color.
    • Apply the sharpie or white-out in regular outward strokes.
    • Softly wave your hands in the air and wait for the color to dry.

Method 4
Helping Yourself to Pay Attention

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    Read the assigned material before you arrive to class. If you know what the teacher is talking about, the lecture will be less boring.
    • Print out the syllabus and, if they are available, the power-point slides for the class. This will help you keep track of when what assignments are due, and prepare accordingly.
    • Take notes on what you are reading.
    • Write down what you don't understand and ask the teacher about it in class.
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    Get a coffee, tea or caffeinated beverage before class starts. This will help you be attentive.
    • Check whether you are allowed to bring a beverage to class. If not, drink your coffee before class.
    • Know how much caffeine is enough to keep you alert. Every individual processes caffeine differently- so you don't want to be over-caffeinated and jittery.[15]
    • Drink the coffee at least ten minutes before the class starts. Caffeine takes effect as fast as ten minutes after the first sip, with alertness increasing 30-45 minutes after consumption.[16]
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    Listen carefully to the teacher and follow along with the lesson. Even if it's not the most fascinating lesson, you may save yourself time on the homework or grief on the tests later.
    • Take exact notes on what the teacher is saying.
    • Use your favorite pen, or special paper to take notes- a little motivation can go a long way.
    • Think about how to structure your notes- you don't need to write it down sentence by sentence, but can organize your notes with bullet points, subheadings and even little drawings.[17] This will help you understand the material and pass the time.
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    Participate and ask questions. The time will pass much faster when you are engaged in the material.
    • Ask about the assigned text and what you haven't understood. This will also give your teacher feedback, and will help them structure their classes differently in the future.[18]
    • Disagree with someone's point of view. In a respectful manner, argue your counter-point. Even if you lose the argument, you've sharpened your argumentative skills, paid attention, and passed class time.[19]
    • Offer to volunteer in group work or demonstrations- even if you are not perfect, your willingness to participate can boost your grade.[20]
    • Make eye contact with your teacher. Any teacher will respect you for trying your best and signalling them if you're lost.


  • Write your notes by hand. If you bring your laptop to class, the chances of you finding distractions are much higher.
  • Write your note down on a small piece of paper and put it inside a mechanical pencil. Then, pass the pencil to a friend who knows the note is in there. He can then open it and read it, and reply with another note, etc. That way when you are passing it and the teacher sees you, you can just say, "I was just letting him borrow my pencil".
  • Don't put anything too personal in your notes them, just in case someone gets hold of the note and it gets out.
  • Try putting your boring textbook passage to a tune or a rap, just don't actually start singing out loud!
  • Keep in mind that if caught the teacher may confiscate your phone or your video game device, so you should use at your own risk.
  • Quarters, pencils, etc. hitting desks can be noisy. Flip with caution.
  • Sometimes teachers will be nice and give you a warning for playing games in class.
  • Keep a straight face when you are engrossed in your video game, listening to music or reading notes. That way you won’t cause any suspicion.
  • Take whatever punishment you get when you get caught, and don’t complain. This will signal to the teacher that you understand what you’ve done wrong.
  • Don't get caught while playing on a device. Always keep it hidden in a book or something so you don't get caught playing on it.
  • When you are passing notes,remember that the people sitting near you should not see this.They may complain to the class teacher.
  • Remember the teacher may catch you doodling. so be alert.
  • If you do get caught sleeping, you can say that you feel sick.
  • Write notes, stay with the class, or maybe, just relax and listen to your teacher.
  • Think about the people around you. Sometimes it is not just the teacher you need to hide something from, but fellow classmates too. Think about the kids around you and who is most likely to get you into trouble.
  • Don't do anything too risky because you don't want your parents finding out what you've done.


  • Say something believable when you get caught laughing. Don’t say you don’t know.
  • Make sure your note contains no profanity, gossip or berates anyone. Teachers often read out notes aloud when they catch them.
  • Be prepared for your grades to drop if you make a regularity out of distracting yourself.
  • Don’t regularly sleep in class- teachers will notice it after a while.
  • Be prepared to have your homework for the other class confiscated if your teacher catches you.
  • Be prepared to get punished if you get caught.
  • Don't get too much coffee- it may make you jittery and you will have a hard time paying attention.

Article Info

Categories: Class Distractions