How to Overcome Boredom

Five Methods:Getting InspiredGetting CreativeGetting ActiveGetting SocialAvoiding Boredom

Feeling bored? Overcoming boredom takes more than just finding something to do. Sometimes, you have to figure out why you are feeling bored in the first place. This article will not only give you ideas on what you can do to ease boredom, but it will also help you figure out why you are bored and how you might prevent it in the future.

Method 1
Getting Inspired

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    Brainstorm some ideas. Get out a pad of paper and a pen or pencil, and write down a few things that you enjoy doing, or that sound interesting. Try to keep these tasks doable within a day. Here are some ideas:
    • If you like arts and crafts, you might be interested in things such as: soap making, candle making, knitting, or making candle votives out of mason jars.
    • If you like to draw or paint, take your drawing, sketching, and/or painting supplies, and go outside. Draw or paint something that interests you. If you don't like to draw from life, consider drawing your favorite book, anime, or movie character instead.
    • If you are the active sort, consider your hobbies. Do you like jogging? Working out? Horseback riding? If possible, try going for a jog, a trip to the gym, or a horseback ride.
    • If you like entertainment, go to the movie theater and watch a movie. If you can, try to get a friend to go with you. It might make things more interesting, and you'll have someone to discuss the movie with afterwards.
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    Try doing something new.[1] Sometimes, people get bored because they are doing the same thing over and over again. A change is the best way to ease up boredom. Here are some ideas:
    • If you are at work or school, consider eating your lunch some place new. You might even meet new people.
    • If you always take the bus to work or school, consider riding a bike or longboard instead. You can also try taking a different route.
    • If you don't get out much, consider taking a walk downtown or seeing a movie.
    • If you aren't very artistic, try doing a simple DIY craft, such as painting a frame. You can also try decorating a mason jar and using it as a vase.
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    Create an idea jar or box. Write down things you enjoy doing on slips of paper and place them in a jar or box. Whenever you feel bored, take a slip out, and do whatever it says. Try to keep these tasks doable within one day. For example visiting a foreign country or becoming an astronaut might not be doable in one day. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • If you enjoy arts and crafts, list as many arts and crafts projects as you can, such as candle making, soap making, knitting, painting frames, and so forth.
    • If you like to bake, list different types of cookies, pastries, and cakes that you can make.
    • If you enjoy entertainment, list a few movies that you might enjoy watching.
    • If you are active, consider listing a few physical activities, such as going for a hike, jogging, swimming, or working out at your local gym.
    • Try listing a few things you have never done before, such as baking a certain type of pie, or attempting a new DIY craft project.
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    Figure out what you really want to do. Sometimes boredom comes about because you have too many ideas and you don't know which one to do first. If this happens to you, try creating a to-do list. Try to order the tasks in some way. For example:
    • List the tasks in order of importance. A trip to the bank might be more important than watching that new movie you bought.
    • Place the tasks that will take the least amount time to complete first, and the tasks that will take the most amount of time last. This will also help ease lack of motivation and give you momentum.
    • List the tasks in order of which seems most interesting to you. For example, if watching a movie sounds much more entertaining than washing the floors, list that first.
    • Save the most entertaining task last. If you have a whole list of chores to do, try putting something fun at the end. This will give you something rewarding to look forward to. You might even find yourself hurrying through your chores with excitement and anticipation.

Method 2
Getting Creative

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    Read a book. This is a great way to make you forget that you are bored. An author's words can take the mind away on unforgettable adventures. Children's and young adult books are especially good at this. They can also awaken the inner child, as well as feelings of wonder and nostalgia.
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    Take a nap. If you find that nothing can keep you busy, you can try going to sleep. If you can't sleep, then try listening to music to help you fall asleep.
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    Doodle, paint, or sketch something. This is a great way to exercise your creativity. You'll also have something beautiful to show off at the end. If you are sketching in a public location, such as at a cafe, you might get people asking you about your work, and make some new friends that way.
    • Be discrete about doodling while at school or work. Research suggests that doodling can help keep you focused and listening by engaging your brain.[2] Unfortunately, not every teacher or boss appreciates doodling.
    • If you are at school, sure to combine the doodling with note-taking. This will help keep you extra focused, improve your memory, and actively engage you in the discussion or lecture.
    • If you like to paint and draw, try going outside and painting/drawing a still life of what you see.
    • If you don't like working from life, draw or paint your favorite book or movie character instead.
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    Write something. You don't even have to be a great writer to do this. It can even be as simple as a list. Writing will help distract your mind. It will make your mind focus on what you are writing, rather than thinking about how bored you are. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • If you enjoy creative writing, start writing that novel, poem, or short story you've always wanted to find the time to write.
    • Try writing a list. What are your top ten films starring superheroes? What are your top five things to eat on rainy days? What things do you see that are blue? Consider writing lists with a friend or sibling, and them comparing them.
    • Write a letter to a friend, relative, or pen pal. You can even write fan mail to your favorite celebrity, so long as you keep it tactful and not creepy.
    • Write a letter to a stranger. Pick a name out of the phonebook and write that person a letter as you'd write to a friend. Just don't be creepy.
    • Consider writing a letter to a soldier overseas, disaster victims, or an elderly person at a hospice. There are many organizations that collect such letters and then mail them for you.
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    Make something. One way to ease boredom is to keep your hands busy. The best way to do this is to get crafty and make something. You don't have to be a skilled artist to make something. Even complete beginners might have fun creating something new.
    • If you enjoy arts and crafts, try painting a clay flower pot or making some candle votives.
    • If you like to knit or crochet, try making a scarf or arm warmers. They are easy and can usually be completed within one day.
    • Try making a scrapbook or a collage. Get a scrapbook album, some photos, paper, glue, and other embellishments.
    • If you aren't very artistic, consider baking something instead. The best part is that you get to eat something tasty when you are done.
    • Take note of any upcoming holidays and events. For example, if someone's birthday is coming up, you could make him or her a birthday gift.

Method 3
Getting Active

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    Do something physical. Keeping your body active will help keep your mind active. This may help ease up the boredom. You don't have to do a strenuous activity, such as playing basketball, in order to get active. It can be as simple as taking a walk. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Go to the park and skateboard, play basketball or soccer/football, jog, or practice tennis.
    • If you find yourself getting bored on a regular basis, try joining a sports club, like an ultimate frisbee group or martial arts. Socializing and exercising at the same time will keep boredom at bay.
    • If you find yourself getting bored often but don't like strenuous sports, try taking some zumba and/or pilates classes instead.
    • If you don't like being very active, go for a walk around the block, downtown, or to the park. If you are the artistic sort, bring a camera or sketchbook to capture interesting moments.
    • If it is warm, go for a swim. Consider learning some new swimming strokes and exercises and practicing them in the pool.
    • If it is rainy, try doing some stretches. This can easily be done indoors and will keep your body toned and healthy.
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    Sing, dance, or listen to some music. The performing arts are a great way to ease up boredom. If you have friends who also enjoy singing or dancing, consider inviting them over. These sorts of activities are usually more fun with friends.
    • Try dancing. It doesn't even have to look pretty. Put on some comfortable clothes, turn up your favorite music, and jam out to it. This is great for murky, rainy days when you can't go outside.
    • Try singing. If you don't feel like dancing, you can sing along to your favorite songs instead. If you have some friends who like to sing too, consider hosting a karaoke event.
    • If you are talented at performing, consider starting your own channel on sites like Youtube, and uploading your own sounds, rants, or songs.
    • Form a band with some friends. Start dreaming up various line-ups and styles of music you and your friends might create. Even if you don't play an instrument, writing out song titles and scheming for your rock opera can be a fun way to pass the time.
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    Try learning a new skill. This is great for those who find themselves getting bored on a regular basis. Devoting yourself to a new hobby or craft will give you the promise of many busy hours to come. Be sure to research your new hobby, and to set up a schedule for it. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • If you aren't very artistic, consider learning how to paint, draw, or sculpt.
    • If you aren't musically-talented, consider learning how to sing or play an instrument.
    • If you aren't very active, take some dancing or martial arts lessons.
    • If you enjoy cooking, buy a cook book and make a new meal every day. Try cooking from a cuisine that is completely new to you, such as French or Thai.
    • If you already know how to play an instrument, such as a guitar, consider learning how to play a new song.
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    Do some homework or chores. If you can't think of something fun to do, you can try doing something that needs to be done instead. Avoiding something you need to do at the same time as you're sitting around bored is a lose-lose scenario. You might as well get those chores done. You'll keep your mind busy, and after a while, you might even forget about being bored. Here are some seemingly mundane tasks that you can do:
    • Clean out and organize your drawers, closet, desk, or wardrobe. You might even end up having fun reorganizing stuff, and you'll end up with a whole new look and less clutter at the end.
    • Do your homework. Seemingly the source of boredom rather than the cure for it, doing your homework will allow you to occupy your time in a productive way.
    • If you are out camping or traveling, take a look at your gear. It is clean and properly maintained? If not, see if you can clean it or mend it.
    • Doing something pointless is less boring than doing nothing at all.[3] A recent study showed that people doing relatively pointless tasks, like window shopping, were less bored than people who sat doing nothing for the same amount of time.

Method 4
Getting Social

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    Invite people to join you. If you are doing something that can easily include other people, such as playing basketball or watching a movie, consider inviting your friends over to join you. Friends provide endless fun, and if they don't, at least you can be bored together. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
    • Invite friends over to play. It doesn't even have to be an organized game. You can make up your own rules. You can even play pretend games, such as house or school.
    • Have a movie night (or a rainy marathon). Invite your friends over, make some popcorn, and serve up some drinks (such as hot coco or soda). Gather together on the couch and watch your favorite movies and/or shows.
    • Host a party. Preparing for the party, such as hanging up streamers and balloons, will help ease boredom. Your friends will help keep it at bay once they come over and the party begins.
    • Being social doesn't have to involve friends. Try doing something with your friends family. You could play with your sibling.
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    Play a game with some friends. Some games, such as chess, checkers, or Monopoly, often take a long time, and need other people to play. Friends are also a great way to learn new games. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Try some card games. Some can be played solo, such as Solitaire. Others, such as Uno or Slap Jack, require more people.
    • Try board games, such as checkers, Chinese checkers, or chess. These can often take some time, and are great at exercising the mind.
    • Have a simple scavenger hunt. Give people a check list of items to spot, and have them mark the items off (rather than collecting them). The items can be simple, such as a bird, a rock, a person wearing a hat, and so forth.
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    Play some simple, prop-less games with your friends. Not all games require a board or a stack of cards. Some games require only your voice and a little bit of imagination. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • I-Spy, Truth-or-dare, 20 Questions
    • Try telling a story together. Have each person add one line to the story. This can be verbal or written.
    • Improvisation games such as charades.
    • Try finding shapes in the clouds (or rocks, if you are in a rocky, mountainous area). This is a simple game, and exercises the creative mind.
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    Get a job or volunteer. If you consistently find yourself with too much free time, consider getting a part-time job or volunteering. Making money or helping people will fill up your free time in a productive way that leaves you feeling fulfilled. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Retail, such as stores and cafes, are great places to get a part-time job. They tend to offer flexible working hours, making them ideal for students.
    • Hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, and animal shelters are almost always looking for volunteers. Aside from being rewarding and emotionally fulfilling, volunteer work like this looks very attractive on resumes or college applications.
    • Consider being self-employed. You can offer to mow people's lawns for them, walk their dogs, or babysit. If you are crafty, you can even make things, such as scarves or bags, and sell them online.

Method 5
Avoiding Boredom

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    Get off the internet, computer, or couch. Unless you've got a show you really want to watch, avoid using TV or social media to fill time. This can lead you to start fantasizing about what you'd rather be doing. Studies have shown that this can make boredom seem more intense.[4]
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    Avoid daydreaming. Daydreaming about other places and more desirable activities will intensify boredom rather than alleviate it. Catching yourself in the middle of a daydream will likewise give you the impression that the activity you're engaging in is boring, even if you would normally find it stimulating.
    • Alternatively, repetitive tasks like scrubbing the floor or mowing the lawn are a good opportunity for daydreaming. Tasks that require little "presence" won't be noticeably affected by daydreaming.
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    Keep a schedule of your day. If you notice any large gaps in your schedule, try to fill them in with something that interests you.[5]
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    Be social. You can join a club or a youth group to have structured time or make plans with friends on your own. If you're feeling like there's nothing to do, there's no better way to overcome idle boredom than being with people. Call your friends and organize an outing, or bug one of your neighbors for a pickup game of basketball. Even if you're just walking downtown together, or getting coffee, you're doing something new. Hang out with your regular friends, or reconnect with old acquaintances to shake up your routine.
    • There's no substitute for face-to-face socializing. Avoid using social media sites to replace socializing, and meet with people in person.
    • Go to camps. What's coming up? Spring Break? Christmas Break? Summer? Look up fun camps to plan to go to during free time such as
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    Take breaks to keep tasks from becoming mundane. A recent study found that subjects who took two-minute breaks in the middle of a boring 50-minute task felt more focused, relaxed, and productive at the end of the task.[6] If you're setting out on a long project, give yourself something to look forward to by queuing up a YouTube video, song, or article you're looking forward to reading and reward yourself for thirty minutes of work with a short two-minute break.
    • Get out of your work space for a quick minute. Even if you just walk to the kitchen for a glass of water, those few minutes can be refreshing. Go out to the garden and smell the flowers to get some fresh air.
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    Quiet your work space. It's a common misconception that leaving the radio or television on quietly in the background will create a relaxing and productive workplace. Unfortunately, this tends to divide your attention on a subconscious level. You end up feeling more more bored than if you were to work in total silence. Focusing on one task entirely, even if that activity is "boring," is a smarter idea than dividing your brain with competing stimuli.
    • Use music or radio as a reward, rather than a distraction. Taking measured breaks over the course of a boring activity will end up making you more productive than trying to push through without one, but letting radio chatter along in the background throughout.
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    Regulate your blood-sugar.[7] When your blood-sugar levels drop, you'll start noticing that it's increasingly difficult to pay attention to your work. Keep healthy snacks like nuts or fruit available in your work desk to keep your brain functioning at its highest level. Reward yourself with a bit of chocolate for finishing a particularly difficult homework assignment or series of memos at the office.
    • Energy drinks and other caffeine sources are popular, but the "crash" associated with high-sugar caffeine drinks will end up affecting your productivity in the long run. Avoid these stimulants to keep from falling back in the bored rut.
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    Stay active. Some people like working on exercise balls instead of computer chairs, or using other ergonomic office gear to stay active, but you don't have to spend a lot of money to get moving. Popping out of the office for a quick walk, or taking fifteen minutes to do a light stretching routine in the bathroom will increase your energy levels and keep your attention from waning.
    • If you have a treadmill, try working on a treadmill desk. Standing up and working has proven to be a healthy and efficient way to stay focused.


  • Avoid finding fault in everything. Usually, people find life boring when they find fault in it.
  • If asked to do something or asked to participate in something go for it. Don't decide it is boring before you do it.
  • Try a change in scenery. Sit or go somewhere else altogether; this can often alleviate boredom.
  • Don't talk yourself into getting bored. Instead focus on something useful, positive, and creative like studying, art, a construction project, or just sharing ideas and helping people around the neighborhood, especially children and the elderly.
  • Don't be afraid of making mistakes, especially if you are trying something new. It is better to make a mistake and learn from it than to sit around being bored and doing nothing.


  • Many people tend to eat to overcome boredom. Try to avoid doing this. If you really are hungry, however, try using this as a chance to eat healthy foods, such as fruits or vegetables.
  • Don't be depressed about boredom, everyone feels bored. Take it as a challenge.
  • Avoid the temptation to experiment with drugs or do anything illegal to pass the time. This is counterproductive and self-destructive.
  • Try not to get too cranky. It might hurt those around you. If you find yourself getting cranky because you are bored, consider going for a walk, reading a book, or doing some yoga. Do not take your frustrations out on other people.

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Categories: Boredom Busters