How to Spend a Boring Day

Three Methods:Being ProductiveWasting TimeRethinking Boredom

Maybe it is raining or snowing. Maybe there are plenty of things to do inside and outside, but they all seem like they have been, well, done. Boredom happens to all of us. Sometimes we should embrace it. Other times we should see it as an opportunity to have fun or get something done. Either way, the key is to keep things fresh with something new.

Method 1
Being Productive

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    Go on an errand. Even when it isn’t really necessary, a short trip to the store can do a lot to alleviate boredom. Studies show that time spent walking is more exciting than time spent waiting around for something. It helps if you can accomplish something productive along the way, but if not, it is still better than sitting around at home.[1]
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    Make work a game. Try “gamifying” chores and other work. Give yourself points for each task you accomplish and reward yourself with a night out or new toy when you earn enough points. See how quickly you can clean the kitchen. Keep track of your times and see if you can beat your best![2]
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    Blog about it! It has become easier than ever before to share your thoughts with the world. Spend your empty time practicing your writing and working out your thoughts. If people listen, you can begin selling advertisements for a bit of extra money or get your name out there as an expert on some topic.[3]
    • If you have strong opinions about politics, food, or culture, try writing about those things. Otherwise, try writing stories, or just expressing your feelings.
    • Similarly there are some websites that will compensate you for writing short articles.
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    Let your opinion be known. A number of survey websites allow you to make some money—usually not much—by telling them what you think. Some examples include SurveyMonkey, SurveySpot, My Survey, LIghtspeed Consumer Panel, Pinecone Research, Opinion OutPost, MyPoints, Springboard America, and Toluna. This is one way to spend your time and make a bit of cash on the side.[4]
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    Test out some apps. Computer programs have bugs. To get out all the glitches and mistakes, programmers need people willing to play around with them. Websites like User Testing, WatusersDo, Enroll, and YouEye will compensate you for playing around with their programs. It isn’t a living, but it is one of the easiest ways to make money while wasting some time.[5]
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    Clear your mind. Meditation might not seem like the most exciting activity, but it does increase concentration, which can help push away the sense of agitation that often comes with boredom. Try meditating about 20 minutes daily to increase your focus and clarity of mind.[6]
    • To meditate, close your eyes and clear your mind. Take one thing to focus on, perhaps an image in your head, a word, or a phrase. Think about that and whenever you mind begins to stray bring it back to the object of your attention.

Method 2
Wasting Time

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    Doodle. Drawing can be fun, even if we aren’t taking it that seriously. Although it might defy our expectations, we also concentrate more on whatever we are doing when we doodling at the same time. This concentration will make whatever else we do, whether it be work or television, more interesting than it would be otherwise.[7]
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    Listen to some new music. Focusing on something artistic can be a good way to push away a sense of boredom.[8] Generally, novelty also helps to alleviate boredom as well. So, try an online radio program that will play new songs with which you aren’t familiar. Alternatively, take the time to go through and listen to some classic music you’ve heard people talk about, but never listened to.
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    Get messy in the kitchen. Try making a cake or another complicated dish you’ve never tried before. This can be a good way to pick up a new skill and keep yourself busy. Even better, when everything is said and done, you have a tasty treat to eat, or, at least, a good story tell.[9]
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    Run yourself a luxurious bath. Especially when it is cold outside, a warm bath can make quiet time fun. Aim to get the water to around 92 degrees. Turn off the lights and set some candles to create a relaxing atmosphere. Put on some music and toss some oil into the bath for a pleasant aroma.[10]
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    Surf the web. Boredom is easier to deal with than ever before, because the internet is something like a bottomless hole of activities. Read news websites, surf social media, or find aps and games that do novel things. Be careful thought; prolonged use of the internet will decrease your attention span, which will ultimately make it harder to be interested in the rest of the world around you.[11]
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    Pick up a book. Once upon a time, reading was nearly the only reliable thing humans could turn to keep themselves interested. It is still a pretty good option. It requires more attention than the internet, which helps to keep you engaged. It will introduce you to interesting characters and in the end you might learn something about people, stories, or language.
    • Consider acting out what you learn by writing. As you read, break to take notes, write your own stories, or think about what your reading. This will make you a more active participant in the reading process.[12]

Method 3
Rethinking Boredom

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    Try something new. Given the choice between eating candy and shocking themselves, bored people have been shown to prefer electrocution. Regardless of whether the sensation is good or bad, something novel is better at healing boredom than something that we are used to. In other words, you should be adventurous. Go somewhere or do something you don’t normally do, even if it is something you wouldn’t normally want to do.[13]
    • One good step in this direction is surround yourself with people who are, themselves interesting. This might mean people who are entertaining characters. Alternatively, it could also mean people who like to do new things, and will challenge you to come along and try something that otherwise wouldn’t even occur to you.[14]</ref>
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    Give up on your dreams. One of the most natural solutions to boredom is daydreaming. However, evidence suggests that it only makes things worse. As our minds start drifting to an exotic locale, we just begin to think about how underwhelming what we are doing in the real world is, even if it is not actually that bad
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    If it isn’t loud, turn it down! Studies have shown that quiet background noises that we barely hear actually have an important subconscious effect. Without us realizing, they distract us from whatever we are doing, making it seem more boring than it otherwise would. Turn off distant TVs or radios that might be distracting you. If the problem is harder to eliminate—like wind or a leaking faucet—trying moving somewhere else.[15]
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    Embrace the boredom. In our modern electronic world, we are often so overstimulated that boredom is a rare phenomenon. Some people argue that boredom should be considered an opportunity to think more deeply than we otherwise would.[16] That having been said, we all experience boredom differently, and some of us experience a much more disturbing type of boredom than others.[17] You should judge for yourself whether a spot of boredom might be a good way to escape the concentration sapping distractions of the internet age.[18]

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Categories: Boredom Busters