We all get bored. It doesn’t matter how busy your schedule is or how many different hobbies you have, there will always be moments when it feels like you have nothing to do or you realise that what you are doing just simply isn’t enough to keep you engaged. Whatever the reason is, boredom is just one of those unavoidable parts of life. Of course, most of us fill these moments with time-wasting activities. Whether it’s tapping away on a smartphone game or just staring at the wall, it’s easy to waste this time and it’s much harder to do something productive with it. A huge factor of boredom is not being in the mood to do anything, but having something to do which is worthwhile can be hugely motivating. While some of these suggestions of top 10 things to do when you are bored may seem like a challenge or even too big a project to take on, many are manageable in just tiny chunks and almost anyone can do them.

10. Get some Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to completely change your frame of mind. Whether you’re bored or procrastinating, physical activity is an excellent way to make you feel much more focused and almost any type of exercise can be target-oriented. You might think that running or lifting weights for 30 minutes are boring activities, but trying to beat your previous bests can completely change the way you workout. We all respond better to goals and targets so exercising with these in mind can be hugely motivating. Similarly, you should realise that you can sneak in a decent workout even if you only have a small chunk of time. If you’re bored because you have an hour to kill before you have to do something else, that’s still plenty of time to sneak in something like a quick round of circuit training or a HIIT workout (high-intensity interval training). Also, don’t be discouraged if you’ve never really caught the ‘exercise bug’. Many people take up jogging or weightlifting and get tired of it quickly, but there are plenty of other forms of exercise which can offer similar results. If you want some variety in your fitness routine, try out indoor rock climbing or a martial arts clubs instead.

9. Learn to Code

Learning a skill is often easier said than done but some are definitely worth the time and effort. Finding the motivation to try and pick up something new is never easy, especially when it feels like you don’t know where to begin in the first place. However, some skills can be taught in ‘baby steps’ and they can almost instantly reward you with the effort you put in. Learning how to code is an invaluable experience. Don’t be put off by the idea just because you aren’t very technical minded or if you feel like there’s no way you can get to grips with the complexities of a programming language. It may seem daunting at first, but more and more people are teaching themselves how to code in their spare time. With the help of online resources like codecademy and editing existing programs, learning the fundamentals of writing code and building projects from the ground up couldn’t be easier. Also, the accessible ‘homebrew’ technology scene has exploded in recent years and kits like Raspberry Pi allow amateur coders to create their very own unique gadgets and contraptions. DIY coders have created ingenious projects like pint-sized toy rocket launchers and portable jukeboxes just with the affordable barebones Raspberry Pi kit.

8. Learn a New Language

If you’d rather stick to a more ‘traditional’ language, why not consider becoming bilingual? You don’t have to be planning to go on holiday or moving to a new country to get the most out of a learning a new language. Of course, the knowledge will prove to be very useful if you are a seasoned traveller, but it has also been shown to boost cognitive abilities and it’ll look good on a CV too. If the idea of learning French or Spanish conjures up memories of boring lessons in school, you needn’t worry anymore. Learning a new language is much more accessible and interesting with the help of audio books, flashcards and smartphone apps. These learning tools will help break up the process into manageable bite size chunks so you can learn during your long, boring commute in the car or if you just have a few minutes to spare during the day.

7. Take a Break

Being bored with something you are doing and being bored because you have nothing to do are two completely different things, so they need different approaches. Whether you’re at work, school or doing a personal project, it’s easy to run into those stumbling blocks which stop all productive progress dead in its tracks. The worst thing you can do when this happens is start procrastinating. Kidding yourself that you’ll just visit one more website or you’ll quickly check the messages on your phone is a sure-fire way to wasting even more time. It’s even worse when you start doing these things without even realising it. If you feel your interest floating away and boredom creeping in, the best thing to do is to walk away and take a break. It only has to be a few minutes, but by setting aside this ‘reward’ time you will feel much more refreshed and willing to get back to what you were doing with a fresh, invigorated mindset.

6. Learn Something New

The Internet is an excellent resource for learning new information, but it can be a bit overwhelming. There’s simply so many websites to choose from that many of us fall into the routine of either checking the same pages every day (which, for most of us, are social networks and time-wasting websites) or scanning in-depth articles for the salient information. It’s also very difficult to really focus on the learning process if you don’t have a structured approach, so using the Internet during times of boredom can make it worse rather than alleviate the problem. If you’re the type to skim-read everything you come across on the Internet, find some new interesting topics to learn. Websites like Snopes, MentalFloss and TVTropes have engaging and interesting topics which make learning fun. If you’d rather sit back and watch something without reading, TED Talks are an excellent way to learn about new subjects and topics from some of the world’s leading academics and pioneers. Similarly, there are many different educational podcasts which cover a huge range of topics available for free download.

5. Optimise your Routine with Life Hacks

‘Life hack’ is a modern term for those little cheats and shortcuts which just make life a little bit easier. If you’re feeling bored or restless, take the time to implement some of the many ways in which you can improve just about every aspect of your daily routine. While some life hacks need a little bit of preparation or work, others can literally be carried out in just a few minutes and they can make a huge difference to your daily life. You can simplify your living space, make your kitchen more efficient or even completely reorganise your life.

4. Chat to a Stranger

Most people experience boredom because they think that they have nothing to do or they lack the energy to do something, but sometimes it’s just because they need a little bit of human contact. Getting out there and being social is another thing which can make a huge difference to your state of mind but it’s often easier said than done. Boredom often comes hand in hand with apathy and no one really relishes the thought of wandering the streets looking for another human being to talk to. Thankfully, the Internet is here to save the day. With the help of websites like ChatRoulette and Omegele, it’s now easier than ever to connect to strangers from around the world. Of course, there are still more ‘traditional’ methods like chat rooms and message boards, but having the ability to instantly connect to another complete stranger and talk about whatever you like makes it a much more worthwhile and interesting experience. Of course, results can be mixed. These services have their fair share of ‘trolls’ but that’s really all part of the fun. Try to think of it as a social experiment. You could connect with someone you share lots in common with or you might end up arguing with a total stranger for 30 minutes. Whatever your experience is like, this type of socialisation can have many positive effects. Whether it boosts your self-confidence, provides an outlet for some creativity (many people use these types of websites as an outlet to entertain or prank others) or even just keeps you entertained for an hour or so, chatting to a stranger is an excellent way to beat the boredom blues

3. Earn Money Online

Anyone who has ever used the Internet for a significant amount of time is likely to have seen countless adverts which promise huge amounts of money for working from home. Like most things in life this is easier said than done and many of these empty promises lead to pyramid-type selling schemes or just good old-fashioned scam websites. However, it is possible to supplement your income in your spare time by using the Internet. It you feel as if you have a marketable or desirable skill which you’ve never found the right outlet for, the Internet could be an excellent opportunity to monetise your personality. If you are highly opinionated or passionate about a subject, you could always become a video blogger. If you consider yourself a hardcore gamer, you can setup your own streaming service (the popularity of eSports and speed-running streams has exploded in recent years). If you have a keen interest in photography, writing or digital art, there are many websites which act as a broker for freelance work from clients. Whatever your niche is, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find a way to sell your services online or monetise your skills. Another popular way to make money online is by registering with task-based websites. This type of work pays users for completing small, ‘microjobs’. Some of the most popular tasks include watching YouTube videos and commenting on them, completing surveys, clicking on advertisements or even just performing certain Google searches. Some of these tasks may only pay a few pence but they can be completed in a few seconds. If the work is available, it’s very easy building up your balance in this way. It’s completely legitimate and you’ll typically be paid in cash or in the form of a giftcard of your choosing. Making money online is achievable and many people just do it when they have an hour or two to spare a day, but always remember that it takes time. At first, it may not seem like you’re making as much as you are putting in or you might be waiting to reach a certain limit to finally cash out (most survey or task-based websites have a minimum amount you have to make before you withdraw the money). However, if you’re just looking for a way to fill the time then there’s really no better way to do so than by making a bit of easy money.

2. Go Geocaching

Ever feel like exploring your adventurous side but you’re not quite sure where to begin? Geocaching is a fun way to get to better know your local area and find new places which you have probably never seen before. Described as an ‘interactive treasure hunting’ game, the aim of geocaching is to leave caches (typically small boxes but it can be much smaller items like a keying or even just a hidden note of paper) for other people. When a cache is left at a location, a person enters the GPS details on the online database and other people can find out where it is and go looking for it. Each cache has a difficulty rating as some geocachers like to make it as hard as possible to find the cache and leave cryptic clues to its location. Typically a cache contains a small piece of paper so you can leave your own personal mark for other geocachers to see, but some caches operate like a swap exchange. For these types of caches each person is told to take the contents and replace them with something similar, like a small trinket or gift, for the next person to take. There are geocachers all over the world and you don’t have to be in a rural area to take part. Geocaching is a fun way to motivate yourself into doing something and get some fresh air. You never know, there might be a cache just around the corner which you walk past everyday without even realising it.

1. Learn a Party Trick

We’ve all met at least one person who has a trick that they just love to show-off at any opportunity. Whether they use it to win a bet, trick an audience or just attract some attention, having an easily performable party trick always gets people talking. Spending some time learning a new trick will give you something to show-off at a party or at work/school and it might prove to be an excellent way to break the ice or make people remember you. Some tricks make for great goofy bar wagers like the classic relighting a burned match or moving a coin without touching it. Others can be learned by just practising a few minutes every day like coin, pen and zippo tricks. There are also mental skills like learning the Doomsday rule (which allows you to calculate the day of the week for any given date) which take a bit longer to learn but are sure to make other people wonder how exactly you did it. If you’re bored and feeling listless, find some tutorials and learn a new trick to have it ready in your arsenal. You never know when it might come in handy.

Menno, from the Netherlands, is an expert in unearthing fascinating facts and unraveling knowledge. At Top10HQ, he delves into the depths of various subjects, from science to history, bringing readers well-researched and intriguing insights.

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