How to Avoid Being Bored When You Have Nothing to Do

Sometimes, it may seem impossible to avoid feeling bored. Maybe you feel stuck in familiar habits, or maybe there is no one around to hang out with. Luckily for you, boredom is just a way of thinking, and you can easily change that. Avoid boredom by getting curious about the world around you, trying something new, or challenging yourself to learn a new skill. Whether you are at home or in a public setting with nothing to do, there are countless different ways to break out of a boring mood.

EditSteps

EditCuring Boredom at Home

  1. Learn a game on days when the weather forces you to stay inside. Knowing how to play various card games or some compact boardgames, like portable checkers or chess, also comes in handy when you have long car rides, or for when the electricity goes out. There are plenty of simple and fun games you can learn to play with your friends or by yourself.[1]
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    • Grab some friends or family members to play classic board games like Monopoly, Candy Land, or Pictionary. Challenge people to a complex game of Settlers of Catan or Scrabble.
    • Turn on a gaming console if you have access to one, and revisit an old game you haven’t played in a while. Simulator games like “Sims” are great to play on days when you are bored because the gaming experience is different each time you play.
    • Card games are portable and can be played anywhere. If you want to play a card game by yourself, learn how to play solitaire, mahjong solitaire, or spider solitaire. If you have someone who will play cards with you, try games like go-fish, gin rummy, or poker.
    • Play short, silly games that don’t require any tools like charades or chopsticks.
  2. Start learning a new language that has always interested you. Go to your local library and check out some books on how to get started, or watch tutorials online to help master some basic words and phrases. Maybe you want to learn Spanish or Japanese as a second language.[2]
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    • Learning a new language engages your brain, which can lead to new opportunities and entertainment. It also gives you something to study or do during downtime.
  3. Learn to play an instrument to give you something to practice. Get involved with some local instrument classes at a recreation center, or find tutorials online that will teach you the basics and how to read sheet music. Pick an instrument that excites you like the guitar, bass, or even the tuba.[3]
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    • Study different techniques from various musicians, and pick a method of learning that best suits you. For example, if you want to learn how to play the guitar, you can spend your time listening to new guitarists to study their technique.
  4. Find a new television show or movie to watch when you want to relax. Specifically look for old shows that you can marathon watch, or watch over the span of several weeks. Shows that you can continuously watch will keep you engaged longer, and pass more time.[4]
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    • Watch a new television show, movie or web series using providers like YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime. Depending on your region, you might be able to watch some programs for free or sign up for a free trial.
  5. Listen to new music that excites you to liven up boring tasks. Most people listen to familiar music passively, hearing it in the background while doing other things. Update your playlist by finding new music to listen to. Find music that makes you want to get up and dance or music that will help pass time while doing household chores or while walking from place to place. This will make listening to music more of an activity and less of an ambiance.[5]
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    • Searching for new music on Pandora, Spotify, Songza, or other music apps is a great way to get new songs similar to the ones you love.
    • Try out podcasts, which are free radio programs you can download off iTunes. They cover comedy, news, music, entertainment, and much more.
  6. Get crafty by making decorations that will serve a purpose in your home. Look around for art supplies, scraps of fabric, or any small objects you can improvise with to make an art project. This can be a fun way to pass the time, and you might end up with a new house decoration.[6]
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    • Consider making a holiday or seasonal wreath for your front door, painting some pottery for a new herb garden, or transforming your seashell collection into a beautiful sounding wind chime.
    • Make sure to also stock up on crafting materials for the next time you’re bored. If you are often looking for something to do at home, take some time to pick out some arts and crafts supplies. You don’t need to devote yourself to perfecting a new hobby, although you certainly can. Just try out a few different crafts, such as pottery or bead jewelry, until you find one that enjoyably passes the time.
    • If you are more interested in house improvement or DIY repairs, pick up a new skill such as carpentry or roof repair.
  7. Try out a new recipe for dinner and invite some friends over to taste it. If you like cooking for fun, or have never tried it before, find a new recipe to experiment with. Flip through a cookbook or online recipe collection like FoodGawker. When your creation is complete, have some friends over, and share the results with others.[7]
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  8. Bake cookies or other simple desserts to destress. Many people bake when they’re bored or stressed, especially in the evening when tension from a long day has accumulated. This is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and keep yourself entertained. You can find hundreds of cookie recipes online or in cookbooks.[8]
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    • Instead of a standard chocolate chip or oatmeal cookie, be adventurous and make a dessert you have never tried before. Combine chocolate, peanut butter, and cream cheese for a delicious parfait. Be bold and see what dessert you can make with dry ramen noodles, or fry up a ravioli cookie for a sweet and crunchy treat.

EditAvoiding Boredom in a Public Setting

  1. Read the latest news to stay current and entertained. Read particular news articles that interest you, or select articles that actually pertain to the work you do. Maybe do some research on some software you believe would benefit your personal workflow and pitch it to your boss, or get ahead on some research for a school project you know is coming up.[9]
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    • Look on major outlets like CNN, MSNBC or NY Times for breaking news, or read from a favorite online magazine for more personal features.
  2. Start a writing project to exercise your imagination and creativity. Writing is an inconspicuous activity you can do anywhere. Bring a pencil and paper with you everywhere. A small notepad and pencil is an inexpensive combination that can provide endless entertainment on the go. Simply slip it into your purse or back pocket and pull it out when you feel restless to write or doodle something.[10]
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    • If you’re interested in writing, but can’t think of anything to write, try a freewrite or a stream of consciousness exercise. These might lead you to an idea for a more structured story, play, or poem.
    • Look up writing prompts online to spark an idea, or challenge yourself to write a story with an artificial constraint, such as only using one-syllable words.
  3. Download a mobile game you can play to pass the time. Simple mobile games and other entertainment-based apps are great to fill the time while standing in line or waiting for a class to start. Pick free games like Candy Crush or Animal Crossing that have in-game restrictions to pass small increments of time, or download more involved games like Clash of Clans or Pokemon Go to pass larger spans of time.[11]
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    • The internet is full of free online games that will allow you to play solo or with an online community. Visit trustworthy websites with large collections, such as Kongregate, Armor Games, or MoFunZone. These sites are good to use while at home or at a friends house.
  4. Engage in online social platforms to feel connected to other people. Scroll through your feeds on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and chat with friends and family. Try finding something new on community platforms like Reddit and search topics that interest you.[12]
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    • Check out the “Today I Learned” (TIL) section on Reddit if you aren’t sure what to specifically search for. This section is constantly updated by community members with interesting facts, and funny tidbits.
  5. Discover a new webcomic or story online that you can read on the go. Thousands of writers and artists put stories and comics online for free, and many of them have archives going back for years. Use collections like Top Web Comics and FanFiction.Net to browse the top-rated webcomics and stories. Bookmark a few stories you think you will enjoy, and read them when you have nothing to do during school or work.[13]
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    • Once you find a website you like, check to see if the company has a mobile app or a way for you to download the story on your phone. This way, you can even read it offline and save mobile data.

EditBeing Entertained Outside

  1. Chat with your neighbors to get know people in your community. Depending on where you are, talking with some of your neighbors may be the best way to avoid boredom. Pay them a compliment, make a comment about your surroundings (the weather, the train, a street musician), or simply introduce yourself if you have never formally met them.[14]
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    • You never know what you will learn from your neighbors, and what opportunities getting to know them might bring. Maybe you will find out they enjoy gardening as much as you do, or that they can play the guitar and will give your free lessons.
  2. Develop an exercise routine that will get you out of the house. You can go to a local gym or community center and develop a personal exercise routine by doing push-ups, sit-ups, and weightlifting for you to work on by yourself. Grab a few friends to go bike riding, skateboarding, or to just get outside and play in the park.[15]
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    • Consider a more structured exercise routine with physical activities like dancing, yoga, or running. Doing more structured physical activities may even lead you to make new friends.
    • Exercising may not be easy when you first start out, especially if you aren’t normally active. People who exercise with someone who has a similar fitness level and similar fitness goals are more likely to enjoy themselves and stick to regular exercise.
  3. Join a local sport to meet people with similar interests. This is a great way to fill up empty weekends, especially if you enjoy spending time with people. If you have always wanted to play on a baseball or volleyball team, see if your community has a recreational team. They are usually low-key, weekly games that get you out of the house easily.[16]
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    • Contact your local Department of Parks and Recreation and ask about local sports leagues for both children and adults. The easiest way to contact the department would be over the telephone or online. The website might even have a sports schedule posted.
    • If your community does not offer recreational sports, arrange a group of friends to play a pick-up game or other outdoor game. Try out games like ultimate frisbee or capture the flag.
  4. Pick up gardening to give yourself something to tend to on a daily basis. Tending to plants is very relaxing, makes you feel connected to the earth, and requires almost daily care. Go to your local hardware store to pick up seeds and topsoil to build a garden in your backyard, or purchase small, windowsill potted plants or herbs to care for easily inside.[17]
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    • Growing fruits or vegetables is also a great way to mix up your diet with new foods.
  5. Engage in daily outdoor activities like walking or hiking. Getting out of the house for 30 minutes or an hour each day can change your outlook for the better. When you take a lunch break, bring your sandwich with you on a walk or an impromptu picnic. This may clear your head and stop you feeling stir crazy.[18]
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    • On a hike or on other long outdoor trips, try bringing a book to keep yourself entertained if you get tired or bored of physical activity. Also, limit your use of electronic devices as they make it difficult to enjoy natural surroundings.
    • If you have an outdoor pet, taking it for a walk or playing with it at a park is a great way to break out of a bored state of mind.
  6. Volunteer with a local community service to help those in need. This is a great way to meet new people and get out of the house, and it’s completely free. Call your local community center, SPCA, American Cancer Society, or college campus and ask about volunteering opportunities. You can also go online to look up what volunteer organizations are local to your area.[19]
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  7. Mix up your social life with something new or surprising. A boring nightlife is usually the result of a stale social scene. When you see the same people at the same bar, movie theater, or restaurant every weekend, things can get dull. Go to a new dance club, see live theater, or go camping to try something new and eliminate the boredom from your nightly routine.[20]
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    • Look up a calendar of events in your local newspaper or stop by your community center to see what major events are going on in your town. Search online to see if any local schools, clubs, or other organizations that interest you have a calendar of scheduled events.
  8. Camp out in your backyard to change your sleeping environment. Simply sleeping under the stars can be a new and entertaining experience that will eliminate boredom in a heartbeat. Watch the stars, listen to the sounds of night animals, and enjoy the fresh, cool air under the moonlight with family and friends. If the weather conditions are good, the most you might need is a simple sleeping bag and a pillow to enjoy a night under the stars.[21]
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    • Just make sure to check the weather before committing to sleeping outside to avoid getting rained on.

EditStopping Boredom before It Happens

  1. Use your imagination to transform your environment. Regardless of your environment, your brain is always around to entertain you. Your imagination can take you on wondrous adventures, or even spark an idea for a new hobby. Never underestimate the power of your imagination, and what you can create with it.[22]
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    • Try creating an imaginary world. You can spend countless hours imagining what the inhabitants look like or do, and even imagine new animals or a new ecosystem. This can be a silly project for an afternoon or the beginning of a new story or series of art pieces.
  2. Be curious about the world around you by exploring your town. A curious mind can easily avoid boredom by simply taking an interest in something new. An easy place to start is to explore and examine your community. You might just discover something you never knew about your town, and it may lead to ideas for new activities.[23]
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    • Wonder about the architecture around your town. How was that building designed? Who painted the graffiti down the street? What techniques went into making the clothes in the window?
  3. Act spontaneously to break familiar habits or patterns. Overthinking the situation is often a big blockade to getting over boredom. Trying to find the “perfect” activity is a sure-fire way to do no activity at all, so stop thinking and do something. Try being spontaneous and divert from your typical habits or thinking patterns. Being spontaneous lends your life an air of surprise that makes everything less boring.[24]
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    • Call a friend you haven’t spoken with and see if they want to hang out.
    • Put on shoes and go walking, and turn into the café you’ve always wanted to try.
  4. Practice mindful meditation to avoid becoming bored easily. It is easy to become bored or restless when standing in line, waiting for a friend, or during other short periods of time when you can’t find an activity. Sometimes, distracting yourself by reading a book or using your cell phone is not enough to cure this problem. Meditation is the art of focusing on your thoughts and mind, and enjoying the little things around you instead of feeling restless or bored.[25]
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