🖊 This article was last updated on October 3, 2019
As solopreneurs, we often experience downtimes as we wait for clients, customers or freelancers to get back to us. Instead of twiddling your thumbs, bored, and idle you can make this time count! Here is a list of productive things to do when bored which will not only pass the time but will enrich your working and personal life.
When things are busy in the home office, the takeaway menu on the fridge can be an easy option. When you have time to kill though, make a hearty home-cooked meal. Make more than you need and store it for those busy days when you don’t have time to cook.
It’s not everyone’s go-to activity at the best of times but working in a messy space can make it much harder to concentrate. A clean, clutter-free, fresh working environment will do wonders for your mood and productivity. Give the place a once over with the vacuum cleaner or duster and you’ll see an improvement in focus.
3. Organizing files (paper or digital)
Do you have a growing pile of papers on your desk? Or maybe your desktop looks like a virtual filing cabinet exploded? Put things in order with an easy task that doesn’t take too much brain power.
4. Go for a walk
Getting regular exercise can be tough when you’re focusing on building your business, so when you have been gifted with time, take it outside. A walk in nature can clear your mind, relax and invigorate you. It’s also a great way to get the creative juices flowing again.
5. Do a ‘Power Hour’
Set yourself a challenge and see how many small items on your to-do list you can get through in 60 minutes. Sometimes we’re bored but we have plenty to do!
6. Unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read
Answer honestly, how many of those newsletters you receive do you actually read? Unsubscribing from unread newsletters will help keep your inbox tidy and you won’t feel guilty for not reading them.
7. Reach out to a friend or family member
Take this time to reach out to friends and family members you haven’t heard from in a long time. It’s important to build our businesses but not at the expense of our personal relationships.
8. Write a thank-you note
Hand-written letters are almost a lost art, but they can mean so much. Take the time to say ‘thank you’ with a note is much more personal and will be appreciated much more than a text.
9. Read a book
It doesn’t matter if you pick up a fiction or non-fiction book, something work-related or a novel to escape into, reading is a great way to kill time. It keeps your brain active but in a relaxed way.
10. Continue with a course
If you’re anything like me, you might have the bad habit of buying more courses than you can actually keep up with. Learning will not only keep the boredom at bay, but it will benefit your business in the long run.
TIP: do not “coursecrastinate” by (passively) taking course after course as an excuse for taking action!
11. Watch a TED talk
Instead of watching yet another cute cat video on YouTube, watch something that will add value to your work tactics. TED talks have a wealth of informative, amusing, and educational speakers on a multitude of topics.
12. Listen to a podcast
Just like TED talks, there are countless podcasts to choose from. You don’t have to listen to something work-related, but if you are interested then check out this list of the most popular podcasts for solopreneurs.
13. Do a weekly review
Doing a weekly review and/or brainstorm on ways to improve your business can give you clarity about where you are, what areas you may need to focus on, and allow you to be a more proactive solopreneur.
14. Do a work-out
Even a five minute work-out can give you a huge energy boost. Get up and move! It helps the blood flow and increases oxygen around the body (and to the brain).
Mindful meditation is a great tool for stress relief. Not only does it give you a moment of calm but over time meditation can enhance your mental performance, improve decision making, and increase productivity.
16. Re-organize your calendar
This is a great time-killer for solopreneurs with lots of appointments, deadlines, and meetings. Give your calendar some attention and make sure important dates are synced across all your devices.
17. Clean out your spam folder
Random emails and advertisements can quickly fill up your inbox making it easier to miss the important emails. Go through your inbox and delete anything that doesn’t bring your business value.
18. Take a nap
Having a nap in the middle of your working day can actually boost productivity and concentration. Try to keep your naps to under 30minutes, as any more than that can leave you feeling groggy. Stick to the power naps!
19. Write a journal
You don’t have to do the ‘Dear Diary’ thing but keeping track of your accomplishments and challenges can be a great way to track how far you’ve come.
20. Update your bucket list
Many solopreneurs choose to have their own business so that they have the time to follow their dreams. Updating your bucket list can be a great motivator to keep growing your business!
21. Clean out your pantry
Time to toss out expired products and sort out your shelves and fridge. Small accomplishments like these can act as a little mood-enhancer.
22. Update your apps, software, and operating system
Stop hitting the ‘Later’ button and just do it! It will also help your devices run faster and avoid problems in the future.
23. Take stuff you don’t need to a second-hand store
You know the saying, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. Donating clothing, furniture, or household items can declutter your space, recycle, and help someone out. It’s a win-win situation.
24. Get some errands done
Whether it’s grocery shopping, paying bills, picking up a parcel, whatever errands you have on your list, now is the perfect time to get them done.
25. Practice a new language
Perhaps one of the most productive things to do when bored is to learn a language. There are loads of great language apps such as Duolingo, that make learning easy and fun. Download the app to your phone and just login when you have 5 minutes to spare.
26. Read an article on your favorite blogs
It’s a good idea to keep a folder of articles you want to read, then when boredom strikes you can easily open one up and enjoy. Or head to your favorite blog and take your pick of their latest articles. My go-to blog when I have some extra reading time is Wait But Why.
27. Organize a Spotify playlist
Listening to certain types of music can improve productivity and help you focus. So, why not spend your downtime creating a playlist for work?
What NOT to do when bored?
To be honest, the list of productive things to do when bored is endless but there are a few things that should be avoided, like mindlessly scroll through social media or binge-watching Netflix. While these things may seem enjoyable or relaxing, they don’t add value to your time and can actually kill your productivity.
The time you spend being bored doesn’t have to time wasted. Make time count!