99 Things To Do When You’re Bored
We’ve all been there, especially in the last few years. We’ve been conditioned to see the times between productive tasks as blank space—as a gap that needs to be filled. Or sometimes, boredom is even a barometer of our own overwhelm—it’s a product of having too much to do and not knowing where to start.
While I’d argue boredom isn’t always all that bad for us, there can be a certain discomfort in not knowing how to spend your time. So to get you started, here are 99 ideas for when you’re feeling restless. If you’re looking for things to do with another person (specifically your SO), try these 99 date night ideas instead.
1. Check in on your basic needs. Have you slept? Eaten? Hydrated? Bathed? Sometimes those needs masquerade as boredom and lethargy.
2. Plot out your week in a planner, bullet journal, or even on just a blank piece of printer paper. What are your main priorities in the next seven days? How are you planning to practice self-care each day?
3. Watch a documentary, then keep learning about the topic online if you want to know more.
4. Give yourself a massage.
5. Then give yourself a manicure for a mini-spa experience!
6. Write a letter full of advice to your younger self.
7. Similarly, have a conversation with your inner child. What do they need right now? Who have you become in order to protect and honor them?
8. Give embroidery a go; you can even use yarn and a thick piece of paper if you don’t have anything else on hand.
9. Leave a comment on your favorite YouTube video, TikTok, blog, or Instagram post. Especially when it comes to small creators, comments and shares are really important!
10. Download the Charity Miles app and let your walking, running, or cycling—and turn your miles into money for your favorite charity.
11. Do nothing for two minutes. That’s it.
12. Borrow a cookbook from the library, open it to a random page (or generate a page number using a random number generator) and plan to cook that this evening! Or try this cheeky random recipe generator.
13. Borrow a play script from the library and act out the parts with your friends (or put on your own puppet show!). Shakespeare is usually easy to find.
14. Play this vocab game that donates rice to people in need via the UN World Food Programme.
15. Sprout your own microgreens! You can even try to sprout with any small seeds you have on hand, like chia or flax.
16. Set up a tent in your backyard or living room. Roast marshmallows over the stove or an unscented nontoxic candle if you don’t have a fire pit!
17. If you’re doomscrolling (aren’t we all), why not take that time to unfollow any accounts that make you feel bad about yourself?
19. And speaking of numbers, take a quiz to find out what your Enneagram number is.
20. Craft DIY pet toys to donate to your local animal shelter. (It’s a good idea to call and make sure they’ll accept beforehand!)
21. Give birdwatching a go—here’s how to get started.
22. Learn which fruits and veggies are currently in-season in your area. You can seek out local farms where you can pick them yourself, or just cook a tasty dish or dessert using that ingredient!
23. Hop on your bike or in a car and head to the next town or neighborhood over. Explore the areas you usually pass through.
24. Grab some colorful drawing utensils and play your favorite album; as you listen, draw the emotion of each song. What color, shape, and texture does each song have?
25. And when your favorite song just isn’t long enough—write another verse for it yourself.
26. Explore your interests and join a public Discord community.
27. Send a note to your favorite teacher, whether they’re from your past or present. You can even send a note to your child’s favorite teacher to thank them!
28. Hit the trails with a hike at your nearest park; it can be as simple as a short loop around a pond. Keep an eye out for turtles and frogs, and enjoy the calm that comes with being in nature.
30. Make your own fidget toy instead of purchasing a new one.
31. Write a letter to a friend.
32. Write a letter to your congressperson! You can even call your representatives easily using this website as a resource.
33. Experiment with whatever ingredients you have on hand, and make yourself a creative mocktail.
34. Go to the craft store and get inspired by the tools and materials. You don’t even have to purchase anything; usually just spending time around crafters is enough to get you inspired on what to create when you get home.
35. Find a puzzle at a thrift shop and piece it together; is it complete? You can donate it once you’ve finished it for someone else to enjoy! Or, frame it and add it to your wall art.
36. Curate the photos on your phone. Delete duplicates, create albums of related shots, store ones you’d like to keep, and perhaps print a few of your most memorable ones.
37. Create a care package for a friend or family member who’s going through a difficult time. Think: their favorite beverages, brownie mix in a jar, a cozy candle, or snuggly socks. You can mail it or just drop it off on their doorstep.
38. Or create a care package for yourself! What do you need on difficult days? Set aside self-care items so that next time you have a stressful day, everything you need is in one place.
39. If you live and breathe lists, make a list *of* your lists. Lists you’ve made, or ones you want or need to make. Even use them as prompts for self-discovery, like listing your values, aspirations, or gratitudes.
40. Call a grandparent, parent, sibling or friend just to say hello. Here is a list of conversation topics you can use.
41. Memorize your favorite poem or a beloved monologue. (Especially if no one else is home, it’s really easy to get into full character!)
42. Browse Craigslist for interesting finds—the “curb alerts” section will show you items that are currently free on the roadside. Just bring a friend along and practice safety most of all!
43. Or hop into a no-buy community on Facebook or check out Freecycle. Is there anything that you can offer up to other people in your neighborhood?
44. If you have an old book or magazine on hand, why not try your hand at some blackout poetry?
45. Search for recipes you want to make in the future and create a Pinterest board—or print them out and place them in an easy-to-access binder!
46. Rearrange the furniture in your room or other space in your home.
47. Find a list of drawing prompts, select a random one, and start sketching.
48. Clean and sanitize your phone, laptop, keys, and doorknobs. Cool off with homemade lemonade, or scope out a neighborhood lemonade stand to support.
49. Start planning ahead for gifts you’d like to make, find, or purchase. This is great for the holidays but can be applied year-round for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special days.
50. Prepare a loaf of bread—circle back once it rises, and bake it fresh for dinner! Or if you don’t have yeast on hand, you can use flour and water for a sourdough starter which will be ready in about a week.
51. Create a bowling alley in your hallway using any plastic bottles you have in your recycling bin—fill them with a little water to keep them weighed down! Use whatever ball you have on hand or make your own from rubber bands and tinfoil.
52. Grab a pair of gardening gloves and a trash bag, and go for a litter walk in your neighborhood. Leave your community a little nicer than you found it, and be sure to recycle as appropriate!
53. Get into sleuth mode and find out everything you can—about yourself. Check out your online presence and consider what other people might think about it, or what it might say about you. (Plus, this is a great way to check out if you feel safe with any personal info you have posted online).
54. Cook an elaborate meal, sourced from a cookbook or that saved Instagram post.
55. Lay out on a blanket and cloud gaze. Or stargaze if it’s dark and you don’t have too much light pollution stopping you from seeing the stars.
56. Meditate! Or, try out walking meditation or a mindful soundwalk.
57. Watch a makeup tutorial and try it out—give yourself a look you’ve never had before.
58. Play a mindful video game (Stardew Valley is a calming one available on most platforms).
59. Organize a clothing swap with your friends, family, and neighbors. Or, pull together a communal garage sale and raise money for a charity of your choosing.
60. Check your horoscope. Does it resonate with you? Is there something there that sparks your imagination or your motivation?
61. Tie-dye an old stained t-shirt or blanket you have on hand. There are even natural dyes you can make with produce you might not otherwise eat.
62. Choose a random act of kindness and make someone’s day.
63. Download Duolingo or another language learning app and start studying a new language!
64. Call your local shelters, women’s centers, and volunteer organizations to see what donations or support they need right now. Is there something you can contribute?
65. Find a community fridge and donate to it, or start one in your community.
66. Have a blind date with a book.
67. Write a haiku about a tiny scene in your home, like the flowers wilting on the table, the dishes drying in sunlight, or yesterday’s tea mug on the nightstand.
68. If your surroundings don’t feel inspiring right now, head over to Window Swap and take in someone else’s view.
70. If you have a special interest, consider starting a blog or a Substack newsletter about it. Get writing!
71. Sit outside, and don’t bring your phone with you. Practice being alone without distracting yourself, and look at the world around you.
72. Take a nap—make it nice for yourself with a cozy blanket, some white noise, and a sleep mask.
73. Make a playlist with a specific person, theme, or core song in mind.
74. Remove all your clothes from your closet, dresser, and seasonal storage. Only put back what you truly love—then donate or recycle the rest depending on their condition.
75. Grab a spray bottle and spritz your houseplants; this is a good time to re-acquaint yourself with which types of plants you’re growing and what their needs are.
76. Check in on your finances; are there any charges you’re unfamiliar with? Is there an area you want to spend less (or even more) in? And are you using all the subscriptions you’re paying for?
77. Clear off your desktop and remove any old or distracting apps from your phone. Top it off with fresh new wallpaper and take a sigh of relief that everything is back in order!
78. Find your literary community online through apps like Copper—and be sure to write reviews of books you’ve already read.
79. Record a voice note for yourself as an audio journal entry, or record a funny story and send to a friend.
80. What haircut or style would you have if you didn’t feel pressure to look a certain way? Create a moodboard of it, and contemplate it—life’s too short to have a hairstyle you don’t love.
81. If that style isn’t currently accessible to you, put on a DIY hair mask and take care of your locks as they already are.
82. Cut images out of magazines, newspapers, and even junk mail and make a collage. There are no rules, just put together pieces you like!
83. Organize a few of your favorite belongings in a beautiful spot in your home. Capture a still life with a camera, or even paint the scene.
84. Or, take your camera (or phone) on a photo walk and snapshots of interesting sights you see. Look for the little surprises, they’re almost always there if you pay attention.
85. Think about what you most want in your future, whether it’s short- or long-term. Write your hopes in a journal and practice manifestation.
86. Write out your perfect day, scheduled down to the minute. What are you already doing? Is there a facet of that you can begin to practice right now?
87. Gather your emergency preparedness supplies and make a kit. Take note of what you still might need to have on hand. Then make a plan with your family, it never hurts to be prepared!
88. Re-educate yourself about your body and its functions. Do you know how a menstrual cycle works, or how the food we eat gets digested?
89. Ask yourself if your boredom is actually concealing something you’ve been procrastinating. Is there a small step you can take today to make progress on that task?
90. Give yourself a pep talk! Practice some affirmations in the mirror, or write some encouraging notes to place around the house.
91. Go through your cosmetics and get rid of anything that’s old, expired, or that you no longer use.
92. Learn a simple macrame pattern and make yourself a hanging planter with materials you have on hand.
93. Watch a TED Talk that sounds inspiring to you.
94. Process your inbox down to zero, and unsubscribe from unnecessary emails. While this isn’t always a fun activity, there’s so much relief in seeing fewer notifications.
95. Head out on a walk or grab a craft project and listen to a fiction podcast.
97. Do some research and find if there’s a volunteer opportunity online that you’d enjoy spending time on.
98. Check your breath. Sometimes boredom comes because we’re particularly disconnected from ourselves and our bodies. Re-establish yourself with a little breathing exercise, a squeeze of your arm, or a few moments of gentle stretching.
99. And finally, if all of the above fails, just take a moment to rest. We do not have to fill our hours to the brim with engagement; we are allowed to simply spend time in the here and now.
Emily Torres is the Editorial Director at The Good Trade. Born and raised in Indiana, she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her in her colorful Los Angeles apartment journaling, caring for her rabbits, or gaming.