50 Productive Things to Do When Bored at Work
Even on the most jam-packed days, you will find yourself with a few odd breaks on your hands. Whether you’re early to a meeting, just finished a doozy of a task, or trying to ease into the day, there are always minutes-long gaps to turn your boredom into productive moments.
Highly-productive people get so much done because they make a conscious and committed effort to do the little things every day that lead to progress.
Think of this list as a resource to give you a few ideas on how to do the same! But with your own personal spin. 🤗
Work primarily exists online for both in-person and remote teams. And while you can’t escape screen-time entirely, we chose these particular 50 ways to turn boredom into productivity because they either require you to step away from your monitor, reduce stress and anxiety in some way, or both. 💜
At this very moment, you might even be reading this post while on a lag at work—which is great! Continue on for more ways to turn these extra minutes of your day into something you can be proud of.
- 50 Productive things to do when bored
- 1. Get organized with a productivity app like ClickUp!
- 2. Tend to your email inbox!
- 3. Clean your physical workspace
- 4. Organize your computer and desktop
- 5. Update your computer
- 6. Set up a life binder
- 7. Eliminate distractions
- 8. Tackle your closet
- 9. Conquer the small tasks you’ve been putting off for days, weeks, or months
- 10. Review your budget, investments, and savings
- 🛀🏼 Anything and everything ✨self-care✨
- 11. Drink some water
- 12. Tend to your plants
- 13. Embrace your free time and make it ‘me time’
- 14. Upgrade your morning routine
- 15. Move your body
- 16. Meditate or pray
- 17. Go on a walk
- 🧠 Check in with your present and future self
- 18. Meal plan
- 19. Revisit your New Year’s resolutions
- 20. Make your daily to-do list
- 21. Write in a journal
- 🌱 Personal and professional development
- 22. Take a personality or communication style quiz
- 23. Take initiative at work
- 24. Update your resume or LinkedIn profile
- 25. Start a blog
- 26. Improve your recall
- 27. Catch up on your industry or world news
- 28. Practice your current skills
- 29. Learn a new skill
- 30. Get motivated
- 31. Read
- 32. Watch a TED Talk
- 🎶 Serotonin boosters (AKA good old fashioned fun)
- 33. Make a productivity playlist
- 34. Jam out to your favorite song
- 35. Treat yourself!
- 36. Plan your next vacay, stay-cay, or weekend getaway
- 37. Scope out a new location to work or study
- 🎨 Get in touch with your creative side
- 38. Connect with your artistic interests
- 39. Begin a DIY project
- 40. Start a new hobby
- 41. Pick up a side hustle
- 42. Collect and preserve your favorite memories
- 43. Create a vision or inspiration board
- ☎️ Phone a friend (or colleague, or family member)
- 44. Catch up with a family member or old friend
- 45. Schedule coffee with a colleague or friend
- 46. Network online
- 47. Write an email to a coworker
- 48. Reach out to potential clients
- 🏼 Doing some good
- 49. Shop small
- 50. Random acts of kindness
- Start seizing the day with ClickUp!
50 Productive things to do when bored
Quick disclaimer: what you won’t find on this list is a suggestion to fire up Netflix or Hulu, or scroll through social media—those options won’t do much for you in the long run. What we hope you gain from this post is the notion that little choices in our day make all the difference!
Be mindful of how you spend your extra minutes because that’s where actual growth happens.
And on a more practical note, we’ve broken down each item into categories to help you easily navigate this beast of a list. Enjoy! 😊
1. Get organized with a productivity app like ClickUp!
If you’re not already organizing yourself with an online platform, it’s time to start. These apps can help you create and stick to habits that will take you miles in your personal and professional spheres.
If you ditched your daily planner to avoid lugging it around to coffee shops, errands, and meetings, you will love the convenience of having that same information available via your phone or laptop. 🙌🏼
Set SMART goals, create SWOT matrices, make checklists, schedule your week, and strategize with a single tool built to handle all of that and so much more, ClickUp!
ClickUp is an all-in-one task management solution used to tackle everything from complex projects to simple to-do’s. Whether you’re a task manager, a student juggling assignments, or a parent composing your grocery list, ClickUp offers hundreds of customizable features to help you get things in order.
ClickUp features guaranteed to spark joy
🎨 ClickUp Whiteboards: Fill the extra minutes in your day with an infinite canvas to draw, write, and express yourself on! Get started with a template or even invite colleagues to play along with the ice breaker game, Animal Drawing Battle, to lighten the work mood.
✅ Nested Checklists: Stay on top of even the smallest of to-do’s and make sure no stone goes unturned with nested checklists that can be assigned to others and organized by a simple drag and drop. So satisfying. 😌
🏅 ClickUp Goals: Set personal goals for yourself or professional goals for the team with ClickUp’s highly visual Goals feature that can update automatically, making it easier than ever to see how close you are to your targets.
📄 ClickUp Docs: Create the perfect Doc, wiki, or knowledge base with a ton of styling options to make your writing stand out—then share your work with anyone via URL.
📝 ClickUp Notepad and Chrome Extension: Jot down quick ideas or your daily chores on ClickUp’s digital Notepad and download ClickUp’s Chrome Extension to access your Notepad, track time, and create a task from virtually anywhere on the web.
And there is still so much more ClickUp can do for you, and for free! Learn more about the platform, how it stacks up against its other alternatives, and a ton of additional free resources on the ClickUp Blog.
2. Tend to your email inbox!
It’s almost scary how easy it is to let your email inbox get out of hand. But much like the relentless power of mother nature, if left to its own devices, your inbox can quickly grow beyond your means of control if you don’t tend to it daily.
Simply put: start decluttering your inbox wherever you can.
Archive the messages that have already been opened and addressed, snooze the messages that can wait for another day, and trash everything that is simply taking up space.
If you really want to get into it, create folders to organize your emails based on the category of their content. Not ready to part with that 25% off email coupon from your favorite store? File it away. Hesitant to delete the confirmation email for next week’s Suns game? File that away too.
Every message has a place, and you’ll feel lighter just knowing where to find them.
3. Clean your physical workspace
Reducing physical clutter has the same impact on your mental clarity.
Sort and store the notes and documents strewn across your desk, toss the sticky notes stuck on your monitor that are no longer relevant, then wipe down your surfaces. Allow yourself to start with a truly clean slate, down to your screens and keyboard.
And if you need some inspo on what this looks like IRL, we asked our ClickUp team to show us their own tidy desks:
It’s not that we’re clean freaks, we’re just organizationally obsessed. 💜
That’s why we couldn’t pick just one to share!
…BTW, if you’re anything like me and typically eat your snacks at your desk, you might want to wipe down your mouse for good measure. 👀🖱
4. Organize your computer and desktop
Having a custom desktop image can add some much-needed happiness to your day, but make sure your desktop screen is clean of stray files and downloads so you can see it!
If your desktop’s real estate is hotter than the US housing market right now, try consensing individual files into relevant folders by category or department, and trash whatever simply doesn’t belong.
Pro tip: remember to empty your computer trash, too! 🚮
5. Update your computer
To keep things running fast, check for any updates!
If you find yourself with 20 minutes of downtime, check your About This Mac tab from the apple-icon dropdown in the top left corner of your screen. Chrome, Evernote, Grammarly, and other plug-ins are also constantly updating to ensure they’re performing at peak proficiency! Are you overdue for an app refresh? 🔄
6. Set up a life binder
This might not sound thrilling, but you will be so glad you did it!
Compile a binder or folder with important documents, numbers, passwords, and contacts that you always seem to forget or misplace. Keep everything together to avoid combing through your desk drawers the next time you need to re-enter that wifi pin number you set up five years ago.
7. Eliminate distractions
More than just your physical workspace, how can you declutter your living space? If you work from home, you might be working in the same place where you sleep, have lunch, read, and meal prep.
Improving the overall functionality of a space becomes even more important as you reduce your square footage, but small changes to organize or improve the feel of your major living areas can have a positive ripple effect on how you feel during both your personal and professional time.
And it doesn’t have to take long!
Start with the dishes or quickly wipe down your surfaces, then, you can start thinking more critically about what larger functional changes you want to make. Consult the principles of feng shui to ensure your changes are intentional and proven to help you boost remote work productivity.
8. Tackle your closet
This gets its own mention because it is a huge task. Beyond organizing (by color, sleeve length, season, or all three), what can you downsize?
Creating the additional space can remind you of clothing you used to love but had since forgotten or reveal the staple items your wardrobe still needs.
This is also a great time to pick out a few go-to outfits to eliminate daily decision fatigue and the stress of getting dressed in the morning—particularly when you’re running behind!
But more importantly, consider donating your unwanted pieces or taking them to a consignment shop to give them new life!
9. Conquer the small tasks you’ve been putting off for days, weeks, or months
Clean out your car, update your registration, wash your makeup brushes, or re-season your cast iron—we all have that “thing” that we know will only take a few minutes, but can’t bring ourselves to do.
10. Review your budget, investments, and savings
And if you don’t have a personal budget already, make one!
Even if it’s just a list of major monthly expenses or subscriptions, this can help you take any element of surprise out of your finances. It can be scary to open your banking app every day, but it will help you make smarter spending decisions and bring you peace of mind.
The spare moments in your day could also be used to review and manage financial options like your 401K, or any matching opportunities your company is participating in! A little can go a long way. 💜
🛀🏼 Anything and everything ✨self-care✨
Healthy habits lead to a healthier lifestyle (on the inside and the outside). Start here for tips and tricks to improve your mental and physical health during the extra minutes of your day.
11. Drink some water
Seriously, how much water have you had today?
12. Tend to your plants
It feels good to care for something, and if you don’t have a pet, a plant is a solid starting point.
Take a pause in your day to clean its leaves, give it a spritz, and place it in the sun for a few minutes. Plus, plants clean the air through photosynthesis and improve stress levels.
But if you do have a pet, make sure the plant is either non-toxic to animals or out of their little reach. 🐶
13. Embrace your free time and make it ‘me time’
This could be anything that simply makes you feel good. Your “me time” is precious! Use it wisely. Think “self-care” but without any major rules or judgment to hold you back.
Whether you work from home or on-site, there’s a real value in feeling good about yourself and how those positive feelings translate into your work ethic.
Paint your nails, pop open a soda water on the patio, put on a hydrating face mask, or—hot take—just let yourself feel bored for a second. Life can move pretty fast, allow yourself the space to pause and do nothing because boredom breeds creativity! Return to your tasks from this break feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
14. Upgrade your morning routine
Healthy habits breed a healthy lifestyle—and health is wealth! Take pride in those little rituals that help you start your day in the best way possible, and prioritize even the smallest daily acts that put you in a good mood.
A productive day starts with a full night’s sleep and a big glass of water. Before you leave for work or sit down at your desk, can you fit in an easy walk or a nutritious meal to complement your morning coffee? Bonus points if you can get through your routine without checking your phone. 🧖🏼♀️
15. Move your body
Stretch, do yoga, or exercise, even at your desk!
Chair yoga does exist, so the excuse of feeling limited at your office cubicle does not count here. There are plenty of YouTube and fitness blogs that offer free resources to access and follow from virtually anywhere.
Sitting in a desk chair, walking in heeled shoes, and working over a keyboard for hours at a time can do a real number on your hips, shoulders, neck, and back—but you’ll never regret the few minutes a day you spend correcting those habits. No matter how big or small the movements feel at the moment, it’s working!
16. Meditate or pray
Meditation is fabulous and the benefits are endless! As little as 10 minutes of daily meditation can help you manage stress, increase self-awareness, focus on the present, reduce negative emotions, and gain a new perspective.
What they don’t tell you though, is that meditation is actually pretty challenging!
Streaming platforms including YouTube, Spotify, and wellness apps like Headspace are great places to start if you’re new to meditation. Try guided meditation and shop around for ones you like! There are tons of types of meditation too, so there’s definitely one for you out there.
17. Go on a walk
Your dog is going to love this one.
It sounds almost too easy, but walking for at least 30 minutes each day packs a ton of powerful mental and physical health benefits. Like Robert Frost’s famous walks in the woods, taking a daily stroll can help clear your mind, boost your mood, improve the quality of your sleep, reduce stress, and benefit your overall self-perception. Seriously, what is there to lose?
Walking is also a great way to break away from your everyday bubble. Explore a new area in your neighborhood or city, and challenge yourself by either leaving your AirPods at home or testing out a new productivity podcast or audiobook.
🧠 Check in with your present and future self
Start by asking:
- How am I feeling?
- How would I describe myself?
- What are my goals?
Now consider how you’d like to answer those questions next week, a month from now, or even several years down the line.
18. Meal plan
Do you always seem to forget that one thing you really needed from the store every time you go?
Take the guesswork out of what you’ll buy, what you’ll do with it, and how much you’ll actually consume in a week by making a list beforehand! Write down a few balanced recipes for each daily meal and a snack that you are sure to enjoy. Then construct your grocery list around those key ingredients.
Especially if you’re someone who spends a considerable amount of time during your lunch break just staring into your fridge, give your future self a healthy nudge by making your meal-prepped options the obvious choice.
19. Revisit your New Year’s resolutions
Where are you with your long-term or quarterly goals?
This is a great opportunity to reflect and give yourself a little pat on the back for the growth you’ve worked hard for. And if you’re not quite as far along as you hoped you’d be, there’s no time like the present to re-assess and make new strategic choices.
20. Make your daily to-do list
Write down everything you have going on today and include more than just your work-related tasks. Need to take out the trash? Do the dishes? Wash your face? Load it up on your to-do list.
Sometimes the hardest part of the day is just getting started, but allowing yourself that thrill of crossing even the smallest thing off of your list can boost your productivity in all the right places.
And you don’t have to do it alone! Let a to-do list app do the heavy lifting for you with enough flexibility to keep up with your busy day. From daily tasks to grocery lists, simple reminders, and more, you can lean on productivity platforms like ClickUp for every item on your calendar.
Not to mention, you’ll never have to worry about leaving your list at home! Access your lists from your desktop, mobile phone, or browser tab.
21. Write in a journal
Our CEO, Zeb Evans, swears by this.
Reflect on your day, latest achievements, thoughts, feelings, and things you’re grateful for. Journal writing is also the perfect place to begin manifesting your future self!
A fresh blank page can feel intimidating, but the good news is, there’s no wrong way to journal. Write down quotes or mantras that are important to you, craft a letter to yourself, list your goals, and start sculpting the person you want to become.
Here are some of our favorite quotes about teamwork to help you get inspired!
🌱 Personal and professional development
Small productive things that make a big difference at home, at work, and in your relationships.
22. Take a personality or communication style quiz
This can not only teach you something new about yourself but help you better understand your peers too. Knowing how people like to be spoken to and how to work with them will take you far in every aspect of your life. Here are a few to get you started:
- The 16 Personalities test by NERIS
- Communication Style Quiz by Leadership IQ
- The RHETI test by The Enneagram Institute
- 5 Love Languages quiz
Plus, it’s interesting! Any other campaigners out there? 🙋🏼♀️
23. Take initiative at work
If you’ve got the bandwidth, this is the perfect time to lend a hand and pick up an extra responsibility, especially if the rest of your team is swamped. Or if you’re full of ideas and not sure what to do with them, bring them together in a proposal or presentation and “wow” your boss with your proactivity and eye for detail!
24. Update your resume or LinkedIn profile
When was the last time you even looked at your resume?
It’s easier to update your resume or CV while your work responsibilities are fresh in your mind. It’s also a bit of an ego-booster to think of all the ways that you add value to your team. Don’t be afraid to brag about your professional accomplishments because trust me, everyone else is doing it too. 😎
25. Start a blog
Share your expertise and start a blog, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to give! These days there are a ton of AI writing tools to help you overcome writer’s block.
26. Improve your recall
Exercise your brain with sudokus, crosswords, trivia, and memory games! It’s like trivia night, just without the buffalo wings. 🙂
27. Catch up on your industry or world news
Staying on top of what’s going on in the world or the latest new way your industry is innovating is a great way to keep you feeling grounded at work and ready for the day—it can also help supplement your water cooler talk! Even better, it doesn’t have to take longer than 10 minutes a day to get caught up.
Look for a daily email newsletter that you actually enjoy reading like Morning Brew or Axios to eliminate the time you would otherwise spend piecing the information together yourself!
28. Practice your current skills
There’s always room to improve upon the skills you already have, and practicing is a great way to stay sharp with your technical abilities. Try a few practice problems or queries to turn your extra free time into yet another opportunity to maintain your edge.
Especially if you currently hold the record for most consecutive cornhole tosses in the office, make sure that title is still yours.
29. Learn a new skill
Down the same vein, what are the skills you’ve been wanting to learn but never pursued? Take an online course, watch a tutorial, or start a new certification—you don’t have to be working toward a new degree to gain a valuable tool. Learning a new skill could take as little as an hour or maybe require a few quick minutes a day, but you’ll never know until you simply start!
30. Get motivated
Watch a motivational video, listen to a productivity podcast, or pick up a personal development book to help you kick things into high gear.
Lucky for you, we’ve created a list of our favorite productivity podcasts to give you a head start on your search.
It’s been said that starting your day with 15 minutes of reading can help you feel more focused. Look for something enriching! Choose titles with substantive tips that will help you move forward in some area of your life.
P.S. audiobooks do count. 😉
32. Watch a TED Talk
This might sound like the responsible person’s way of procrastinating, but TED Talks are definitely more nourishing for your brain than whatever is on Netflix right now, so we are giving this the green light. 🚦
Plus, there are a lot of TED videos. Seriously, a lot. Look for the mini-lectures that speak to your interests, passion, work, or relationships. When you start investing time in improving parts of yourself, everyone around you feels it too! Which is kind of a beautiful thing. Taking those first steps under the guidance of some of the best educators that TED has to offer is a no-brainer place to start.
On the flip side of that thought, your selection also doesn’t have to be that deep! Take your mind off of whatever is weighing you down by watching one of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s many TED appearances. 🚀
🎶 Serotonin boosters (AKA good old fashioned fun)
This is my favorite section. 💃🏼
33. Make a productivity playlist
Does total silence ever feel a little too quiet? 🧐
There are tons of playlists, stations, and artists perfect for boosting your concentration. Whether you are a long-time lofi follower or love to listen to the Harry Potter movie’s score, take a few free minutes to compile your favorite focus music to avoid wasting time skipping songs or getting distracted.
34. Jam out to your favorite song
I highly recommend everything on this playlist by our very own DJ Rod and Joey Cox!
35. Treat yourself!
To coffee! For lunch! A snack!
36. Plan your next vacay, stay-cay, or weekend getaway
Have a productivity planning day! Use this as an opportunity to be a tourist in your own city! You don’t have to dip into your savings for a little fun. Do a little daydreaming and give yourself something exciting to look forward to at the end of the week.
37. Scope out a new location to work or study
This is a great way to shake up the day and change your surroundings. The days can easily run together when you’re simply traveling from your bed to your home office and the couch, day in and day out, but checking out a new local spot can help give you a fresh outlook on your tasks.
And if you’re anything like me, it also gives you a reason to brush your hair. 💇🏼♀️
🎨 Get in touch with your creative side
Ideas to express yourself in ways you might not have thought of before.
38. Connect with your artistic interests
There are infinite ways to get creative during the day, but hear me out on this: start by getting a coloring book. Just do it.
39. Begin a DIY project
Your home is your oasis! Even if you’re a renter, there are tons of quick and easy DIY projects that can help you spruce up your space for little-to-no cost.
These projects are also a great way to boost your confidence as a reminder that you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to. Get in the habit of being proactive and creating the change you want to see around you by turning your house into the home of your dreams.
40. Start a new hobby
One of my favorite quotes of the moment is “you don’t have to be good at your hobbies.” The unrealistic expectation of needing to be good at everything you do has the potential to hold you back from so many things that you might actually love but have never tried.
Experiment with making your own cocktails to round out the workday, learn to crochet, try a new recipe, or start playing the ukulele. Doing something because it makes you happy is the only reason you need to keep on doing it.
41. Pick up a side hustle
…But if you are good at a particular hobby, can you turn it into a passion project?
42. Collect and preserve your favorite memories
Personal share: I recently went through my camera roll and selected about 100 of my favorite photos to print off with no intention of framing. That stack of 4×6 pictures now lives at my desk, and I pick it up almost every day.
Most of them are of friends, places, pets, family, or just good memories that make me smile. 🥲
You can take this same sentiment and make it your own through a single framed desk photo, a picture wall, or even an album as an easy reminder of the little things that make all your hard work worth it!
43. Create a vision or inspiration board
This is a common craft to do around the turn of the year but it’s never too late to start! Especially since vision boards typically portray your inspiration for the present-day version of yourself or ideas for the immediate future.
Take a look through Pinterest, your favorite magazines, and blogs for images, words, and role models that convey the values you want to keep at the forefront of your mind on a daily basis.
Also, what a cute thing to decorate your workspace with!
☎️ Phone a friend (or colleague, or family member)
Seriously, have you spoken to another human being today? Pick up the phone or take a stroll across your office to make those quick but important connections throughout your day.
44. Catch up with a family member or old friend
If you can’t chat right away, set up another time to talk that works for you both! Scheduling can be tough but there’s always time to reconnect with someone you love.
45. Schedule coffee with a colleague or friend
Break up the weekday and hit “refresh” on your brain with a conversation that doesn’t have to do with your work tasks. This also goes for Zoom! If your team is remote, throw 15-min on your coworker’s calendar as a fun surprise. ☕️
46. Network online
Poke around some of your favorite platforms for upcoming seminars or sign up for a networking event to meet other peers in your industry. There are also plenty of forums, pages, and online groups to help you connect with new people in your professional community in the way you’re most comfortable!
47. Write an email to a coworker
Is there someone at your company who you admire but have never met? Or maybe someone across departments with a job you’d like to learn more about—send them a message! You’ll never know until you ask.
48. Reach out to potential clients
Gauge their interest, send an introduction, or write thank you emails to potential clients or partners. Then, create templates from those emails to save even more time on this front in the future!
🏼 Doing some good
It’s never a bad time to lend a hand.💜🦄
49. Shop small
Consider how you can support local businesses. It might feel easier to resort to the top most popular retailers out of habit, but there are definitely a ton of incredible small businesses found on sites like Etsy, or even locally right in your backyard.
Think: gifts, daily products, locally-grown food options, and cleaning supplies. There are always more options than the obvious choices!
50. Random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness are kind of a big deal to us. 🎗
There is so much going on in the world and it feels like the news never stops. It can be tough sometimes to get up and go to work as if everything is okay, even if we don’t truly think it is.
If you find yourself with a bit of spare time in your workday, spend it wisely by looking for causes and people to help. Donate to a charity, volunteer your time, or even, reach out to your company! Many businesses have budgets set aside or offer donation matching for this very scenario.
It’s always a good idea to give back. 🤝
For more productivity ideas check out our guide on productivity hacks!
Start seizing the day with ClickUp!
TL;DR: it’s all about living intentionally!
Be present, purposeful, and thoughtful with how you use your time—all of it! Your energy and effort are precious and honestly, life is too short to let it go to waste while scrolling on social media.
Let the things you do while you’re bored be reflective of who you are and who you want to be! You may find that this not only lowers your level of daily stress, but also helps you lead a generally happier and healthier life. And who wouldn’t want that?
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all of the ideas on this list, no better place to start than at the top!
Organize your personal and professional needs in a fully customizable and easy-to-use productivity platform designed to help you succeed. 💜
Use your next spare minute to download ClickUp and start optimizing your to-do’s for free, forever. 🚀