You’re Bored? That’s So AWESOME.

MikeachimResources212 Comments

things to do when bored

Things to do when bored – the ultimate WTF-seriously guide to finding something to do when you’re at a loose end.

(Originally written in 2012; updated May 2020)


Hey. So I saw your tweet. You’re “bored”?

Really?

WOW!

So you’re saying that even with all the resources of the internet at your disposal, you’ve completely run out of interesting things to do?

So this must means you’ve done everything worth doing that’s online (let alone all that offline, real-world stuff)?

That is absolutely incredible.

OMG, HOW YOU MUST HAVE LIVED.

So, by being “bored”, you must have done all of the following….

  • Eagerly delved into everything Stanford, Harvard and Yale are offering up on iTunes, entirely for free – or lost your mind wandering around Coursera, which aggregates courses from some of the most famous universities in the world…
  • …before testing yourself on the basics – all the basics – with Memrise.

And obviously you’ve STARTED A BLOG, like hundreds of millions of other people have – the ultimate boredom-killer, and in my case, the road to a career doing, um, whatever-it-actually-is-that-I-do.

Presumably this is how you got started:

  • Firstly, by banishing any thought that blogging is “dead”. Because, ha, no. (Read this if you need re-convincing.)
  • Next, you started your blogging journey really affordably, maybe by clicking here* to get cheap, reliable hosting (I started my self-hosted journey with those guys, back in the day – and while I’m elsewhere now, I’d always recommend them for starters).
  • Or you signed up for a free site at WordPress.com. Piece of cake, the community is amazing, the editorial team give incredible support for new writers, and it’s a terrific way to learn the basics until you’re ready to self-host.
storytelling
  • …although just throwing yourself into your blog is an equally valid way to learn. If you preferred going your own way, you might have checked out everything this guy is doing, and worked out how it applies to the thing you want to write about. (My own writing loosely fits into the travel niche – so if you’re further interested in that direction, I have a few thoughts here – and further, post COVID-19 lockdown thoughts here – and Jodi Ettenberg has some wise advice for you here.)
  • Educated yourself about the best, weirdest, most interesting uses of online-journal-style writing (aka. blogging) on the internet – like Paul Salopek’s incredible Out Of Eden Walk, now into its seventh year (“walking for weeks, months and years in the outdoors, calipering the vast physical and human stage called landscape with my legs, is the opposite of boring”) – or the insanely deep dive into curiosity that is Tim Urban’s Wait But Why. Or thousands of others.

(But you know all this, because you’ve done it. Obvs.)

things to do when bored

Moving on, I guess you’ve:

  • Checked out the fascinating stories behind the most interesting maps in human history, by plundering the archives of The Map House‘s Map Of The Month series…
things to do when bored
  • Learned how to become a successful self-publisher of your own stories, like this guy – and then did such a great job of marketing and launching your own book that it put $60,000 in your pocket, like this guy.
  • Backed up every single photo and critical document you own – and then did it again, elsewhere, because you never know when the badsectorpocalypse will strike…
  • …learned to write using something that automatically backs up your work as you go, because believe me, that’s not the kind of rewriting you want in your life (I recommend Google Docs)…
things to do when bored
  • Packed a bag, walked out your front door, caught a bus, caught another bus, caught yet another bus, and kept going until you ended up somewhere incredible? Because yes, it’s possible (when the world isn’t being told to stay at home)
  • …then filled your ears with the true incredible expanse of quality podcasting now available, like the archives of This American Life, Reply All, Invisibilia, Radiolab, Startup, Serial and so on. I’m not linking to those, because your best bet is to install a free podcasting or music-streaming app (I use Stitcher) and search for them. They’re all free. Thousands of hours of them.
  • (I can also recommend this one, about a bloke riding a bike around Yorkshire, talking to people about living an adventurous life.)
things to do when bored
  • Sometime when it was possible, you’ve gone on a microadventure (trust me, it’s fun – and opening your eyes to morning sunshine, blue sky and swaying branches is really, really good for the soul). Here’s the official book
  • Explored the fringes of your vocabulary with Visuwords
  • Read all The Morning News, then every scrap of archived material from Brain Pickings, and rounded things off with the Paris Review (well done! You’ve read some of – and read about some of – the best writing on the Internet. Admirable way to spend a couple of decades. I applaud your dedication)…
things to do when bored
  • Read Lord Of The Rings yet again, except this time following the route properly by tracking down a copy of Barbara Strachey’s highly sought-after Journeys of Frodo (above), the Ordnance Survey of this fantasy world…
  • …and followed it up with a substantial dollop of TED-watching…
  • Grasped the fundamentals of the 6,000+ living languages of the world, maybe with the help of this chap
  • …and then somehow, against staggering odds, manage to fight your way through all 50 of these
things to do when bored
things to do when bored
  • Read* this* trilogy*, while following  the real history of Newton, Liebnitz, Hooke, Louis XIV, William II and all of Stephenson’s “characters” in a real history-of-science book (say, this one*), and pinpointed exactly where Neal Stephenson has stuck to the facts and where he has taken wild, anachronistic flights of fancy…
  • …and then written at least as many fiction and non-fiction books as Isaac Asimov
  • Guessed where in the world you’re looking at to within 100 miles, 10 times in a row, with GeoGuesser – or just randomly gone exploring with MapCrunch
things to do when bored
  • Taken every “inspiring quote” in the spirit it was intended (above)…
  • Sat outside or opened a window and just listened to the world – the birds, the weather, the bustle of humanity, the creak of your chair, the sound of your own breathing – until everything held absolutely zero novelty or interest for you.
  • Learned how to paint a picture with food, like this
  • Read everything ever published at The Oatmeal, because there’s nothing like it anywhere else…
  • Addressed every lingering guilty regret, until you were satisfied you’d done absolutely everything within your power to make amends, no matter how belatedly…
  • Realised that this entire list is created by someone with interests that don’t really reflect your own – so then you made your own list of interests and went hunting for related stuff, to find that the internet is filled with people like you, making things you care about … and now you’ve got around a billion new things to click and explore.

BONUS

Shannon of A Little Adrift has rounded up a couple of cubic miles of things to do when bored here, some of which I’ve mentioned above, most of which I haven’t. Click this and you’ll never be bored again, but your head may explode. Your choice.


I mean, there’s other stuff – but you must be pooped after doing all that lot. I reckon you’re allowed a little slack!

And I don’t want to sound unreasonable, of course. (Or sarcastic.)

Anyway, I’ll let you get back to being bored – because you have certainly earned it, mate.


Images: Shermeee, Hubble Heritage, Mike Sowden.

I probably found less than half of these links on my own – so, my undying thanks to my big-brained friends for getting there first. I could never be bored with you around. 

Also? Where I use affiliate links to products or services I recommend, I’ve put a star (*) and I receive a tiny percentage of any sales that might result, at absolutely no cost to you. Ta.


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