12 tips to eliminate boredom

Originally from Scott H. Young.

Figure out what you really want to do

Boredom often masks a problem where you want to do a particular activity but something is preventing you. This could happen when you want to watch your favorite television show, but the cable is out. When this happens, the first step to killing boredom is to simply recognize the activity that you truly want to be doing.

Nuke procrastination

Procrastination can cause boredom if there aren’t any distractions available to take your mind off your task.

Get your compass straight

Boredom can just as easily be caused by a lack of direction. Spend a few minutes identifying your goals, desires or passions. Sometimes simply bringing up these can get you motivated again.

Socialise

Get out and meet some friends, or make some new friends. Boredom can often disguise a lack of social energy. Even if you can’t see how to meet new people in your area and your friends are busy, go to an online forum that shares one of your interests or pick up a phone.

Put off your boredom

Take a look at your to-do list. Commit to doing just one tiny task on that list before you find something fun to do. Often putting off your boredom for a few minutes by being productive can kick the feeling.

Learn something new

Perhaps what you need is some mental stimulation?

Cut off distractions

Boredom can happen when you are doing a low value task, like random internet surfing or watching television shows that don’t interest you. Distractions can be a black hole, sucking you into a prolonged state of disinterest. Turn off the television or computer and start moving around until you find something better to occupy you.

Fill schedule holes

Too much time is often worse than no time at all. It can be difficult to adjust to the boredom when you suddenly have a schedule vacuum. I often find myself getting irritated during holiday periods where my normally busy schedule empties. Spend a few minutes to fill schedule holes to prevent boredom in the first place.

Become your own cheerleader

I’ve been bored due to a temporary lack of confidence. Who wants to work hard towards a goal when you’ve been dealt an upsetting blow to your belief that you will succeed? Take some time to review your wins and high points so that you can restore some confidence and keep moving.

Meditate

This has become my default activity in cases of extreme boredom.

Journal

Open up a word document and just start writing. This works similarly to meditation, although it is a bit more active and less imaginative.

Add a new

If you find yourself consistently bored, this usually means you have a section of time where you don’t have an activity that meets your needs. Add a new goal, challenge or hobby to fill up the time.

Why are you bored?

Procrastination

You aren’t bored, just procrastinating. Figure out what tasks you are putting off and nuke the procrastination.

Lack of (useful) energy

Boredom isn’t the same as exhaustion, but it occurs when you have an abundance of one form of energy but are exhausted in the energy you would find useful. I’ve had this happen when I can’t get myself to keep working, but I don’t feel physically tired. Find an activity that will use the energy you have an abundance of. This could mean doing something physical after spending all day writing or doing something creative after an entire day of churning out boring code.

Schedule gaps

Your schedule has suddenly changed and you don’t have the flurry of busyness to protect you anymore. Sometimes the answer is to quickly add more tasks. Other times you need to settle into the discomforting quiet and use this time for some reflection.

Environmental obstacles

Waiting in line, taking a long plane ride, forced away from an internet connection for a week. This kind of boredom usually just requires you to be creative until the situation changes.

Lack of motivation

You don’t have the motivation to do what you should do to eliminate boredom. In short periods, this problem can usually be overcome by using a simple motivation trick. In longer periods, this needs to be addressed with some serious reflection, goal setting and reestablishing your priorities.