Have you ever woken up on a Saturday morning and said to yourself or a family member, “What are we going to do today? There’s nothing to do…”? Or it’s a holiday week off from work or school and you’re out of your routine and you ask the same question, “What’s there to do? I’m bored.”
Personally, I’ve never been bored a day in my life, but for some people, if they’re out of their normal routine, say on a weekend, holiday, or vacation, they get stuck and lose their momentum. They may not be thinking creatively of what they can come up with to do. Or they may have a pretty simple life of work and the basic home life. Or they keep so busy at their jobs, that there’s no time to develop hobbies or outside interests, so when they do have that rare free time, they don’t know what to do with themselves.
Do you see yourself in any of these scenarios? One suggestion I’ve made to some of my coaching clients, is when they have a few minutes, to make a list of all the fun activities they’d like to do—with no limits on time, talent, or money. This list might include simple things they rarely have time for like going to the movies, visiting a friend or relative, or working in the garden. Or they might include more time-intensive activities like learning a new hobby or sport, writing a book, or taking a trip.
So consider spending 5 or 10 minutes making a list of your own of your interests, hobbies, passions, secret dreams, and anything else you can think of that you don’t have time to do, you’ve always wanted to do, or you fantasize about doing if you had the time and money.
If your creative juices need a little tune up, here are just a few ideas to get you started:
1. Read a book: do you have a massive collection of books gathering dust on the bookshelves in every room of your house? I love books and sometimes feel more like a collector than a reader. But if you have some downtime when you’re feeling there’s nothing to do, it’s the perfect time to pull one of those dusty books off the shelf and settle in for an adventure.
2. Write a book: I’ve heard the 81% of people say they want to write a book someday but a very small percentage ever do. If you find yourself with time on your hands, that’s the perfect time to plunge into this project. You’d be surprised that once you’ve outlined your book, the rest is just filling in the blanks. Set a certain amount of time every week (or day) for this project and you won’t have nothing to do for quite a while!
3. Review your investments: If you’re like most people you might get all those statements in the mail, but you either stack them or file them away in your filing cabinet. With nothing to do, how about pulling them out, sorting through them, making a chart to see what you have, what the current values are, and deciding if you want to make some adjustments.
4. Start a business: If you work the 9-5 routine, you may have always dreamed of starting your own business. There are some that can be started easily in your home that you can do part time to provide some tax benefits. Now that you have some time, start the research into seeing what might be the best venture for you, whether it’s offering a service that you are skilled at like consulting, or a product you’d like to sell, perhaps on eBay.
5. Organize your house: To some people this is a lot of fun, to others it’s drudgery. If the whole family is in the “nothing to do” mode, gather them together, assign each one a room, and have a reward when everyone is done–pizza and a movie! You can also encourage the kids that they’ll make some money when you hold a garage sale to sell all your cast-offs!
6. Take some “me” time: How little “me” time most of us have in our busy lives. When we have nothing to do, we generally think we need to get busy, find some activity to fill in the empty spaces. Instead, what about time for reflection, a walk in the woods or on the beach, writing in your journal, just lying quietly on a blanket or lounge chair. We spend so much time as human “doings” it’s refreshing and renewing to spend time as a human “being.”
7. Volunteer: I see notices in my local newspaper every day with more volunteer opportunities than I could even imagine. Giving back is extremely rewarding to the place and people you’re giving to as well as yourself. If you’ve never done it, put it at the top of your list of what to do when there’s nothing to do.
With all these suggestions and your own list, I don’t ever again want to hear you say “There’s nothing to do.”
For some humorous things to do that you may want to add to your list, check out http://www.cs.earlham.edu/~jimg/reading/bored.html.