It’s kind of crazy how any of us can actually be bored in this day and age. The internet has never been as content rich as it is now, yet here you are, bored out of your mind and trying to kill time but unable to find something interesting enough to hold your attention.
Trust me, I’ve been there. Keep in mind that, as a teenager, you’ll soon be entering the prime years of your life — do not waste them! You’re going to wake up one day and wish that you had made better use of your time, so make do while you can. I feel that sense of regret every day, and it sucks.
The good news is that your options are truly endless. There’s so much you can do on the web, and many of these activities can be productive as long as you approach them with the right mindset.
1. Watch Videos
Which two sites first come to mind when you’re bored? YouTube and Netflix.
Videos are a great way to kill time because they’re long and they’re passive. You don’t have to do anything — just sit back and zone out and wake back up when the video ends, then rinse and repeat for as long as you want. But videos don’t have to be mindless!
On YouTube, there are dozens of channels that are both entertaining and educational. These videos are great because they aren’t just fun to watch, but also expand your mind, teach you new things, and even help you to be a more perceptive and empathetic person. Start with these educational channels for marathoning and these uniquely entertaining channels.
As for Netflix, you don’t have to veg out on six hours of mindless entertainment every Saturday afternoon. There are plenty of entertaining-and-educational series to watch, such as the Mythbusters-inspired White Rabbit Project. But best of all, you can watch all kinds of mind-opening documentaries that will impact you in surprising ways.
2. Play Games
You can play all kinds of games in your browser these days: first person shooter games, puzzle games, strategy and war games, city building games, and even multiplayer board games. And if you run out of games to play, there are hundreds of others available on both Android and iOS.
But there are two lesser-known-but-still-fun games I think you should know about.
- The Wiki Game — This game is based on the exploration of Wikipedia articles. It gives you a starting article and an ending article, and your goal is to navigate from one to the other by only clicking on internal Wikipedia links. There are five modes: fastest, fewest clicks, exactly six clicks, no using “United States” as a link, and five clicks to Jesus.
- GeoGuessr — This game uses Street View to take you to locations all over the world, and your goal is to look around and guess where you are by placing a pin on a world map. Your score depends on how close your guess is to the actual location. There are several different maps that you can pick to limit the range of possible locations.
3. Listen to Podcasts
Having started in 2016, I was late to the whole podcast craze, but I believe you can never be too late to start listening to podcasts. And if you haven’t yet delved into this strange and wonderful form of entertainment, you should start right away. You have no idea what you’re missing!
On the one hand, podcasts can be strictly for entertainment. For starters, you may want to check out these gaming podcasts, these podcasts for book-lovers, and these true story podcasts that are similar (yet oddly more compelling) than the occasional true crime show you might’ve seen on TV.
On the other hand, podcasts can spark personal growth. For example, I learned all I know about good money management and getting out of debt from these personal finance podcasts. I also learned a lot about time management and discipline from these productivity podcasts. And when I’m bored, I love listening to these brain science podcasts.
And because most podcast apps can download podcasts for offline listening, this is a great way to kill boredom on long commutes, when waiting for an appointment, or even while doing chores.
4. Read Comics or Ebooks
Maybe you don’t realize it, but there are several ways to read comics online for free — and we aren’t just talking about amateur webcomics that are made freely available, though you should check them out as well if you can. You can seriously read comics from DC, Marvel, Vertigo, etc. without paying!
I also recommend reading ebooks. There are a handful of awesome sites to download free ebooks, with titles ranging from classical antiquity to modern-day genre fiction. You can get hours of entertainment value from a single ebook, and you can carry thousands of them with you at all times anywhere you go.
By the way, even if you love paper books, we think you should buy a Kindle. Can’t afford a Kindle right now? That’s fine. You can get by with the free Kindle app for mobile devices. But the specially-designed screen of a Kindle is better for your eyes and more comfortable to read, so consider getting one ASAP. (Which Kindle is right for you?)
5. Learn a Hobby or Skill
Perhaps the most productive thing you can do when you bored is pick up a new hobby. Given the direction of the internet in recent years, you can even learn multiple hobbies and combine them into a source of income (e.g. your own YouTube videos, podcasts, mobile apps, stock photos, etc).
Or you can forget about the money and focus purely on happiness — yes, there have been studies that show how creative hobbies can actually make you happier. Some good ones to pursue include writing, drawing, gardening, and photography (in fact, everyone should learn photography).
If you aren’t interested in traditionally “creative” hobbies, consider one of these geeky DIY hobbies instead. There are software-centric ones, like game development and general app development, and then there are more hardware-focused ones, like woodworking or Arduino projects.
6. Start a Journal or Blog
Journaling is a time-tested activity that’s been proven to have several mental and psychological benefits. The only difference now is where we keep our journals and how we keep them — rather than physical notebooks, we can now use apps (like OneNote or Evernote) or even keep our entries online in the form of a blog.
This is something I highly recommend. Not sure where to begin? Go with this 30-day digital journaling challenge. It doesn’t really matter what you write as long as you take it seriously and truly record your thoughts. Keep it up for the full month and it’ll turn into a habit. Maintain for several months and you’ll notice the benefits, slowly but surely.
7. Build a Wish List
I hesitate to recommend this activity because it can quickly get out of hand, but as long as you have the necessary discipline, it can be fun and prevent you from wasting money.
Basically, think of it as “window shopping” (or “eye shopping”) on Amazon. Think about things you’re interested in buying, browse through Amazon’s listings, and spend a whole bunch of time researching each potential product. When you come across one that you think you’d be happy buying, click “Add to Cart” and then go into your cart and click “Save for Later.”
Your Saved for Later list now acts as your wish list. Here’s the key: you can’t buy anything unless it’s been on your wish list for at least a month. If a month goes by and you still want it, then there’s a good chance you won’t suffer from buyer’s remorse. This is an amazing technique if you tend to be an impulsive online shopper.
What you’ll probably find is that the act of shopping is more exciting than actually buying, so when you’re bored, consider shopping without buying. It’ll kill time like you wouldn’t believe.
8. Explore Reddit
When all else fails, head over to Reddit: the greatest time-wasting site in existence.
Never heard of it? Reddit is essentially a hub for thousands of different user-made communities. Each community (called “subreddits”) can focus on any topic or idea, and all users can create as many new subreddits as they want at any time. Start with these creepy subreddits, these bizarre subreddits, and these discussion-based subreddits.
Whatever you do, just make sure you install the Reddit Enhancement Suite extension for your web browser. Reddit’s primitive interface can be a pain to navigate without it. In addition, check out these tips for using Reddit productively.
How Do You Chase Away Boredom?
Obviously I’ve only just scratched the surface of the internet. There’s so much more you can do, like check into social networks, write reviews for products and businesses, watch gaming streams on Twitch, chat on IRC or Slack, catch up on news, etc. But these are all great starting points.
What are your favorite sites to check every day? How else do you pass the time when you’re bored on the internet? Let us know in a comment down below!
Image Credit: Ilikevia Shutterstock
Originally written by Jackson Chung on Oct 19, 2009