In the midst of a hectic and stressful workday, not much sounds better than the idea of a calm, deadline-free day. When the chaos reaches a certain level, you secretly acknowledge that you’d be tempted to trade your firstborn for a clear calendar and a blank to-do list, if such a thing were possible. It’s all you want, all you wish for — until you actually experience that kind of day.
It turns out that being at work when there’s absolutely nothing to do is not nearly as enjoyable as you’d imagine. Being able to breathe is nice, but having to figure out ways to occupy your time can make it seem as if the clock has ceased to move. Some days, you can only proactively seek out new tasks for so long before there’s literally nothing else left to do. At that point, your shift begins to feel more like a sentence.
Luckily, with a bit of imagination, entertainment isn’t hard to come by — especially not in the digital age. Where there’s Internet, there’s always something to do. From memes to research, it’s all at your fingertips.
Here are 24 activities you can try the next time you find yourself bored at work.
1. Get lost in social media (duh, right?)
A random acquaintance from high school just got married? Of course you should check out the wedding photos she posted.
3. Do some kegels
They’re exercises you can do discreetly from your own office chair, and they’re good for you, so why not?
4. Write for fun
Tap into your creative side and exercise your imagination.
5. Look at food porn
Drool over meals that are everything you never knew you wanted.
6. Compile your grocery list
You might return home with ingredients that actually go well together.
7. Plan a hypothetical vacation
Create your dream trip. Hopefully, it’ll inspire you to make it a reality.
8. Become an expert on something
Pick a subject or a skill you want to be awesome at, and then use your free time to make it happen.
9. Search Pinterest for DIY inspiration
It doesn’t matter if your intentions are better than your execution.
10. Be a fantastic e-mail correspondent
Everyone loves a letter. Keep connected to friends near and far with regular e-mail updates.
11. Start a five-minute dance party
Depending on your office culture, this may just have to be you shaking it in the bathroom stall.
12. Work on your posture
No matter how ergonomic your desk chair is, sitting all day is not ideal.
13. “Aww” over animal memes
You don’t have to be a cat person to think they’re adorable in glasses. I can vouch for this.
14. Play with your makeup during bathroom breaks
Switch up your appearance a bit when you run to the restroom.
15. Make plans for after work
Give yourself something to look forward to at the end of the workday.
16. Perfect your office beverage
Hit up your office kitchen and experiment with whatever coffee, creamers, and syrups are in there until you’ve concocted your ideal office drink.
17. Play harmless pranks on a co-worker
Warning: Choose your target carefully, and be sure you don’t cross any lines.
18. Make a dent in your eBook library
Knock out some of the titles on your Goodreads book list.
19. Take a snack break
Store up energy to try out the rest of the items on this list.
20. Follow a new blog
If you’re interested in it, someone’s writing about it.
21. Remind yourself about what you like about your job
It doesn’t hurt to stay positive, even if you’re getting bored.
22. Create an online shopping wishlist
Browse items that you need, as well as items you just plain want.
23. Get hooked on a podcast
Find a podcast you can’t get enough of. The Serial bandwagon is crowded, but there’s always room for more.
24. Catch up on the news
No explanation needed.
Enjoy the downtime while you have it — at some point, it’s bound to end.