As the old saying goes, only boring people get bored.
The problem is, that’s not really true, and nearly all of us can think back to a time when we’ve had nothing to do, and no idea of how to fill the next few hours. John Eastwood of York University in Ontario defines boredom as:
“An aversive state of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activity”, and in a way that makes a lot of sense. Being bored is just a sensation because you want to do something.
Then again, if you knew what it was that you wanted to do, it’s unlikely that you would be here in the first place.
If you want a little more than the usual 10 ways to keep busy article, have a look at our guide to some of the best ways to stop yourself from yawning.
Social Media Use
One of the easiest things to do is to open one of the many social media apps on offer on your Android device.
There are always links and videos available (which are often catered specifically to your interests) and it’s easy to lose an hour or two when you get lost in your friend’s content. (Or stalking, as it’s more commonly known.)
Too much social media use comes with its own set of problems, but it’s often fun when used in moderation. Many of us are used to leaving social media tabs open while we’re on our computers, and I often see people casually browsing Twitter and Facebook on their phones to pass the time.
It’s becoming second nature for many people, to the point that it doesn’t really alleviate any feelings of boredom.
So what can you do?
You could always start a new group with some of your friends, or you could follow some interesting pages or people, but it’s probably best to stay off social media as it’s never going to be the most satisfying activity.
It’s not really the best way to pass the time, so check below for tips on different things you can do to change up your daily routine.
Habit Forming and Productivity
Being productive is one of the best ways to spend your free time, as long as you’re feeling up to the task of doing a bit of work. This part is entirely up to you, and it depends on what you enjoy doing, but it could also be a good chance to develop new skills or talents that you never knew existed.
It takes roughly 66 days to make a new habit, and despite the connotations they’re not always negative. (For the record, habits take as long as they take to make or break, but at least two months is the best estimation.)
The point is, you could take up jogging, reading, or gaming in your spare time as a new hobby, but it will take at least a couple of months for the habit itself to form. You’ll have to be ready to make a major commitment, and it’ll take time for you to get used to doing things differently.
That’s why it can often be so easy to give up a new membership at the gym after New Years Day, and it’d also the reason why those that stick it out tend to take it so seriously in the long run.
It becomes ingrained in your psyche, and it could be a great way for you to change what you do in your spare time.
But just what does this have to do with your Android device?
Your device can be used to supplement your new interest(s), and there’s a wide range of apps on offer for nearly everything you can think of. Fitness and photography are obvious subjects that have lots of apps to help you get started, while you could take up a new language with one of the many apps on offer.
Then again, there’s nothing wrong with using your free time to relax. If that sounds better check the next part of the guide for some suggestions about what you can do.
Apps and Games
It’s all well and good to focus on work, but sometimes it can be nice to settle down with some entertainment. There are lots of different games and apps on offer in the store, and there’s usually something for everyone. (I’ve seen so many businessmen getting their Candy Crush fix on the train to work.)
The amount of junk apps on the store is another thing entirely. It’s often difficult to find any hidden gems lost among the reams of free tat, so why not ask your friends what they’re playing at the moment?
Even the worst game can be made playable if your chasing a friend’s high score, and technology is slowly improving. It’s now at the point where mobile gaming can be pretty fun, and battery life is the only thing holding you back during extended sessions.
The lack of physical buttons is the one major drawback to mobile gaming, though most games try to use the touchscreen as best they can. You can now get PlayStation 1 classics like Final Fantasy IX, and they make use of the touch screen with a number of nifty features.
(It’s worth pointing out that many of the older games do take up a lot of memory. For instance, FF9 uses 3.2GB.)
From the latest games to older titles, mobile gaming has quickly morphed into a serious money maker for publishers, and gamers are reaping the benefit with solid titles being released regularly.
We’ve moved on from the days when Temple Run and Angry Birds represented the best that mobile gaming had to offer, and you might be surprised by the quality of many titles on the store. There’s a great mix of genres with nearly every niche covered in some shape or form.
It might not be up to the standards of a dedicated portable gaming console like the PS Vita, but mobile gaming is slowly getting there.
If gaming really isn’t your thing, keep going for even more options.
Okay. Most people use their phone to socialise. (It’s pretty much the core feature.) There’s a difference between using a device to look at unfunny memes on social media and using it to chat to your friends, but many of us seem to forget the difference.
Using the device to find something to do isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, and most of us can even get our handset to suggest potential local locations and events to go to.
There are so many social apps fighting for your attention, while WhatsApp groups are the easiest way to stay in touch with people we no longer get to see during day to day life.
The point is, using the devices main feature is a good way to alleviate boredom, and it’s a great way to organise different things to do when you’re bored. Even if it’s just going out to meet a friend, there’s usually always something to do if you look hard enough, and there are always opportunities to meet new people.
If you’re not using your device to have fun, you’re doing it wrong. Think back to when you first got your device. You probably wanted to download as many apps and features as possible, but after a while most of us just get used to what we have.
You might check the store now and then, or download something on a friend’s recommendation, but many of us get stuck using the same old apps and websites. It’s just human nature to stick to what we know.
Before checking out the store, try to have an idea of what exactly you would like to download. Is it a camera app? Do you want the whip app from The Big Bang Theory? It’s better than flicking through pages and pages of apps listlessly, and you’ll probably end up with something vaguely relevant.
The internet is another obvious option for potential entertainment ideas, and with good reason. YouTube and Twitch are great if you want to catch up with old shows, or take part in a gaming session with others, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Aside from browsing the internet, there’s lots you can do to keep entertained. You could go and make a new Vine series using your camera (but don’t blame me if you get trolled) or use the time playing games, as discussed above. It depends on what you enjoy doing.
Working could also be a great way to alleviate boredom, and there are lots of ways to turn a hobby into a business if you can’t get your normal job done in your spare time. It can be tough to get started, but it’s great when you finally start to reap the rewards and benefits that come with hard work.
If you like creating things like images or taking photos, there are numerous places like Fiverr where you can hone your skills, and people are often willing to pay depending on the quality of your content.
Once you get more experienced, you can always move on to bigger and better paid jobs, and it can be a great way to supplement your income. (It’s got to be better than watching old reruns right?)
If it’s photos or writing, it’s obvious how you can use your device to look for apps that can help out, but you can always look for tips or forums, or use the opportunity to check out what your competition has been up to.
There’s no shame in looking to others for inspiration, but there’s no point in plagiarising work if you want to be taken seriously. If you try and fail, at least you’ll have picked up a number of new skills along the way for next time.
There’s no need to worry if you often find yourself looking for something to do. Most of us are happy enough to zone out in front of the TV or waste time searching the net, but there’s lots of opportunities to fight off boredom, and your smartphone can be a helpful way to get started. (It helps that we tend to have our devices to hand at all times.)
Keeping busy isn’t the only factor, as you can use the time to improve yourself, or just to stay entertained. Boredom is only a state of mind, and it’s not your fault if you’re not feeling stimulated.
Games and entertainment are a great way to pass the time, and there’s always the option to be productive if you’re feeling up to it. Either way, you’re entitled to spend your spare time however you wish, but don’t spend it being bored!
If you have a great tip to stave off boredom, or we managed to help out, let us know in the comments below!