30 Things To Do When you are Bored and have a Computer

by Ramesh Natarajan on March 1, 2010

  1. Read technical blogs – There are several technical blogs out there, that produce high quality content everyday. There are 9600+ technology blogs listed in the technorati website. Browse the technology blog list and read the blogs that interests you. As always you can browse our blog archive section for Linux related articles that you might have missed.
  2. Backup your laptop – You should do a full back-up of your laptop / desktop every month at a minimum. If not, do it now. Use rsnapshot for Unix and GFI free backup tool for Windows.
  3. Seriously! Don’t have a backup? Stop reading this article and backup you laptop now!
  4. De-clutter your laptop – Organize the files and directories in your laptop. If you have tons of sub-directories, it gets difficult to find the right sub-directory to store your file. I used to have tons of nested sub-directories before. Now, I have only 5 high level directory structure under my home directory. Use Windows Google Desktop on Linux Google Desktop software to search your files quickly.
  5. Social networking sites – Create an account for yourself on Linkedin, delicious, Stumble Upon, Facebook, Digg, Twitter. Even if you don’t post something on these sites, you can still browse their popular pages and read all the articles.
  6. Clear out all your emails. Process every email in your in-box and archive it. Don’t leave any emails unprocessed.
  7. Change passwords – When is the last time you’ve changed your on-line banking password (or) your primary email password? Make sure to create a yearly password routine and change all your online passwords to something unique and strong. Use multi-platform password manager to store all your password on your laptop securely. Follow the password best practices. Change passwords for at least few of your critical online accounts now!
  8. Plan your exercise schedule – If you are like me, you may be looking for motivation from all sources to exercise regularly. Create a simple exercise schedule (it could even be for 15 mins a day) and share it with your family and friends. Ask them to check on you regularly to make sure you are following your schedule on track. Explore sites like fitday, dailymile, and dailyplate will help you track and organize your fitness related stuff.
  9. Customize your home page portal. If you don’t have it, create one at either iGoogle or myYahoo.
  10. Reconnect with friends and family – Send an email to an old friend, colleague, or family member with whom you might have lost touch.
  11. Pursue your dream job – If you are not happy with your current job, take time to think about what would be your dream job. Create a document and list down all the items that you don’t like about your current job and all the things that you would want in your dream job. Once you have a clear idea, search job sites like the ladders – where all the jobs are $100K+
  12. Read Wikipedia – Browse the Wikipedia technology portal for topics that interests you. Outline of computer science and list of information technology topics are a good place to start in Wikipedia. You can spend hours together reading these topics.
  13. Send a Thank You note to someone who did some nice things for you.
  14. Organize your photos online – Create an account for yourself on picasaweb, or flickr and organize all your pictures online.
  15. Browse YouTube – Go to youtube.com and search for linux, to view all linux related videos (or) Browse these technology channels on youtube — Google, Windows, TechCrunch.
  16. Explore a Technical Hobby – It may be tweaking the Linux OS by building custom kernels, exploring ethical hacking, exploring amateur ham radio (or) any technical stuff that you were always interested to explore, but never got the time to do.
  17. Set Goals – Jan 1st is not the only time to set goals for the year. Take some time to think through and list out all the major personal projects you would like to complete this year. Create actionable tasks to get those projects completed. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity is an excellent resource that will help you to get organized and be productive.
  18. Write - If you are bored and don’t know what to do, start writing. This doesn’t need to be technical writing. When is the last time you’ve written a well thought out letter to someone who you love? Take the time to write a letter and send it in an email to your loved ones.
  19. Get Personal Finance in Order – Take time to review your current financial status, review bank balance, consolidate credit cards, sign-up for online bill pay, move money from low interest bank account to high interest bank account, research re-financing your home mortgage for lower rate.
  20. Use online Word, Excel, Powerpoint – I’ve moved almost all my local documents to Google documents. I can access my personal documents from any computer. No need to worry about backing up local documents on your laptop on an on-going basis, if all your documents are online. You can also share selective documents with your friends and family.
  21. Add items to your shopping wishlist – Take time to research on the electronic gadgets, or technical books that you wanted to purchase. Read some review and collect as much as information you need about the item before your purchase. Most importantly, create a wish-list in your favorite online shopping site and populate it with your favorite items or books you would like to purchase some day. I use amazon amazon wish-list.
  22. Defrag your hard-drive. If you are using Windows OS, defarg your hard-drive. Since we all use *nix, call your Windows friends and brag about how *nix doesn’t need defrag.
  23. Browse firefox add-on repository and play around with any add-on that you find interesting.
  24. Create check-list and routines. List out all the repetitive tasks that you perform. Create a routine for those tasks. See whether you can automate or delegate some of those repetitive tasks.
  25. Flip through the unix man page. Even for the commands you are very familiar with, check out the man page. When you do ‘man ls’, you might be surprised that you didn’t know few of the capabilities, even on simple command like ls.
  26. Virus Scan. If you are using Windows OS, run a virus-scan on your laptop. I prefer Spybot search and destory, which will protect your laptop from spyware.
  27. Delete unwanted program. On Linux, see whether you are running any unwanted services and disable them. If you have any unwanted packages installed, remove them. On windows, go to Add/Remove program, and see whether you can delete any unwanted programs from the system. This might give you both additional disk space and performance.
  28. Create online book catalog for all your books. Library Things lets you add 200 books to your catalog for free.
  29. Watch Funny Videos. If you are really bored and doesn’t want to do any work that requires brain power, simply watch these funny videos.
  30. Learn keyboard shortcuts for your favorite application. For example, gmail keyboard shortcuts, firefox keyboard shortcuts, Ubuntu keyboard shortcuts.

Over to you…

What would you do when you are bored and have a computer in front of you? Leave your response.

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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

1 hevangel March 1, 2010 at 2:49 am

On item 29, may I suggest Anobii.com instead of librarythings? Anobii allows unlimited books on your virtual bookshelf.

2 Colin March 1, 2010 at 3:24 am

I’m learning portuguese, so I read news in portuguese online, or I read a section of wikipedia in portuguese.

3 Arend March 1, 2010 at 3:36 am

what about this: Get some coffee and hang around in the coffeecorner to hear the latest rumors. Train your social skills there. as a nerd, focus on asking the usual stuff on mondaymornings.

4 vkvraju March 1, 2010 at 5:01 am

Hi Ramesh, I have subscribed to your blog and have been reading your articles since last few weeks and as a tech/linux enthusiast, I am very very impressed. Please keep writing more. Thanks, @vkvraju

5 Joao Trindade March 1, 2010 at 10:20 am

@Colin E já percebes alguma coisa ou precisas de mais aulas?? :P (this one is only for Colin)

6 Dave March 1, 2010 at 11:03 am

Hey, thanks for the inspiring actions!!

7 Ron March 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm

good stuff. keep ‘em flowing. thanks.

8 Julio Cesar March 1, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Great piece! Just yesterday I found myself looking for something just like this. I ended up reading up on pizza of all things :)

9 bhaskar March 1, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Hey it is very good .thanks

10 nima0102 March 2, 2010 at 1:48 am

Thanks, it’s really good:)

11 senthil March 3, 2010 at 9:11 am

its all very good idea

12 Ajith Edassery March 8, 2010 at 4:54 am

Youtube and Wikipedia are my favorites here…also ‘going through’ (not really reading them fully) my RSS reader backlogs. Cleaning up the PC and take out unwanted files, installations etc are also another thing that I do from time to time.

However, all these are related to your PC and laptop alone… Fortunately, there are 100 other things to do in life to live every moment of it :)

13 Mikko March 9, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Instead of reading Wikipedia, I would replace #13 by “Write or update an article in Wikipedia”

14 mrf March 11, 2010 at 3:02 am

good job, till now i only think where is another technical website or blog :) , but when i read this, i change my mind and try to fix “my life on computer” hehhehe

15 Jay March 14, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Good. Thanks.

16 Mara March 18, 2010 at 6:42 am

Ciao — You can dabble in learning a language — Babbel.com (http://www.babbel.com) is good for checking back in time to time for short intervals. You can do quick exercises during those down moments, which eventually add up to having some proficiency. I’ve been doing Italian…

17 Anonymous August 24, 2010 at 10:03 am

write about what your thinking

18 Anonymous October 30, 2010 at 11:21 am

Pls remember God since that is the very reason of human body

19 Superb November 2, 2010 at 11:41 am

Pray for God, so He know If I’m not ready yet to meet HIM lately, at least, after I got something to do beside see my black and white console :D

20 kraken November 15, 2010 at 10:55 pm

good work…

21 James December 4, 2010 at 10:45 am

I pick an interesting subject and Stumble Upon.

22 Mas December 20, 2010 at 9:23 pm

(firefox add-on)

23 DeXTeR.OrBiT December 28, 2010 at 12:30 pm

How about this for when you are bored and infront of a computer:
Write a program in your favourite programming language mine being Python!

24 sonal December 29, 2010 at 5:54 am

Really very intresting things were suggested

25 Tg January 4, 2011 at 4:50 am

This was excellent information – collated one stop

26 Paul Webb January 12, 2011 at 9:26 am

So I recently just found your website through stumbleupon and was reading this entry when I was shocked to see your suggestion for an ‘anti-virus’… spybot doesn’t get rid of viruses, it isn’t an actual anti-virus. While yes it will catch some trojans while running its scan it does not do a heuristic scan like most anti-virus packages now a days to find viruses and it isn’t constantly running which is something that if you are running windows is necessary. Personally I would recommend the new Microsoft Security Essentials as a personal anti-virus because it does a great job and ties into windows the best that I have seen yet compared to norton, mcafee, avg, and some others.

27 Anonymous February 12, 2011 at 10:15 pm

look for cool widgets and apps like chrome’s web store, adobe air marketplace, etc.

28 Anonymous May 6, 2011 at 11:48 am

you could try learn stuff from the internet..use the internet as a tool for educational purposes…e.g learn about new and upcoming softwares…remember education never stops

29 varma August 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm

search for the newest games nd finish them off!

30 Cathy and Nia September 16, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Play Sims 3 hahaha LOL

31 IP Foo September 29, 2011 at 9:08 am

nice list Ramesh

32 braj November 3, 2011 at 4:07 am

it’s good .. thanks

33 Tim November 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm

It’s weird that you assume everyone has a laptop. You can just say “computer” to cover all your bases. Good ideas though.

34 sadanand December 5, 2011 at 4:28 am


I am really impressed with your suggestions in this site.


35 KoyKat December 21, 2011 at 10:12 pm

reading this webpage

36 Anonymous December 24, 2011 at 12:38 am

Learn how to play an instrument.

37 lalaland December 31, 2011 at 5:06 am

google favourite singers

38 Musicmaker January 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

May I make a suggestion? You could go on a virtualpiano and learn how to play some music (not much use to people who play real piano). I started using the virtual piano 3 days ago and so far ive learned stuff like beethoven`s fur elise by watching tutorials on youtube.

Great ideas by the way . Thing this website is pretty cool.

39 jay jay February 13, 2012 at 12:36 am

awesome! you know though, maybe you could just write a story you don’t even have to think about it, it could be about anything, it could just be a bunch of words!
like for example: “you have weird eyes” she said “no I don’t” she said, then they started to fight and then she kicked her and the girl went to hospital and the other girl went to jail the end, that was a bad story wasn’t it? or here is another example: “your to happy gogleplop’ crazy said “no i’m not crazy!’ said gogleplop to crazy “did you her me?” said crazy “do you mean here me?” said gogleplop “yes” said crazy “what?” said gogleplop “pardon?” said crazy the end, that was bad to wasn’t it, but it is fun to write!!

40 Anonymous February 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm

ok yeah i thought something like to play something besides the Computer

41 Craig March 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Ashamed to admit I probably do about 15 of those everyday when I should be doing something more productive ;-) Thank you for the post

42 Hugh Murphy March 27, 2012 at 8:07 am

This is mainly for people who have photographs or 35mm slides from the pre-digital era.
1. Organize all of your old photographs.
2. Convert your old photographs by scanning into digital format.
3. Make a personalized photo cd for each of your children from the digitized photos.

43 Anonymous April 7, 2012 at 10:33 am

Make a virtual machine.

44 haggisbreath April 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm

excellent point about password management — I use and enjoy Password Safe. It too is multi-platform, there is a port for Android as well as Win/OSX/Linux. If there wasn’t I might have had to switch to something else. It was originated by Bruce Schneier and is still open source.

45 Smurf May 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm

hahaha its quite good except one thing….. GOOGLE 1 DIRECTION! AHHH! :D

46 Dev June 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Thank you, this helped out alot.

47 Geeky_Bitsian July 2, 2012 at 11:51 pm

This website is just awesome… \m/
And I can suggest one more activity — reading (may it be novels, newspapers, etc.). Will also help improve your vocab.. :-)

48 emma July 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

good I set goal for how fast i could ride my horse

49 Vikrant_Giradkar August 30, 2012 at 5:57 am

we can also go through some of the news paper published internationally ,,,, else there are some interesting sites to check out the recent electronics ,, achiment ,,,,

and thanku for the blog,, it is good one ,,

50 brew August 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm

how about typing improvement… I am good at typing except number row.. ;)

51 Zanin September 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I would a, read something b, listen to something c, play something

52 Anonymous September 22, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I would google random computer cheats or something and try the cool ones out

53 Sara October 1, 2012 at 2:37 am


What would I do huh I would play some fun games.

54 cam October 31, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Configure your Emacs.

55 Yawn November 7, 2012 at 8:00 am

The ulmimate sign of boredom is typing in:
qwertyuioplkjhgfdsazxcvbnm.- Ifyou’ve done this,you really need tosort your life out!

56 Violet Kostashuk November 12, 2012 at 7:55 pm

My guess is to learn something new on this computer. It takes alot of patient people to learn this stuff. Alot does’t sink in the first lesson , Vi

57 phoebe November 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

hello guys thank you very mum for all of that and by the way i am not a geek.

58 Gert December 11, 2012 at 5:21 am

This is basically a list of things i would do at work. IT IS NOT FUN\

59 Anonymous January 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Search Google and open google will keep you entertained

60 Martin J January 28, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I spend far too much time on Twitter as it is. Another good free PC backup software is Driveimage XML, very easy to use

61 navya February 6, 2013 at 8:00 am

will just read the topic that what all does when they get bored…

62 Niraj February 12, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Great stuff!!

63 Anonymous March 9, 2013 at 3:21 am

Nice appreciate your Blog…

64 stechfreak March 28, 2013 at 2:47 am

So in short, 30 things to do at work :-)

65 Henny April 2, 2013 at 10:25 pm

The one thing that you forgot to mention is that Programming. You can just learn how to code C++ or Java even though they are not easy or you can go web development. What you need to learn is to go online and find some interesting articles on those languages. just get pdf tutorials and spend your time trying to master it(that would be absurd unless you take courses in school). I spend my time learning php..and playing with html.

66 Chip May 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Kinda an extension of #15, a great website is TED.com

They have all sorts of interesting/educational/philosophical videos. They are probably available on YouTube as well.

67 Amanda June 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

Excellent list of ideas for those of us who are less than tech professionals! Thanks!

68 Alex June 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm

31. If your in school, sign up for FLVS.net and get some extra learning time.
32. Read some online Manga.
33. Draw with your Bamboo tablet.
34. Configure your keyboard into another order and have fun learning the new mess.
35. Learn a new skill, go on YouTube and take up knitting, playing an instrument, drawing animals/humans/monsters/etc.

69 jooe15 July 13, 2013 at 11:58 pm

ugg I did every single one of these things already … i have too much time

70 Someone July 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm

same here. I might go start sending emails to people i know.

71 baty September 13, 2013 at 10:44 pm

i would play games or search funny vedios or search art project i an do at home. i would eat or call a friend and chill out, i would write or color or draw

72 steve September 14, 2013 at 3:09 am

Great post my friend…excellent ideas…

73 Marissa October 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm

you know that you can NEVER trust Wikipedia because people can change it right

74 Maddie October 24, 2013 at 12:45 am

Do something fun like games or email a friend

75 ellis December 17, 2013 at 9:28 am

create remix song or brows remix

or movie E.G filmed or clips

76 Thanumoorthy March 17, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Thanks for this good article. this helps me lot.

77 addi April 14, 2014 at 4:24 pm

I guess get on facebook!

78 rupesh May 24, 2014 at 4:48 am

Nice one :)

79 Potterhead June 7, 2014 at 8:41 am

Read fanfiction!:D

80 Sekhar July 3, 2014 at 1:38 am

Very nice artical. Thanks.

81 Ram Krishna Dixit August 24, 2014 at 7:02 am

Hey, Good article. Thanks.

82 kaltouma October 29, 2014 at 6:41 pm

i need a book to raed at home

83 Narasinhareddy January 7, 2015 at 10:37 pm

nice topics

84 g.deepika January 11, 2015 at 12:49 am

inspiring article

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