In our day-to-day lives, we often find ourselves stuck in the plateau of boring monotony and unproductive hours spent scrolling Instagram. New studies found that the average person wastes around two hours a day doing nothing, close to approximately a month (30 days) of wasted time per year. So, what are some methods by which to escape this labyrinth of unproductivity?
Here are 7 productive activities to start right now!
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Recent studies have found that simply sitting on the floor, closing your eyes, and listening to music for ten minutes significantly boosts your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Illnesses caused by chronic stress such as anxiety and asthma (among many others), have been shown to improve simply by engaging in careful, continuous meditation. Growing research on meditation supports its health benefits including an increase in imaginative and positive emotions, a reduction in blood pressure, an improvement in sleep quality, and a decrease in negative emotions.
There are many different ways to meditate, the most common ones found here: 9 Types of Meditation: Which One Is Right For You? However, in general, meditation most often includes sitting in a cross-legged position, closing your eyes, and clearing your thoughts – most often while listening to peaceful music. Types of meditation include mindfulness meditation, spiritual meditation (prayer), movement meditation (yoga), among others.
Meditation is a surefire way to lower your stress and improve emotional well-being – it may not seem productive at first, but the fruits of making meditation become a habit are plentiful.
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Journaling is a habit many talk about but few put into practice. The idea of writing down your thoughts may seem simple and easy at first but is arduous and difficult to put into practice and turn into a daily habit. However, if taken the time and effort, the benefits of journaling are abundant. Journaling has been shown to reduce stress, boost mental health and well-being, and improve your ability to express yourself in writing.
There are many ways to journal, the most common ones are found here: 10 Types of Journaling for Peace of Mind. They include art journaling, thought journaling, self-reflective journaling, bullet journaling (one of the more popular ones), and gratitude journaling, among many others. Traditional journaling emphasizes the idea of using a physical pen and paper, journaling daily, and writing whatever you feel like writing, not being limited to structure or style.
Many fail at daily journaling, unable to get past the initial bump, but once it becomes a habit, journaling can have a huge impact on your life and make it much more productive.
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Blogging is essentially a journal of yours that is open to the public. As the internet grows and becomes more accessible, people from different countries, different ages, and different genders, can express themselves to millions of people globally. One form of expression in media is blogging – the concept of writing down your thoughts, your feelings, and your experiences to help or educate others. Blogging is a fast and easy way to give personal advice and express yourself to the world.
Website builders that have specialized templates for blogs such as Wix, WordPress, and Blogger are free to use and easy to navigate. Ideas for blog posts include fitness advice, book recommendations, personal lessons learned, reviewing products, and many others. More ideas can be found here: 121 Blog Ideas and Topics to Write About. Gain traffic and website visits by advertising on online platforms such as Instagram or Facebook.
Blogging is an easy way to express yourself and put your voice and perspective into the world, while also sharing knowledge and personal experiences with millions of others. Change someone's life by sharing what changed yours!
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Reading is another way to productively spend your time. Books are the source of knowledge, a fountain of wisdom and information that only waits to be revealed. Reading books can increase your vernacular, improve your writing and literary skills, and widen your perspective and knowledge on subjects of unlimited variety. Studies have shown that reading improves your brain, reduces stress, and improves sleep.
Depending on your age, your interests, and your background, your ideal book list will be unique and different from anyone else's. However, if you love reading romance novels and devouring book after book, reading Twisted Love might not be the best idea. Instead, changing your genre from time to time, and expanding the kinds of books you read, will help enhance your reading skills and expand your knowledge. There are thousands of book lists online to scour and research, but here is one to start you off: 61 Books Everyone Should Read.
Although reading may seem like a huge chore, the benefits of it are bountiful. Reading is one of the greatest ways to fight unproductive hours and, once you're in the habit, you can improve your brain and your health through the passive and relaxing activity of reading.
#5: Listening to a Podcast
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As the internet world explodes with information, podcasts are an amazing way of absorbing information and expanding your knowledge while also engaging in physical activities such as cleaning the house or working out at the gym. Podcasts offer an easy way to relax and an easily accessible way to learn new things and delve into subjects that you know little about. Listening to a podcast is similar to reading, except that it allows you to multitask and take part in physical activities that require less active brain power.
The topics covered in podcasts can range from the environment to animals, to music, to culture – people talk about almost anything and everything. Some podcasts to listen to can be found here: The 50 Best Podcasts to Listen to in 2023. Online platforms such as Audible, Spotify, or YouTube offer free audiobooks and podcasts available anywhere. For books that you don't have time to read, you can download online audiobooks and listen while finishing house chores.
Audiobooks offer an easy way to maximize production in hours of manual labor and can allow you to relax while feeding your brain useful information.
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Exercise is one of the hardest habits to build – everyone wants to be strong and gain muscles (mostly), but not everyone has the willpower to grind through the toughest days and go to the gym. However, those who continually work out reap the abundant fruits that regular exercise gives. Studies show that exercise reduces the chance of heart-related diseases, improves mental health, manages weight gain and loss, and, of course, builds bone and muscle strength.
One excuse people give is their inability to go to the gym – the gym is simply too far away. However, exercise can just as easily be done at home through calisthenics, working out your muscles through your body weight. Push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, squats, the list goes on.
You can find more exercises here: Calisthenics For Beginners: What It Is & How To Start. The gym is not the only place you can exercise.
Another way to get exercise can be to take a walk outside every morning. Participating in yoga classes, online or in person, is also a form of working out. There are thousands of methods and ways to exercise your body and keep it healthy – and you can listen to a podcast while doing so!
#7: Learn Online
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With internet use growing and educational information online expanding at exponential rates, learning about a new subject and finding a new hobby has never been easier. There are tutorial playlists on YouTube about learning the ukelele to computer programming – the possibilities are limitless. Online courses are convenient, more flexible, and have significantly less cost than in-person lessons. There is nothing you cannot learn and nothing the internet does not have to help you on your journey to learning more about the subject of your interest.
Websites such as Coursera, Khan Academy, edX, and many, many more have free, online courses with interactive practice tests, tutorial videos, and articles to help aid your learning experience. Coursera offers free courses from elite universities and Khan Academy has videos and practice tests on subjects from macroeconomics to biology to AP Calculus.
Whenever you find yourself sitting around, scrolling on your phone, wasting precious time, come back to this list and remind yourself that there are millions to do that are a better use of your time and contribute more to your future. Taking small steps to improve yourself and building lifelong habits is pivotal in optimizing your lifestyle. Take this chance to build your body strength, learn something new, and improve your well-being!