How To Overcome Boredom: What Do You Really Want To Do?

This post is a part of the ‘how to overcome boredom’ series from a previous blog I used to write on, edited and republished here for your pleasure.

You’ve done everything you’d planned for today, tried out some of the activities in “Filling In the Gaps“, and are feeling positive. And still you’re bored. “Now what?”, you may ask yourself. And you’re doing the right thing. When you’ve exhausted everything you had to do and may have found somewhat interesting, it is time to find out what you really want to do.

With this I don’t mean, however, that you should do whatever gives you more pleasure in the moment. If it were, everyone would be playing games while eating chocolate and watching TV. I want you to focus not so much on your dopamine system but rather on your heart. When Steve Pavlina talked about prioritizing with your heart, he wrote “You may come up with a list that looks something like this:

  1. Feeling connected
  2. Helping people
  3. Serving the greater good
  4. Being kind
  5. Sharing my gifts and talents with the world,”

We’re not discussing priorities, though, so maybe you’ll come up with something like this:

  • Visiting a close friend
  • Calling a loved one
  • Starting a challenge (eg 100-pushups)
  • Reading a book
  • Going out for a walk
  • Deciding my priorities
  • Growing as a person

The point is that you should think about what you want to do and not what you want to focus on, because you’ll want something you can do right now.

Most people might be happy with the list provided in the previous post, but some will find that it lacks something. Maybe you can’t even define that something, but you just know that what’s on the list doesn’t match what you genuinely want to do. I find there are two ways to find out what you really want to do: intuition and intuition.

Obviously, they are both the same. They are based on the assumption that deep down you already know what you want to do. If you are used to the first intuition, you probably don’t need to read any further. Whenever you have nothing to do, you automatically know what you want to do next. Probably you’re very in touch with your values, goals and purpose, which give you a sense of clarity about what should come next. An example would be Alice, who commented on a previous post in the series (when it was first published). She wrote,

“I haven’t been bored in [...]YEARS, as I always have a few projects to work on.

They differ from each other – so if I’m more in the mood for composing, I will work on a soundtrack or my next album or whatever. And when I feel in the mood like writing, I will write on my personal blog or on my personal development website. When I feel more like learning something, I have always a book that needs to be read or a topic I’m exploring at the moment… There’s always a project for every occasion.”

Unfortunately, not everyone experiences this kind of clarity, or at least not all the time. Luckily for us ‘regular’ people, there are easy ways to get instant clarity, even if not so long-lasting. The one I’d like to introduce you to uses meditation and coherence as its core and may take some time, but heck, if you’d be bored anyway why not give it a go? You might find it better if you sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and hands on your lap:

  1. Breathe deeply. With your eyes closed, focus solely on your breath and count to 15, imagining the numbers change with every breath. You may want to imagine writing the number in the sand of the beach as you inhale and have a wave clear the sand for the next one as you exhale. Once you’ve done this enough times, counting to ten or five may suffice.
  2. Focus on your heart. Now you can breathe normally again. Don’t let any thoughts enter your mind as you focus on the  area around your heart for a moment.
  3. Feel gratitude, compassion and love. Remember a time when you were very grateful and feel it in your heart. Do the same with compassion until you are drenched in positive emotions and unconditional love. Smile.
  4. Ask  the question, “what do I want to do?” Don’t try to force and answer, they should come to you sooner or later. Don’t judge the answers that come to you. Instead wait for the one that makes you want to get up and act.
  5. Just do it. Count down from five to zero, open your eyes, and do what you want to do!

If you want, you can call this the BFFAJ technique, although I’m not sure how such an acronym will help you remember anything at all.

Of course there are many more ways to get clarity (and make it last long), and it wouldn’t feel right not to redirect you to an outside post (or two), so you might want to check out Steve’s articles Why Logic Always Fails You and 11 Ways to Gain Clarity.

** this marks the end of the ‘how to overcome boredom series’, hope you liked these posts though to me they feel like they came from the paleolithic era ;) **


Here are all the posts on the How To Overcome Boredom series:

  1. The APNA Trick
  2. Filling In The Gaps
  3. Mood And Energy
  4. What Do You Really Want To Do? 
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