How to Kill Time

Four Methods:Killing Time by Entertaining YourselfKilling Time by Gaining KnowledgeKilling Time by Being CreativeKilling Time by Being Productive

Whether you're sitting in a waiting room, waiting in line, or simply have twenty minutes to kill before your next class or appointment, you need to take advantage of that fleeting mistress we call time. It's not hard to beat those boredom blues if you use a little creativity! Get started with Step 1 below or get more specific ideas from the specific sections listed above.

Method 1
Killing Time by Entertaining Yourself

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    Close your eyes and daydream.This is a relaxation technique that teenagers in high school math or history classes may have expertise at, but many adults have forgotten how to do. They're too tense, busy, and hurried to take time to clear their minds of life's overflowing clutter. Take a cue from your younger self and daydream away.
    • Worrying does not count as daydreaming. If you find yourself sitting back and planning out how your life should be going, you're not doing it right. Some people just aren't daydreamers -- if you're one of them, don't force it. There's about a bajillion more tips you can try down this page.
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    Go outside. Have a picnic. Play frisbee. Try flying a kite. Sometimes the simplest things are the most rewarding -- and the most surprisingly fun. Even a walk is healthy and entertaining!
    • If you don't have a ton of time to kill, just take a walk around your neighborhood. Make an effort to be observant -- how many things can you spot that you never noticed before? Think about all your senses -- what can you hear, see, smell, touch, and taste? You might discover something interesting.
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    Take the don't-stare-at-your-phone challenge. The next time you're in a group full of people who is killing time, take note of how many don't have their phones whipped out. You definitely won't need a calculator. Even the ones who know each other will have their phones in hand and head down, playing Candy Crush, Words with Friends, or just pretending to be texting someone they like better. We've become a society that doesn't engage. RESIST. YOU CAN DO IT!
    • Or cave and take pictures of people staring at their phones. It's hard being the only one with your hands not clutching some lit-up piece of plastic, isn't it? That way you're still making a statement...sort of.
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    Go bother someone. Anyone. Whenever someone asks you to do something, say "Would you like some fries with that?" Annoying to them, but fun for you. Annoying people is the best. Try it! Axe bombs, anyone?
    • This one must be done with care. Staring at people until they're visibly uncomfortable, while fun, can result in confrontation. Holding your finger two inches from someone's face while saying, "Not touching you!" is entertaining, but risky when done with strangers. Pick your battles.
    • This doesn't have to be done in person. You could always Rick roll people online or start trolling. If they have any sense at all, they'll thank you.
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    Find new music. If you've been listening to the same playlist of 15 songs on your iPod nano since 2004, it's time to switch it up. Finding new music is easier than ever before. Sites like[1] offer free music downloads from budding artists, all at the click of a button. And being trendier than your friends is always rewarding.
    • You're already on Spotify and Pandora, right? Good. Now just make efforts to go outside your zone of aural comfort. Gems are just waiting to be found. Ask your friends for ideas or look up similar artists to ones you already like on the web.
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    Remember these two words: Rubik's Cube! Even if you're not the best at it, it's fun to practice! And it makes a great conversation starter. Sure, that conversation might be, "Oh, hey! Rubik's cube! I can do it way faster than you!" But it's still a conversation.
    • Don't move the stickers and don't look up the answers. Then you'll just finish and have more time to kill. But if you're going to do it...might as well use wikiHow's Solve a Rubik's Cube article.

Method 2
Killing Time by Gaining Knowledge

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    Read a book. This should be your go-to when you have time to kill. Being well-read is a quality that will pay off multiple times daily. If you have an oncoming wait during your day, bring a magazine or paperback book along with you and catch up on this often ignored hobby.
    • Yeah, yeah, your Kindle counts, too, but you stare at a screen so much already -- why not rep it old school and bring something that smells like the libraries of yore?
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    Read someone else's blog. Okay, some people just don't have the book-reading mentality. Others didn't know they'd be stuck in this time-limbo and didn't think to bring a book with them. If either is your case, hop online (like you just did! Yay!) and read someone else's blog. Odds are you'll either laugh, cry, or get to mock them in your head extensively. Win, win, win.
    • If you're unsure of where to find a good blog, you have no excuse. Huge publications like Time Magazine release a list of the year's best blogs annually.[2] There are even blog awards (they're called the Bloggies)![3] There's a whole world out there you're probably missing!
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    Talk to the people around you. Huh, talk about a crazy idea, right? So archaic and mundane. Remember the last time you went to a Starbucks and actually talked to someone, apart from muttering "I need coffee and stat" to the hipster-looking barista? After wondering how she justified that employment choice to her hipster friends, you sat down and spent three hours sifting through your gmail. So don't do that. The people around you are much more interesting than those angry birds of yours.
    • This might get awkward, especially if you don't do it right. And unless you're British, a quick, "Wow, sure is hot out," might just result in a few askance looks. However, awkward never killed anyone. If you're lucky enough to find someone not staring at their phone, give 'er a try. Especially if they're cute!
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    Study! Imagine that. You didn't come to this webpage for so-obvious-they're-not-obvious ideas, did you? But we don't mean studying as whipping out that textbook from 2005 you never actually opened in class but the bookstore wouldn't take back anyway, we mean something much more interesting -- the Internet.
    • Sites like Memrise, Academic Earth, Coursera and Khan Academy make studying and learning awesome. Pick a topic, there's something there to learn. With videos and graphics, even the most ADD minds will be contented.
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    Search the internet for tutorials or watch funny videos online. You're on wikiHow already, aren't you? Might as well find out how to fake having a boyfriend or how to combine fruit and mayonnaise in a good way. Think of all the things you don't know how to do! And then do them.
    • YouTube is good too, but you might get sidetracked with Miley Cyrus videos and that's just risky. Stick to VideoJug or HowCast to avoid the temptation.

Method 3
Killing Time by Being Creative

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    Write. This could be in your journal or just a handwritten message or letter to a friend. A small journal or a writing pad do not take up very much space in your purse, planner, or even a jacket pocket. With emails and text messages, hand-written notes and letters have become special to many people.
    • You don't have to get wordy if you're not feeling it. Tell a friend they're awesome and draw them a stick figure of them being a ninja and taking over the entire world -- not only will the picture lift their spirits, but they'll also find your sad excuse for an adult's drawing skills to be endearing.
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    Write a song or rap. Let it be about anything you like, anything you don't like, or anything you can think of. Surely the waiting room you're in spawns enough emotions that you're feeling creative? Let them flow! A lot of things rhyme with "killing time."
    • Not a songwriter? Not yet! Here's how to write a song and how to write rap lyrics. Who knows? Your need to kill time could result in a very fulfilling career!
    • If you don't want to write a song, make a music video! It could be a parody, just you goofing off, or you pretending to be the artist. Everyone else on YouTube is doing it -- you might as well, too!
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    Make a scrapbook. They're easy, fun, and preserve your memories much better than a slideshow on Facebook. One trip down the scrapbook aisle at your local craft shop and you'll be a goner. There are so many options you're bound to find something you just have to try.
    • They make great gifts, too. If you want to commemorate your time, vacation, or a relationship with someone, scrapbooks are a great, personal way to say you care.
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    Think about hobbies or crafts that are portable and simple to start and stop as you go. If scrapbooking is a bit of a commitment (or at least requires you be house-bound), think smaller. Keeping your hands busy while you wait is a surefire way to wile away the hours! Consider:
    • Knitting or crocheting. Small projects like potholders or knitted mittens may be portable enough to take with you in a small accessory bag or your purse.
    • Doodling or sketching. Great inventions have been begun in sketch pads and even on napkins. Keep a pencil and small pad for doodling away time when you are waiting. If you're with someone else you can even create your own turn based strategy game by drawing buildings and units and expressing their actions turn by turn.
    • String beads or macrame. However, if using beads, make sure they don't spill all over the place!
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    Make a blog. No one has to read it, you just have to write it. It's a great creative outlet and place to vent away. Who knows, maybe your blog will be one of the blogs someone else reads to kill time! Or you could win a Bloggie!
    • There does not have to be a point to your blog. It doesn't have to be about trying Julia Child's recipes or forcing yourself to date your best friend for 60 days or the war you're waging on fur -- it just has to be. Find a free website (like or Wordpress) and start hacking at the keys!
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    Bake or cook. Pull up a "recipe by ingredient" website and see what you can make from the ingredients in your kitchen. You get to kill time and enjoy the end product! Now that's killing two birds with one stone.

Method 4
Killing Time by Being Productive

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    Keep a mental list of activities you need to do. This is either a list of chores you either find yourself procrastinating about or just never have time for, that do not require a lot of preparation to begin. When you have time to kill, you just might have the motivation to do them. Here are some examples:
    • Balance your checkbook. If you are waiting for an appointment and your checkbook is handy, you may be able to pull it out and take a look at the check register, totaling up the deposits and debits, and making sure the entries are up to date.
    • Update your daily planner. Many of these are on PDAs or other electronic devices, and old entries can be deleted to free up space from time to time.
    • Clean out your cell phone's messages and old contacts. If you have a cell phone with a bunch of old contact information, or that stores a lot of recent calls, missed calls, and voice and text messages, this might be a good time to clear all of the useless stuff out.
    • Organize your purse or wallet. Be careful that no one is observing you if you have a lot of cash or personal stuff that is pulled out; however, if there are few people around you, you may sort your credit cards, business cards, and other stuff to make things a bit easier to find when you need them.
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    Meditate. This probably should've been first on this page as it's one of the best ideas -- meditating can calm and relax you like nothing else. If you've never done it before, give it a shot! It only takes ten minutes of practically doing nothing.
    • It is, however, something you'll get better at over time. Don't expect to reach nirvana the first time you try it right before your dentist appointment. Getting adequately zenned is a skill that comes with practice.
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    Get some real work done. Whether it's homework or cooking dinner, there's probably some activity that you need to get done eventually. How about that old friend that emailed you two months ago you've completely forgotten about? It's either that or laundry!
    • If you can't think of anything, you're probably not thinking hard enough. Most people have something they can clean, organize, make, submit, research, or finalize. Think ahead -- what will you need done next week?
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    Write an article on how to kill time. Oops, already did that. But you could change this one!


  • Develop time efficiency tactics so that at the end of the day you are not in a rush to complete tasks. Using small blocks of time during the day to take care of items can give you some needed relaxation later.
  • Sleep! But set the alarm clock for your meeting, or you may miss it.
  • Do your eyebrows need tweezing?


  • Don't sleep if you are a heavy sleeper -- who wants to sleep in a waiting room, anyway?
  • Don't overrun yourself trying to use every second of every day productively. Give yourself a chance to simply relax occasionally.

Article Info

Categories: Boredom Busters