29 Semi-Productive Things I Do Online When I’m Trying to Avoid Real Work

Productive things to do online when you are bored and lazy

You don’t always have to work hard to be productive.  Productivity can simply be the side effect of doing the right things.

So here’s a list of 29 semi-productive things I do online when my mind is set on avoiding ‘real work.’

  1. Check delicious popular tags like ‘useful,’ ‘tutorials,’ ‘tips,’ ‘howto,’ ‘advice,’ ‘entrepreneurship,’ etc. for interesting, educational articles to read.
  2. Watch one of the thousands of educational videos streaming at TED.com, Academic Earth and Teacher Tube.
  3. Read an online book list and find a new book to grab next time I’m at the library.  Here’s another list.  And another.  And another.
  4. Read a classic book online for free at Project Gutenberg, Planet eBook, or the E-books Directory.
  5. Research a new Do It Yourself project at DIY Network, Instructables, eHow, or WikiHow.
  6. Add to, delete from, or just generally sort my ongoing to-do list at Remember The Milk.
  7. Create a cool graphical mind map of some of my recent ideas at bubbl.us.
  8. Email a close friend or family member I haven’t spoken to in awhile.
  9. Share my favorite mp3s, photos, videos, etc. with friends and family using Dropbox.
  10. Backup my recent photos, documents, and other important files online using Microsoft’s free 25 gig SkyDrive.
  11. Use Wikipedia’s random article function to pick a random article to read.
  12. Touch up on my math and science skills over a the Khan Academy, MIT OpenCourseWare, or LearningScience.org.
  13. Send a paper greeting card directly to a friend or relative at enGreet.
  14. Start learning a new language online for free at BBC Languages or Livemocha.
  15. Watch one of the insightful 6 minute and 40 second presentations at Ignite Show.
  16. Use Memorize Now to memorize a cool joke, or poem, or whatever.
  17. Use Media Convert to convert video files I have on my computer into a format I can view on my iPhone or iPod later on.
  18. Listen to an educational podcast over at Odeo or via iTunes on iTunes U.
  19. Read one of the academic journals at the Directory of Open Access Journals.
  20. Get a free college education online using this guide from Lifehacker (or read one of the other useful articles on Lifehacker).
  21. Inspire and spark my creative mind by looking at a rolling slideshow of the highest rated photos on Flickr for the last 7 days.
  22. Catch up on a short history lesson at HyperHistory or The Internet History Sourcebooks Project.  Or find out what happened today in history.
  23. Take a fun, educational online quiz at Quizlet.
  24. Play an educational online game at Lumosity, Sporcle, Games for the Brain, or Math Run.
  25. Add a little gentle rain to my environment using RainyMood.com and then simply meditate and relax in my computer chair for 10 minutes.
  26. Sell old stuff I no longer need on eBay and make a little extra cash.
  27. Find a new musical artist to listen to based on music I like at Grooveshark, Pandora, last.fm, or Deezer.
  28. Find out what’s happening in our world from quality international news sources like BBC News and Reuters.
  29. Write a blog post like this one.

Oh, and ever since I bought my new (super sexy) Apple iPad, I’ve been enjoying all of these sites on the go and catching looks from almost everyone who passes me while I browse.

So what kind of semi-productive things do you do online in your off-time?  Please share them with us in the comments section below.

Photo by: Colorblind Picaso Party Casino


  1. Fi says

    Stumbling upon your website earlier today certainly interfered with my productivity for the rest of the afternoon. But I discovered a great thought-provoking site that I intend to visit again and again :-) So thanks.

  2. vp says

    Nice touch. This page has been duly bookmarked for future use 😛
    Very, very useful.
    [specifically the foreign language bit, I’ve always wanted to learn foreign languages. ]

  3. daniel says

    Oddly enough this page has become a motivation for me. I just start doing one of those when I realize that I am not doing anything productive. I believe it has inspired me and made me semi-productive this past week… Thank you.

  4. says

    This is a great list. I am going to bookmark it for my own personal use. I find I waste time when I could be more productive. You mentioned that one might want to write a blog like this one. I need to be writing one now, but also reading anything that you write… because it inspires me.

  5. says

    The BBC also does very good documentaries that you could stream online. I just watched one about Wagner by Stephen Fry. It was pretty good!

    Thanks for that list!

  6. Vincent says

    i should be doing something actually productive right now instead of typing this sentence… 😉

  7. Melissa says

    I like to use Duolingo.com to learn new languages. I’m trying to learn Spanish right now, and I’m pretty confident in French already.

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