Never be bored again – idleness advice from a retard

Are these some of your favorite activities?

idleness boring retard 3 idleness boring retard 2 idleness boring retard

No? And yet you still do them almost daily, don’t you?

idleness boring retard 4


Are you unemployed, bored, waiting for Godot, or in any other way just wondering what to do with all the time you have on your hands? (if you exist, please leave a comment)?

What do you do about it? Do you bother to bring music, books, crosswords, your smartphone wherever you go – only to get doubly bored when you forget them, are out of range or run out of battery…?

idleness boring retard 5


Is there a better way? I think so.


Say: “At least you are not []”

Before I retired, whenever I found myself bored (e.g., waiting for the bus), I just had to think “at least I’m not at the office” to put a smile on my face. Often I also tried simply smiling, which actually takes the boredom away, as well as makes you a little happy (more than you’d think if you haven’t tried it).

However, it can feel weird, and if you’re conscious of what others think, it’s not always the best solution…

teethsmile retarded idleness bored

Make sure you pick the right smile, if smiling in public for no reason


Fully retarded

What if you don’t even have an office to imagine not being at, then what do you do?

These are my favorite tricks for avoiding boredom (However, I can’t remember the last time I was bored):

Think of something worse than your current activity – that you are not doing right now: school, office, conference (if you are actually at one of those places, I’m sorry. You’ve reached rock bottom. Perhaps you should just quit, or… *going out on a limb here* try actual work at work).

Try being grateful: I’m not hungry, I’m not cold, I live in …[Sweden? Meh..].

What you wished for. Imagine the reason for your idleness is something you have longed for or used to long for: Think “Vacation!”, “Weekend!”, “Retirement!”, “No boss”

boring vacation idleness retard


Never, ever exacerbate your misery by emphasizing your exact situation (“I’m unemployed and have nothing to do“). Make it into something else in your mind.


If you have too much time, you are special and should be grateful

Everybody (else) has too little time.

At least that’s what most people complain about. Just think about that. If you are long term bored in your life, you have something almost nobody else has: abundant time. Just use it – for anything:

Pretend to be a child: ride a bicycle until you fall, make drawings or oil paintings, record a music video (starring you of course), goof around

Do good: walk somebody’s dog, visit elderly people and just talk (they will be immensely grateful and you just might learn something)

Write a research report: on the first thing that comes to mind (interview homeless people and send the story to your local paper, find out what makes a face beautiful, write the history of the world, make a family tree…)

If you make sure you’re never bored – by being active, by making yourself and others laugh, by accidentally hurting yourself, by doing scary things, you’ll never get age anxiety either.

Leading a non-boring life means saturating your memory with high intensity milestones that slow down the perception of time in the retrospect. Your life will seem longer and fuller when reminiscing – and as an added bonus you’ll learn more and postpone common age related brain diseases too.

Money is never an issue – If you have enough to read this, you have enough to never be bored.

And if you are chasing after a career and money in droves, you can not ever be bored, because you should be thinking, doing, planning, learning, investing. All. The. Time. Your own personal hell will materialize once you get to that FU money.

bored money blinds retard idle


A cure for short term boredom

Yeah, you say, that sounds good for weekends without money, lazy summer weeks, unemployment, retirement and so on. But what about waiting in line, or for the bus?

Personally I did katas/forms (a certain pattern of martial arts air punches and kicks) at bus stops as a 14 year old (as a 24 year old too, but that’s just embarrassing). Katas were especially helpful during cold winter days (or nights). Just don’t overdo it if there are people around.

flying kick

Back in my days a a ninja, before taekwondo and kickboxing

Nowadays I use my brain more than my body, being mindful of my surroundings, of textures, colors, people, their faces, style, buildings. I go deeper as well, thinking about underlying processes (rusting, smiling, noise etc.). I pay attention to my breathing, my posture (e.g., breathe deeply and relax my shoulders or strike a power pose). I try recalling what I last learned or heard during my podcast walks.


When you know you will be idle for a long time

Be prepared and keep material with you (write notes on a phone or pad, always have your devices stocked with dozens of pod casts lined up for listening, bring your e-reader [Kindle Paperwhite]).

Choose your material carefully (personally I get bored instantly by talking heads, ordinary news, celebrities talking about their childhood and so on, but I’m always intrigued by new technological findings). Keep adding to your pod cast queue and your reading wish list.

You might find some interesting items among my best pod casts here, and my favorite books here (and sci-fi only here).


How is being 100% retarded working out?

I’m never bored and this is really all I do in a day or a week. And please note, I don’t even have a telephone number so I never spend any time on the phone:

I’m reading, walking, exercising, collecting and listening to pod casts, gradually building more elaborate practices for information input and output, while caring for my adopted rescue dog and writing blog articles and books. In short, I’m doing exactly everything I dreamed of doing. Winning!

Perhaps the most important insight from retirement was that having a purpose probably is important after all.

-The blog and the dog took care of that, but I’m sure just writing a book or starting an amateur research project would have sufficed too. However, a book just isn’t quite as fun if nobody’s reading it.

Waiting too long before retardation was also good, since it has given me an extra mental buffer (a few years too many in front of stock market screens and you can think “At least I’m not at the office” for the rest of your life).


Idle lessons from a retard

Fight long term boredom with a battery of pod casts, Kindle Paperwhite and an Amazon wish list of books lined up, a notebook or digital commonplace, and a list of ongoing childish, good or useful projects. Start building your own pod cast and book lists now.

Vanquish short term idleness with mind games (“not at office”, “don’t have influenza”) and mindfulness (observe details around you and in you). Use the bonus down time for deep thoughts on your work, your life, for practicing power poses, doing shoulder [least conspicuous] mobility exercises etc. Make a mental list of mini activities that can be executed anywhere: breathing, observing, power poses, shoulder mobility…

Never waste time; enjoy it and use it.

Sooner or later you’ll be like me, and appreciate a few extra minutes waiting for the bus or tube – seeing them as a bonus rather than torture. Unless you are in a hurry that is… but then again; you should never be in a hurry. You should just walk quickly between interesting meetings.

Smile. If nothing else works, or is appropriate, just smile (unless you are Stephen Hawking. He can’t smile. But something tells me he never struggles with boredom anyway)

boredom idle smile

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  1. I concur Mikael: If you have too much time, you are special and should be grateful.

    Spare time? Boredom?
    I forgot them too.

  2. What about just using the time? I use pretty much all of this excess time to fill in some language learning sessions on memrise, or on reading in general… If you’re bored, you might as well use the time … I also thought that people like you would most certainly act with such a mindset ;)

    • Exactly my point.

      Some use it all and are never bored

      Some notice when they are involuntarily idle, and take the opportunity to learn something

      This post was for those that don’t do those things naturally, and for the moments when you don’t have a phone, e-reader, book or other stuff with you. If you are used to relying on electronics for activities, finding yourself with no battery might be very boring unless you have a plan B

      I relish the little waiting times that occur here and there, and take the opportunity to do the little things that I have neglected

      Keep being not bored, Roman, that’s a good way to go about life ;)

  3. Conversely, being “bored” can be a good thing in small doses (ask any graphics artist about render times ;)).

    In my own experience, if you really really really really really really want something, you have to forget everything else for the time being. If you’re “bored”, it either means you’re waiting for something, or you have no commitments.

    Whilst having no commitments is bad, waiting for something (replies, ideas, inspiration) can actually be good. Obviously, if you’re “waiting” in front of the TV, it’s not going to happen. But if you are genuinely waiting for something to happen, this could describe a small dose of boredom.

    In this sense, boredom is good. I’d rather be bored whilst involved with something big than be “too busy” to care; “busy” being the prime fallacy of modern life. The only times you’re too busy are when you’re too scared to face reality.

    Perhaps this is what you mean — instead of treating time as something you can afford to waste, it needs to be treated as a gift to be used as wisely as possible. Sometimes, this may mean being calm and introspective, which can seem boring.

  4. I was waiting for the word “mindfulness” to show up, this is key for me. I’m always looking ahead to the next thing (which causes boredom when there is a distance between where you are and where you are going to) instead of being in the moment where I am. Mindfulness is a study and pursuit in and of itself.

    (Also, ditched the cell phone 10 years ago and never looked back. Addictive personality in me would waste so much time on a modern smartphone, and instead of random mindless communications I try to have intentional ones [although I do abuse email])


    • When I ditched my fixed phone 10 years ago I was considered truly retarded (not least by my girlfriend). I’m (positively) amazed you don’t even have a small portable computer with you (a.k.a. smartphone).

      I for one am looking forward to having a wireless internet implant, so I am not trying to rid myself of technology, just of clumsy and intrusive technology (like a ring tone saying somebody is interrupting and trying to talk to me right now), rather embrace as much of it as soon as possible.

      • I have 2 computers at work and a tablet at home. That’s enough of a fix for me! I’m no luddite, I just find it more of a distraction than a positive force. -philip

        • Cool. I’ve had to explain myself as “not a luddite” too at times. I definitely agree with you, it’s just that my friends never decide on just one place so I have to have some way of tracking them when out and about. Hence I *need* to use WiFi hotspots with my smartphone.

    • Cancer? Really? You’ve probably had too little Omega-3 rich fish oil from Arctic Med ;)

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