There are moments in life when there just isn’t anything to do. You’re stuck waiting at a bus station; your friends are taking longer than normal to come over; you’re supposed to be working or studying but you’ve embraced procrastination into your life. Hey, we all do it. Don’t feel bad.
You find yourself with - for whatever reason - a spare slice of time. The internet is in front of you. The entire knowledge that humanity has ever amassed is at your fingertips; think of what the science and arts masters of old would have done with such a portal! And then think: yeah, but… I just want to do something fun instead.
Again: we all do it. Sometimes you don’t want to learn; you don’t want to use the time productively to catch up on your emails; you just want to waste some time and clear your head for awhile. If that sounds familiar, then here are a few ideas to keep you busy without you actually being very busy at all.
Flash as a whole might have died out in popularity (coming across a website built entirely from Flash is an immediate “back” button dealbreaker, for most of us) but it does still have a use: games.
They’re free - well, if you ignore the many ads that might be flashing across the screen. They’re not complicated and in-depth like your normal gaming choices might be. You can start, stop, forget they exist, or spend many hours going through the same repetitive motions. Or you can chance your hand if you’re feeling lucky, by tracking down the best online casino and seeing if your luck is going to bear out. Or if you just want something simple, it’s pretty hard to turn down a classic like Bubble Shooter when you just want something to distract you.
Help Solve Cold Cases
Think you might be a detective in the making? Then you could help solve cold cases, thanks to the Murder Accountability Project. For the moment it just features US crimes, but given that some of the most famous crimes of all time have happened in the States, that shouldn’t deter you. You can hunt for clues, read old files, and see if you can come up with a theory no one else has.
Citizen science seeks to harness the power of the internet for good. All sorts of scientific fields are involved, outsourcing the bulk work that would otherwise be done by overqualified researchers who are best turning their brains elsewhere. There are plenty of studies online; there’s a good overview here at the BBC for some ideas. Some of the most popular projects have helped identify galaxies in deep space images, understand the way we perceive age for psychology, or helped to map the neural connections in the human brain.
If that all sounds like you need a lot of time - you really don’t. This is the kind of activity you can pick up, do for awhile, then put down. And for once, your procrastination will have actually been useful - it’s hard to say fairer than that!