13 Productive Things To Do When You Don’t Feel Like Doing Homework

I am going to go ahead and assume that, if you are on this website right now, you are not doing your homework. And I am also going to assume that, if you are a student of any sort, you probably have at least one assignment that you should be tending to right now. (But you know that they say about making assumptions! Let me know if I am making an ass out of you and me right now!) I don’t say this to stress you out–I say this because, well, doing the work you technically have to do can be really hard. I mean, sure, sometimes you have those days in which you feel like you’re the most motivated person on the planet, and you get all of your homework done right after school, and you seriously consider starting a studyblr. Other days? Uh, not so much. But I’ve got some good news for you if you happen to be stuck in one of those “not so much” days right now–you don’t actually have to do your homework.

At least, not this very second. You will need to do your homework at some point, and that’s just a given. And, if you’re a master procrastinator (like, um, not me, why do you ask?), you will already know that doing “productive” things before you get started on whatever you really have to do is often just a way to put off doing the work without feeling too guilty about it. Still, we all have those days in which you can tell that homework or studying just isn’t going to happen for whatever reason, and trying to sit down and force yourself to do it is only going to make the situation worse. So, check out these things that you can do when homework really doesn’t seem possible, but you still want to do something productive:

1. Get some exercise:

If you’re feeling too sluggish and tired to do your work, doing some quick exercising will actually help you out, since exercise helps your brain produce endorphins, which actually help you prioritize your activities. Don’t interrupt your homework to do, like, a killer bootcamp class or ten mile run–it’ll take a long time and you’ll feel too exhausted afterwards to focus on your work–but doing something that gets your blood moving like a yoga class or quick jog will help you feel more energized and make it easier to focus on your work.

2. Clean your room:

So, cleaning your room is probably the ultimate fake-productive means of productivity. But if your room looks like a bomb went off in it, and your mom has been nagging you to clean it for weeks, it’s probably not doing you any favors in terms of focusing. Give yourself thirty minutes to pick some things off the floor and hang up the clothes you have laying on the floor in your closet–this way, you’ll feel like you’ve actually accomplished something, and you won’t have as many distractions as you did before.

3. Specifically, clean off your desk:

A messy desk does not make for effective studying. Clear off old pictures and tchotchkes that you know will distract you (you know the ones) and wipe it over with an antibacterial wipe to clear off any residual sludge you have on the desk.

4. Do some cooking:

I often find that doing something like cooking or crafting helps me focus later on, since they create an actual tangible object that doesn’t happen with doing homework. You need to eat anyway, so I recommend cooking–look up some recipes based on things you have in your fridge and get to work. The whole thing should take about an hour or less, and then you’ll feel more ready to do your homework.

5. Write a to-do list:

I am a big proponent of to-do lists–first of all, they often make a super busy day seem a lot less stressful, since writing things out makes them seem like less of a big deal. And, of course, there are very few things that are more satisfying than crossing things off your to-do list, which will motivate you do actually do them.

6. Do the most menial things on said to-do list:


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Whatever activities you have on your list that you can do easily, try and get them done right away–maybe you have to call your grandma, or take the dog for a walk, or take the dishes out of the dishwasher. Getting them done will make you feel productive (you get to cross them off your list!) and help motivate you to do other stuff, too.

7. Book your appointments:

If your parents still make your appointments for you, you can skip this one. But if you’re responsible for booking your doctor’s and dentist’s appointments, go ahead and make them now.

8. Write things in your planner:


And, once you’ve booked your appointments, write them down. Whether you have a planner, a Google calendar, or a bullet journal, it’s important to use one to keep all your dates straight.

9. Send that one email you’ve been putting off for days:

You know the one–maybe you have to write a teacher asking them for a recommendation, or send a thank you note, or ask for a refund on a weird top you got from a sketchy online store. Whatever it is, get it done now–I promise you’ll feel good about it afterwards.

10. Purge your closet:

If you really need a distraction, try going full Kondo and clearing old things out of your room. This is something that I recommend doing only under extreme circumstances, since it tends to take a while, but you’ll probably feel better after you finally get rid of all of your soccer camp t-shirts from fifth grade.

11. Practice an instrument:


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Play an instrument? If so, you probably need to practice. Don’t play an instrument? Take one up! (You have an old keyboard lying around the house, right?) This will exercise a different part of your brain than the one you use for studying, so you’ll feel more ready to do homework when you finish.

12. Start a blog:


It’ll look good on college applications. (Probably.)

13. Read the news:


You’ll need to know the information if you’re doing college interviews, or just talking to your teachers anytime soon.



Do you often have trouble getting motivated to do our homework? Do you have any tips for dealing with it? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

13 Study Habits You Need To Quit In College

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