49 ways to kill an hour

Time is precious and all, but occasionally, you just gotta kill an hour. Here are some ideas.

  1. Learn to roll a coin across your fingers.
  2. Read about the most fascinating and obscure corners of the globe.
  3. Start learning a foreign language.
  4. Teach yourself to juggle.
  5. Find out about the most interesting pages on Wikipedia.
  6. Watch Helvetica on Netflix.
  7. Catch up on my blog.
  8. Catch up on Ben Trube’s blog.
  9. Read the archives of Questionable Content, starting with the very first one.
  10. Start reading Hamlet.
  11. Learn about cognitive biases.
  12. Practice Zen meditation (aka “zazen”).
  13. Learn about common misconceptions. (Did you know that the Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4, and hydrogen peroxide doesn’t effectively disinfect cuts?)
  14. Play Tetris.
  15. Go through your closets and find stuff you don’t use anymore. Give it to Goodwill.
  16. Learn differential calculus.
  17. Browse Imgur.
  18. Place a coin on your elbow and grab it with your hand (same arm). See how many coins you can do at once.
  19. Write a story. Even if you don’t think you’re any good at writing.
  20. Memorize your favorite poem. (Mine is “Ozymandias.”)
  21. Read about Kiva, and if you like what you see, lend them $25. (I’ve done this many times and have always gotten the money back.)
  22. Write a super-detailed journal entry. If you don’t have a journal, start one!
  23. Make a quick run to the grocery store.
  24. Draw something. Even if you don’t think you’re any good at drawing.
  25. Watch some Louis C.K. (if you’re not easily offended).
  26. Find and fund a worthy Kickstarter project.
  27. Exercise.
  28. For each letter in the alphabet, think of a word that has that letter doubled. (For instance, “butter” works for T – but it has to be twice in a row, so “potato” doesn’t count.) It’s possible for every letter except Q, X, and Y. Place names don’t count!
  29. Listen to music.
  30. Learn how fractals work.
  31. Play with your dog. If you don’t have a dog, visit a friend who does! (If you don’t have any friends, uh…that sucks, I guess?)
  32. Invent the longest palindrome you can. For instance: “Race car.” Or: “I’m a lasagna hog. Go hang a salami.”
  33. Find anagrams for your name. (Now can you guess why my blog is subtitled Crude Inky Blab?)
  34. Eat dinner at some restaurant you’ve never visited before.
  35. Draw five shapes so that each shape touches every other shape. (Okay, fine, this one’s not possible – but you can easily spend an hour trying!)
  36. Memorize the first hundred digits of pi. Hint: it’s easier if you break them up into chunks, like this.
  37. Write a sonnet.
  38. Send an e-mail to your future self.
  39. Learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
  40. If there’s snow outside, make a snowman. If not, dig a hole and look for buried treasure.
  41. Learn the steps to a simple dance, and practice with a partner (real or imaginary).
  42. Try a new recipe.
  43. See how much of the song American Pie you can remember. Ditto Hotel California.
  44. Try a brand of beer you’ve never had before. If you don’t drink alcohol, try a brand of coffee you’ve never had before. If you don’t drink alcohol or coffee, make yourself a certificate that says “I have more willpower than Brian D. Buckley.”
  45. Learn Dvorak.
  46. Download Paint.Net (free, legal program similar to Photoshop) and learn how to use it.
  47. Pick a country (like Iceland!) and learn all about it, just as if you were planning a trip there. Bonus points: travel there!
  48. Explore a nearby town that you’ve driven past but never stopped at before.
  49. Clean up the house a little…nah.

Got a 50th? Leave it in the comments!

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3 responses to “49 ways to kill an hour

  1. Killing time? What sort of example to set is that?

    Time is invaluable. You should slaughter it utterly.

  2. I dispute that hydrogen peroxide doesn’t disinfect. I can’t find anyplace that confirms that. Quite the opposite. Evidence is overwhelming that it does.

    • I probably should have been more precise. Hydrogen peroxide does disinfect surfaces like countertops, etc., but the sources I’ve found say it has been shown to be ineffective in disinfecting wounds and cuts (which is how people often use it).
      A few sources…
      “We know you’ve heard that it [hydrogen peroxide] is an excellent antiseptic for wounds, but that, unfortunately, is a myth.” They cite several studies.
      Another article which cites sources: “Although hydrogen peroxide is very commonly used, surprisingly few studies have been conducted to examine its effect on the wound healing process and its efficacy as a wound antiseptic…In conclusion, hydrogen peroxide…is also ineffective in reducing the bacterial count.”
      This medical dictionary describes it as “a disinfectant and sterilizing agent without antiseptic properties because it is rapidly inactivated by enzymes in the skin”

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