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Maddi Lee

10 Productive Ways to Waste Time

Procrastination gets a really bad rep when you think about it. Everyone’s always talking about ways you can stop procrastinating…but did you know? Wasting time can actually be one of the best decisions you made today! There are tons of ways you can waste time in a fun, yet productive manner. (Which technically isn’t considered wasting time, but technicalities are party poopers, honestly.)

Here are ten ways you can maximize the hours and hours you are wasting while your future self weeps miserably in a sea of self-inflicted consequences.


1) Free Rice


For anyone looking to waste time, while earning someone’s dinner, this amazing website is the place to go. Basically, Free Rice tests you on your knowledge of various subjects, including—get this—SAT prep! For each answer that you get right, 10 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations World Food Programme to end world hunger. You can join groups of like-minded people and together learn a lot about a range of subjects, from languages to humanities to sciences to math. So far, 100,989,835,776 grains of rice have been donated through Free Rice!

2) TED


TED talks are the PERFECT way to waste time! If you’re looking to learn something new…and maybe something else…and maybe something else…this website will keep you supplied for years. With tons of amazing lectures by inspiring speakers, TED covers hundreds of topics from “Why your worst deeds don’t define you” to “Growing evidence of brain plasticity” to “A 30-year history of the future.” It’s also great preparation for the SAT, as addressed in this post!

3) HowStuffWorks


This website is where smart people go to read an unhealthy amount of articles that may or may not be relevant to their lives. How Stuff Works contains a wealth of articles to get lost in…but it’s also a great way to just become more knowledgeable in general. There are articles in all sorts of categories like Tech, Culture, Health, and Entertainment. There are even tons of quizzes and podcasts! Browsing through articles on websites like this can really help when it comes to the SAT—especially the essay section, where you’ll need to recall all kinds of information and outside examples.

4) Big Think


According to its website, “Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet—the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.” This website contains lots of hidden gems. Most of the articles and videos are very interesting and relevant to the problems of today’s world. It’s really interesting, and it’s a great way to gain perspective on a lot of the “big ideas” of our age: the information revolution. You should definitely check it out!

5) Lumosity.com


You’ve probably seen the TV ads for this one; it’s definitely been publicized heavily. Lumosity is based on the idea of “exercise for the brain.” It challenges your mind with scientifically-based training and allows you to build up better memory and attention. But here’s the catch…it trains you through fun, seemingly normal games! Lumosity customizes a training program specific to your abilities and is available on all your devices. The only letdown is that you have to pay money to access a lot of the brain training games.

6) Code Academy


Always wanted to learn how to code, but never knew where to start? Code Academy is a great way to spend a few extra hours (…or hours that you don’t have!). Through their free and easy-to-follow courses, you can learn different coding languages like Python, Javascript, and HTML or even pick up specific job skills. It’s easy to log on and learn something new…plus, coding has been known to enrich problem-solving skills, logical thought processes, and outside-of-the-box thinking…all skills which you will use for the rest of your life. (*coughAndfortheSATcough*)

7) Khan Academy


Everyone probably already knows what Khan Academy is, but it’s an amazing site, so there’s no harm in re-introducing it. Khan Academy is a nonprofit educational organization which brings free, comprehensive educational resources to you from a wide variety of subjects. There are over 100,000 practice problems and 6,000 micro-lectures from renowned professors. Topics cover test prep, as well as astronomy, finance, biology, physics, history, economics, computer science, etc. It’s really an amazing site and a very productive way to spend a few hours.

8) Duolingo


Alright, so I’ve covered Duolingo in previous articles, but this website is one of the most entertaining, yet educational time-crunchers out there. You can learn all sorts of languages—Spanish, Dutch, German, French, etc— but in a format that’s extremely fun and addictive. Not surprisingly, it’s addictive because it’s formatted in a very video-game-esque manner. You can gain points and levels and awards. It doesn’t feel at all like your average dull high school Spanish class. It focuses on learning from an immersion standpoint, and you can easily get caught up in these lessons for hours at a time. Great for prepping for a SAT subject test in a foreign language—or for any sort of test in the classroom!

9) Memrise


This is a great memory tool and an easy way to kill an hour. Memrise combines fun games with memory improvement. With thousands of free community-created courses in languages, trivia, and standardized test prep, this website is perfect if you need to memorize a lot of facts or if you simply want to have fun. Memrise uses scientifically-based memory improvement methods, like mnemonic-enhanced flashcards and the spacing effect to boost your learning speed and ability.

10) LifeHacker


This website is the perfect place to find useful articles that you’ll actually use in everyday life. Seriously! LifeHacker contains tons of great tips for saving money, starting businesses, improving memory, pulling off a great interview, making friends, etc. There are lots of great articles to read to help improve your performance at school, stay productive, and manage stress. So, basically, you can read about being productive while procrastinating, which is technically productive…in a procrastinative kind of way.


I guess the old adage does have its merits: “It’s not wasting time if you’re being semi-productive.” Just kidding, I made that up. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true! These are great ways to feel less guilty about procrastinating on something you shouldn’t be procrastinating.

Or you can do what I always do and completely forget productivity. It’s never too late to watch funny vine compilations on Youtube and regret all your life decisions.

Ah. It’s a good life.



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About Maddi Lee

Maddi is currently a high school junior in southern California. She is an avid freelance writer and has been featured in multiple literary publications and anthologies. When she isn't writing, she loves traveling, doodling, and most of all, sleeping. Through her own experience and passion, she hopes to help guide fellow students through the roller coaster that is SAT and college admissions...that is, as long as she survives the journey herself!

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