While I often advocate putting down your electronics and actually having a life, I know that sometimes you just need a little entertainment while you’re standing in line, waiting for an appointment, or because you need a break from work. With smartphones, tablets, and the internet, we’ve got the ability to do that fairly easily. But not all time wasters are created equal. I am a bit of an expert, as I sit around in a mall all day. While I am fairly busy, I do often end up with a lot of time to kill between customers. So here are a few of my favorite time wasting sites.
Please note: there’s no social media on this list. That’s too obvious. Same goes for streaming media sites. You already know about all those. Me telling you about the newest chat app or something isn’t going to do you any favors, you have what you like and you are probably already using it. I am talking more about something that you might not come across in your everyday life, or that you can gain something from. Plus, you don’t always have the option for sound wherever you find yourself being bored, so here are some ideas that will work just about anywhere:
One great site is “Wait But Why.” I like the writing style, and there’s lots of topics for you to sit and read. I find them especially good when you need a little break at work. You always walk away with something interesting, and I have found some very interesting conversational tidbits from there. I also find myself spending lots more time on sites that have easy links to related reading. When the reading is that good, it’s easy to find something new to look at.
If you like your posts with more illustrations, you will often find what you’re looking for on The Oatmeal. These might not be suitable for work, as they have some strong language and the pictures can often be gross, but they are hilarious and sometimes educational. This is the guy who helped invent the game Exploding Kittens, after all.
Whether you’re trying to prove to someone that you’ve got a sensitive side or you are having a lousy day and need something to cheer you up, there is probably nothing better than Explore.org. Click on the live cam header and you can waste your time watching bears swim, ospreys fly, and all kinds of other creatures out in the wild doing their thing—from chipmunks and bees to orcas and elephants. You never know what’s going on out there in nature, and this site makes it easy to find something to look at for a few minutes as a reminder that there is awesome stuff in the world when you’re having a bad day. Seriously, what’s better than a kitten cam? A penguin nest or some pandas maybe? With this site, you never have to limit yourself.
If you’re looking for something that looks great on a small screen like mobile devices, I recommend BuzzFeed. You probably already see it if you don’t live under a rock or use social media, but it’s not just the articles. Read the comments. The comments are often better than whatever the actual post is about. It’s an incredibly (and slightly terrifying) great time waster no matter where you are.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a polar bear cam that needs watching.