107 Productive Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

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Bigger, better, and badder than ever before.107-productive-things

Okay, let me not get ahead of myself.

A few years ago, I put together a monster list of things you can do instead of watching TV.

Since this site is all about getting our money + lives together, I updated the list to include things you can do to make more money, save more money, and be all around productive.


Before we get started, download the printable copy of this list to refer to later below!

Grab the productivity list

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Now, let’s get to it!

Things to Do to Get Your Finances in Order

1. Sign up for Ebates. Ebates is a website that gives you cash back for shopping with participating merchants. Priceline, Orbitz, and Expedia partner with them, so if you travel often… get on that cash back gravy train.

(To make sure you never miss an Ebates cash back deal, download the Ebates button for your browser. When you have the browser button, you’ll be alerted every time you’re on a site that partners with Ebates. Don’t miss out on cash back!!! Here’s how to download the button.)

2. Make a monthly budget. Figure out what unnecessary costs you can cut from your monthly expenses. Do you really need Netflix and Hulu? These are the questions that need answers. LOL.

3. Set a savings goal. Do you want to save up for an emergency fund, vacation, car, or motorcycle? Speak it into existence. Name whatever it is and how much it will require you to save. Then break down your savings goal into daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
4. Cash in spare change you find. (No lie, my husband has saved over $100 in random change since last December. Like, holy cow. We used that money plus savings from our Digit accounts to go on our cruise trip. You can get a similar change counter here.)

Our super full change counter.


5. Make sure you’re getting competitive rates for all services, i.e. your cell service, car, home or renter’s insurance. You can do this by snooping around online to compare rates with other providers.

Call your current companies to see if they’ll match the lower price you found elsewhere. If they won’t, think about jumping ship for the less expensive company. If you hate negotiating for rate reductions, check out my review on BillFixers, a company that will take care of it for you.

6. Check your credit score and come up with a plan to improve it. (Here’s why your credit score is important.) You can get your credit score for free in minutes at Credit Sesame.

7. Calculate how much money you need to save for retirement. You can adjust your weekly, monthly, and yearly savings goal to make sure you’re saving enough.


New here and want more tips on getting your financial life together? Try these posts…

Things to Do to Earn More Money (and Boost Your Career)

8. Sign up for Swagbucks to earn some extra cash. It’s a free app where you earn points for easy stuff like watching videos and surfing the net. The points you earn can be cashed in for gift cards!

9. Brainstorm ways to turn your favorite hobby into a business. Then, do market research i.e ask around to see if there’s a need for your idea. (If you don’t have a biz idea, here are a few ways to make extra money.)

10. Write your dream business plan.

11. Make a checklist of tasks you need to complete to put your dream business plan into action.

12. Sell stuff on Ebay. My friend has 100 things you can sell here.

13. Untag/delete every embarrassing photo of yourself on social media to prevent a future employer or client from finding it.

14. Locate and follow blogs that are relevant to your hobbies, future goals, business, or aspirations. You can do this by searching “your hobby + blog” in a search engine.

15. Comment on those blogs and then e-mail the blogger to spark conversation.

16. Print out flyers of your side business and tack them to every community board in your neighborhood.

17. Write an e-book.

18. Google your name to see what your first online impression is. (If you use Gmail for your email provider, log out of your account to see what the public sees.)

19. Sign up for Elance, Odesk, and other freelancing sites to offer a service for side cash.

20. Write down personal and professional goals for the week, month, and year.

21. Think of where you want to be in 5 years and write down intentional steps on getting there. A super cool exercise I learned from someone recently is writing your dream bio. You write about yourself in the third-person including everything that you want to be known for. It’s a neat way to organize your aspirations.

22. Make a vision board.

23. Make a LinkedIn profile or Twitter account if you don’t have one.

24. Increase your LinkedIn profile strength.

25. Find all the top influencers in your field and follow them on Twitter.

26. Then, follow 200 other interesting people on Twitter.

27. Delete any of the 200 people that don’t follow you back after a week and repeat. (Note: You don’t have to do #26 or #27 manually. Use a free app like CrowdFire to grow your Twitter network.)

28. Update your profile on career sites like Career Builder and Monster.

29. Set up job alert notifications from your favorite job boards.

30. Take some clothes to the consignment store to trade for cash.

31. E-mail old friends, roommates, classmates, family members, and acquaintances to catch up. If you’re job hunting, update them on your professional history and tell them you’re looking around for new opportunities.

32. Read an e-book from one of the influences in your field.

33. Update your resume and cover letter.

34. Look up conventions or trade shows coming to your area.

35. Sign up for free networking mixers.

36. Put together a brag book or portfolio that includes all of your achievements for interviews.

37. Reach out to old colleagues and managers for recommendations to have on hand.

38. Set up Google alerts for news on an industry or thought leader you want to learn more about.

39. Read trending case studies in your field.

40. Peruse the free section of Craigslist for things to recycle or resell.

41. Scan the gig section on Craigslist for side jobs to make extra cash.


New here and want more tips on earning money and biz? Try these posts…

Things to Do to Be Productive

42. Clean your house. There’s nothing better than waking up to freshness.

43. Try meal prepping to save time in the evenings.

44. Cook a healthy meal using ingredients from your pantry.

45. Do the laundry.

46. Do a puzzle.

47. Walk a few miles.

48. Groom your nails – it builds confidence even for men.

49. Iron your clothes for the next work day so you can sleep in.

50. Take a free online course in your field.

51. Organize your e-mail and delete the junk.

52. Do yoga.

53. Call a relative.

54. Join a meet-up or sports league in your neighborhood.

55. Play memory games.

56. Learn to do something new with YouTube tutorials.

57. Pack your lunch for tomorrow.

58. Make a smoothie for tomorrow’s breakfast with the fruit + veggies you have before they spoil.

59. Organize your personal documents i.e. tax returns, insurance forms, passport, etc.

60. Meditate.

61. Enjoy the benefits of a cold shower.

62. Sit and talk with your spouse, roommate, friend, or child.

63. Count your blessings.

64. Take a power nap.

65. Go out for a jog.

66. Give your dog a bath. Clip your cat’s nails.

67. Do a free fitness workout from YouTube. (Here are some of my favs.)

68. Ask that person you’ve been too shy to ask out on a date to the park.

69. Organize your junk drawer.

70. Go to a free museum, art show, or art festival.

71. Go to a book signing or book reading.

72. Go to a farmer’s market.

73. Feng Shui your home.

74. Switch up your framed photos.

75. Clean your fridge.

76. Teach your pet a new trick.

77. Organize your closet.

78. Watch a documentary to gain new perspective on Youtube. Yup, Youtube has a lot of neat free docs.

79. Ask a friend over for drinks.

80. Write in a journal.

81. Make a time capsule to be opened a few years from now.

82. Shop your own closet – pair new things together or hack it up to make something new entirely.

83. Plan out your outfits for a full week to decrease early morning rushing.

84. Bake cookies for your office – brownie points :).

85. Do 107 crunches. To learn how I got my butt in gear and lost 20 pounds in four months without an expensive gym membership, head here.

86. Do a Pinterest project.

87. Read.

88. Do 107 jumping jacks.

89. Volunteer at an animal shelter.

90. Do a crossword puzzle.

91. Research big brother/sister opportunities and sign up.

92. Blast music and dance around.

93. Lay in the sun (with sunscreen).

94. Practice a new hairdo or make-up look.

95. Pot some plants – I love succulents.

96. Weed your garden.

97. Draw.

98. Write a song.

99. Finish a project you’ve been putting off – completely.

100. Clean your garage.

101. Walk up and down the stairs until you get a nice sweat going.

102. Plan a yard sale.

103. Visit a family member.

104. Listen to a TedTalks. Here are a few of my favs:

105. Mow your grass and offer to mow other lawns for $20.

106. Do laps in your pool.

107. Go hiking, biking, and outdoor exploring.


— This post or page may contain affiliate links. Don’t worry, though. I only promote products that I’ve used or truly believe in.

Grab the productivity list

Subscribe to get the list and to get weekly Tay Talks Money Insider emails on saving and making more money... booyah!

Powered by ConvertKit

Taylor K. Gordon is a writer and money blogger. She writes on how to live your best life without going broke.

  1. Reply The Phroogal Jason June 9, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Love this list! I don’t watch cable although I’m guilty of Netflix as I work. I’m currently doing #93.

  2. Reply Shannon_ReadyForZero June 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I’m constantly trying to force myself to go home and do anything other than watch tv. After a long day at work it’s the most appealing thing to do – but then in the morning I’m mad that I didn’t pursue my other goals like working on my novel or reading more. My husband and I created a rule that says we have to take a walk each night to catch up on our day (rather than do so in front of tv), so that’s helping me break free of the habit. Then, when we get home, he goes back to work and I start in on some personal projects. It’s only been one week of this new strategy but so far, so good!

    • Reply Taylor June 13, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Hi Shannon! Thanks for stopping by! That’s a great idea. Catching up is so important especially since we get so little time each day with our loved ones. And doing it away from the TV is excellent. I hope it continues to work out for you.

      • Reply Kate January 16, 2017 at 1:34 pm

        My Dear Tailor, I want to tell huge THANK YOU!!!
        You make my life again better!!!
        I start to do your list … and is work wonderfully.
        I’m happy again !

        • Reply Taylor January 17, 2017 at 10:09 am

          You’re very welcome!

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  5. Reply Austin July 14, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    So avoid watching tv while wasting time on internet instead lol

    • Reply Taylor July 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      Well, I wouldn’t consider updating your job profiles or connecting with people you admire online as wastes of time. Lol. Do you have anything to add that I missed? I’m always looking for new ideas.

  6. Reply Candice Marie August 18, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Great post! Love how you broke everything down into sections. I love laying in the sun with sunscreen, haven’t done a puzzle in a while I’ll have to add it to my list.

    • Reply Taylor August 18, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      I know all these things I could be doing instead of vegging out. I have a few of these I need to work on myself!

  7. Reply Jenny August 18, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    I struggle with doing things other than watch TV once I get home from my day job. This list is such a great way to force myself to do something else. That’s 105 days of doing something other than watching TV.

    I say only 105 days because numbers 3 and 11 are both “Cook a healthy meal”. Maybe one could be host a healthy meal dinner party instead! Woo hoo, back to 106!

    • Reply Taylor August 18, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks for that catch Jenny! I went over the numbers so many times I think my eyes may be permanently crossed. Lol 🙂

  8. Reply Hannah October 26, 2016 at 6:33 am

    Thank you for the list! I’m going to print out and hang it at my wall/ door. 2 suggestions; learn a new language with duoplingo and looking for a holiday. for me it works to have something nice in the future:)

    • Reply Taylor November 21, 2016 at 9:12 am

      Hi Hannah!

      Don’t know how I missed this comment! When I update the list, I’ll be sure to add these suggestions 🙂

  9. Reply compare broadband plans October 31, 2016 at 5:04 am

    Getting competitive rates from the services that you use is one way of saving money and getting your money’s worth. Knowing you have options gives you power over the different choices available for you out there. Being organized and seeking to know a new skill is a productive way on spending your downtime too.

  10. Reply Jason November 21, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Epic list. I’m about to do #88 right now!

  11. Reply AJMoneyMatters December 29, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Love all of these!

  12. Reply Whitney January 1, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Thought you might enjoy this website since you mentioned watching documentaries.

    • Reply Taylor January 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      I’m OBSESSED with docs. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. Reply Robert January 5, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    I will definitely be doing 43 (meal planning) & 44 (healthy meal) this year. Should take up a good chunk of my Sunday afternoons prepping everything. I guess I will have to spend some money at the grocery store!

    I would add learning a new language to your list as it is something I am attempting in 2017.

  14. Reply Carol Baudat January 7, 2017 at 9:41 am

    how do you download the list?

    • Reply Taylor January 7, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Hi Carol! I responded to your email. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  15. Reply Allison ttmWiley January 16, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    I love this list!! Thanks for the motivation to stay productive–especially at the point in my days that it would be so easy to plop on the couch and call it an evening.

    • Reply Taylor January 17, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Thanks! Glad you find it helpful 🙂

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  17. Reply Cindyjane January 30, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Sorry…..not a free weekend if spending a lot of money at grocery store. Just stay home. Go through pantry, fridg, pantry……..use the food you have check out new recipes

  18. Reply Gloria Kaye March 9, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Wow – what a fun, creative and imaginative list. Can’t wait to get going!

    • Reply Taylor March 10, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Thanks Gloria! Hope you find it useful 🙂

  19. Reply Alana March 18, 2017 at 8:31 am

    “unfollow people who don’t follow you back” that seems like a waste of time and just plain petty.

    • Reply Taylor March 18, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Hi, Alana! Thanks for your comment. It’s not intended to be petty or a time suck. (There’s actually a free app that can help you do this >> The thought behind it is, for business owners/side hustlers who are trying to gauge interest on Twitter, people who don’t follow back may not be interested in your biz. Of course sharing cool stuff and starting conversations on Twitter are important for building your following as well. That could be clearer above. Hope you find a few other things on the list useful 🙂

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  21. Reply Kay April 4, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    SUPER TARDY for the pardy but none the less LOVE your list! Especially #13 i need a social media purge weekend getaway where I only delete old bad poor taste photos!

    Will be pinning onto my board for tips!

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