Watching TV is a good way to pass the time, but it’s not exactly productive. And unless you’re really engrossed in a show, it can be pretty dull. The thing is, it doesn’t necessarily have to be boring or unproductive. When mindlessly staring at the tube feels less than fulfilling, you might want to think about adding some hobbies or activities to the mix. Whether you work on crafts like landscape diamond painting or knitting, or you use the time to sort through receipts or tidy up your living room, there are lots of productive and enjoyable things you can do while watching TV. Here are just a few of the many options. 

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1. Diamond Art

If you love crafting but haven’t tried painting with diamonds yet, you are seriously missing out! A relative newcomer to the crafting world, diamond painting makes it possible for anyone to create gorgeous works of art — even if they don’t have any previous arts and crafts experience. The benefits of diamond painting are numerous, too. From easing stress to helping kids develop strong fine motor skills, this hobby is more than just a fun way to pass the time. 

Learning how to diamond paint is easy. Each kit includes resin “diamond” drills, a printed, self-adhesive canvas, a key, and the tools you need to place diamonds. Each diamond color corresponds with a symbol on the canvas, and the key tells you which symbol represents which color. All you need to do is place each diamond in the correct spot using the included tools. When you’re finished, you’ll have a gorgeous, three-dimensional work of art that’s worthy of hanging on any wall. You can discover more designs online and even find companies that will create custom personalized kits, making them amazing gifts for your loved ones.

2. Knitting

Knitting is another excellent pastime for anyone who enjoys working with their hands. And once you have mastered the basic stitches, you can work on a project without taking your eyes off the TV screen for more than a couple of seconds at a time. Before long, you’ll have enough knitting done to fashion something wonderful.

3. Sorting Receipts and Paperwork

Is your purse stuffed to its bursting point with miscellaneous receipts? Or is there an avalanche of bills, letters and other paperwork cluttering up your coffee table? If so, put on your favorite show and start sorting. These monotonous tasks are much easier to tackle when you have something enjoyable playing in the background. It makes the time go faster, and you’ll feel more productive when you use your TV time to check something off your to-do list. 

4. Indulge in Some Self-Care

While often neglected, self-care is vital. For many folks, though, jobs, kids and other responsibilities make it difficult to find time for pampering. While you may not have time to schedule a massage or book a spa day, you can commit to taking care of yourself while watching television. Instead of just mindlessly binge-watching, consider watching your favorite show on your tablet or phone while enjoying a nice, hot bubble bath. Or get out a file and nail polish and do your nails while watching TV. Self-care doesn’t always have to be about treating yourself to lavish extravagances. It can be as simple as using a face mask while indulging in your favorite guilty pleasure show. 

5. Catch Up on Emails

It doesn’t take long for email inboxes to fill up. If you don’t stay on top of it, you could easily have dozens of unread messages within a few days. Rather than ignoring the problem and running the risk of potentially missing something important, make catching up on emails a part of your routine while watching television. 

Open your laptop when you start your show and sort through your inbox. Delete junk mail, sort emails you need to keep, and respond to those that require a reply. If you do this daily, (or even a few times a week) you won’t have to experience the overwhelming feeling that comes from having hundreds of unread emails in your inbox to deal with. 

6. Tidy Up

If watching TV is how you relax and unwind, there’s no need to deep clean your home at the same time. However, you can tackle some basic tidying up tasks during this time. Neatly stack the magazines and books on your coffee table, line up your family’s shoes by the front door or do some light decluttering. Completing little projects here and there while watching TV means you’ll have less to do when you decide to do a deeper cleaning. 

7. Exercise

Exercising is an excellent way to make your TV time a bit healthier. Rather than wallowing away on the sofa while you binge-watch episode after episode, get up and move. Do some yoga or Pilates. Walk in place. Do jumping jacks. The options are limitless. Anything that gets you up and moving is better than being sedentary

8. Pair Mismatched Socks

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Do you have a hamper or laundry basket filled with (clean) unmatched socks? Work on matching them while you watch TV. This annoying and tedious task is easier to tackle when you have an enjoyable series or movie to occupy your mind. If you happen to have other clean clothing in that hamper, (t-shirts, jeans, etc.) folding them is one more way you can make your screen time more constructive. 

9. Make Lists

Making lists is an excellent way to stay organized. Whether you jot down your grocery needs, take an inventory of household tasks you need to complete, or even create a bucket list, making lists provides numerous benefits. From saving time to helping you remember important things, list-making can positively impact your life — and it’s easy to do while watching TV. 

10. Plan Your Next Vacation

For many people, watching television is a temporary escape from reality. Why not take the experience a step further by using the time to plan a real break from your day-to-day life? A vacation! Come up with some ideas for your next trip and work out the details while watching your favorite show. 

If you’re looking for things to do while watching TV, the suggestions above are just a few of the countless possibilities. Feel free to try one of the above ideas to make your TV time more fulfilling.