Bored on Night Shift? How to Stay Busy Without the Internet


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Do you get bored when working night shift? Well, imagine not having the internet to keep you entertained? This unthinkable situation might be uncommon for most, but we want to help those in this predicament to stop the graveyard shift boredom.

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When working the night shift, it can sometimes seem that time almost stops, particularly when you’re bored. We know how painful this can be so throughout this post we give you a heap of suggestions to stay occupied even without the worldwide web.

Call Your Local Radio Station

I’m sure at one point or another you’ve switched on the radio while at work on nights? Maybe it was to fill the deathly silence if working alone or to create some atmosphere and give you some inspiration to finish your work.   

You’ve probably found each station plays songs or repeated segments from during the day. But every now and again the resident DJ will come on the air announcing a quiz, secret sound, trivia question or something of this nature. 

Why not take part in the fun and be in the running for a few prizes or some free cash? I’m sure you won’t have much competition but if you do, take them on with your night shift grit and get it done.  

Yes, I was in fact inspired by the NBC television series – “Mightnight Caller” with this suggestion


Get Fit

One of the biggest questions Dan and I get asked is how to work the night shift and stay healthy?

It’s easy for me to give a few suggestions here but I understand as a rotating ER nurse just how hard it actually is to put into practice.

Nevertheless, as a way of stopping the boredom on night shift without the internet and addressing this common issue, is to work out.

Use the 24-hour gym facilities on your break if available instead of sitting in the tea room feeling sluggish after you’ve just eaten.

If you don’t have access to the gym, create your own workout. Here is a suggestion for an office exercise routine:

  • 1-minute plank hold
  • 30 Russian twists holding a ream of printer paper
  • 40 squats holding x2 reams of printer paper
  • 15 push-ups
  • 40 calf raises
  • 15 lunges on each side (may not be appropriate in your work attire so don’t split your pants!)

Pick 3 – 4 items on this list and do it 3 times in a row, 2 – 3 times during the night.

If you do want to look a little more professional, this is a very popular dumbbell weight set with hundreds of amazing reviews. You could simply leave these in your car and use them when time allows during your shift and of course on days off.

Dumbell set

Just as a heads up, this particular set is more expensive in comparison to some others, but you only ever need one set to add or remove weight. See it here and on Amazon.

If neither the gym idea or the office circuit suits you or your environment, go for a run or climb the stairs, with a head torch, if it’s dark.

I used to work with a guy on night shift who put on his head torch and ran outside for his entire break. At the time I thought he was mad but he always said this was the way, “I won’t get fat by snacking all night.” 

I understand there are a few safety and logistical concerns here and not every person has this luxury. But it’s a thought if you are a nurse for example and there are staff covering you for a break.

Also, consider even starting an ab challenge for the month. Why not build a six-pack while on the night shift? You can download free apps (once you have internet – like now…) from the app store and start tonight.

Lastly, why not simply jump rope? It’s incredibly effective, mobile, cheap and a darn good work out. Ladies, you will need a good bra here so be prepared.

Skipping is a huge part of our exercise routine as shift workers, which you can read about here where we explore the benefits and our recommended ropes – 8 Impressive Jump Rope Benefits To Get That Killer Body

Is there a gym at your workplace?

Play Hacky Sack

While I’m in the mood recommending you to get fit, why not try using the hacky sack? Remember this childhood favorite game?

You may laugh, but it gets you standing up out of the chair, improving your coordination and having a gag with your workmates. 

Check out these snazzy hacky sacks on Amazon.


Sleep

When flying internationally I always hope I can sleep for most of the flight so I can get off and explore a new place. You are probably feeling the same about night shift, right? Can I just sleep so I can quickly finish up and go and enjoy time with my family?

If your work does allow you to sleep on your breaks and there is enough time, here are a few options to getting high-quality shut-eye:

Snooze In Your Car

You can put the heater on, bring your pillow from home and even a weighted blanket to give yourself a big hug…making falling to sleep a breeze.

weighted blanket from Amazon

This quality premium adult weighted blanketOpens in a new tab. has got thousands of ridiculously good reviews and comes with a 5-star rating. It boosts your sleep hormones and lowers your stress instantly – check it out here on AmazonOpens in a new tab. and order yourself one before your next graveyard shift.

Enjoy a “Coffee Nap”

If you have never heard of this unusual combination – check it out here for a full explanation.

I know it seems like it wouldn’t work but I know night shift workers who swear by this method! It’s perfect for those who love coffee but are desperate for some sleep too!

If you are allowed to sleep while working night shift, you’re going to need a sleep mask and/or another sleep aid in order to fall asleep quickly. We have explored our favorites here –10 Must-Have Night Shift Sleep Aids For A Heavenly Sleep which are worth a look.

[VIDEO] – Here a few more tips to sleeping on nights


Read or listen to a Podcast

When was the last time you picked up a book? For the avid reader, I hate to ask a stupid question, but for the rest of you, I’m sure you’re surprised with your answer as it’s probably been a while.

Getting sucked into a great book is an incredible way to not only pass the time but to actually enjoy yourself and potentially learn something new and interesting.

There are so many ways to enjoy reading on the night shift based on your preference. Either through a traditional paperback or hardcover book, to using a Kindle, to listening to a pre-recorded audio book or podcast if that is more your style.

Listening to a pre-recorded podcast is a personal favorite of mine. When you get access to the internet, jump on the podcast area within iTunes and browse over popular topics. There is a ton! The downloading time only takes a second and you’ve got hours of entertainment ready for your shift.

I like to listen to a podcast on my way home from work instead of music as it helped me concentrate and get home safely.

Dan on the other hand, often listened to pre-downloaded podcasts when working the permanent night shift schedule. He often informed me over breakfast of some fun facts he’d learned during the night.

As a night shift worker, actual books could be a drag for some people.

They can be bulky, depending on the book and how you travel to work, plus the pages can get easily ripped or wet if your drink bottle happens to leak… yep, I’ve been there.

Therefore, Kindle’s, when kept away from your water bottle or tumbler, are the perfect solution if you want to try and do a bit of reading to pass the time on night shift.

My mum has the Kindle Paperwhite E-readerOpens in a new tab. and couldn’t be happier, hence why I recommend it. Click hereOpens in a new tab. to suss it out more if you’re interested.

Reading is also a great way to avoid being sucked into the trance, repetitive nature of infomercials on TV where you may buy something you’ll regret.


Dominate Your Favorite Board Game, Cards or Quiz

Kids love games and it seems to keep them occupied for hours! So why not follow suit and rediscover why?

Here are a few suggestions to get started in the games department.

Enjoy free gaming websites like this one to get ideas on which gaming apps can be used off-line such as:  

  • Sudoku
  • Wordscapes
  • The Battle of Polytopia
  • Tetris Blitz

Or, play Sudoku from a book or magazine you bought the local post office, Walmart or Amazon

Board games are also a great way to pass the time and keep you occupied. Obviously, those working alone will struggle to play as most board games require at least two people.

But here are a few great board games which my family are totally obsessed with and I’m sure will entertain you until sunrise if you’re working with others.

If you’re more into card games that use actual cards rather than the digital online version, check out this website for some inspiration before a shift. Here are a few family classics to try:  

  • Solitaire
  • Forty thieves
  • Skip-Bo (family classic at our house but requires at least two people!)
  • Uno
  • Catch up on the missed news and entertainment in the local paper

When working night shift, days seem to just disappear! You can miss out on important stuff if you’re not paying attention or reading the latest headlines.

Either before a night shift or on your way home, pick up the local (state and/or national) newspapers and catch up on the big stories. 

While you’ve got the paper, jump to the entertainment section and make a list of all the must-see movies from the reviews. Then, even if you’re not really into it, check out your horoscope for the day/month. Are you bound for great love and fortune? I hope so.

If you work with a group of people, make it a tradition to do the daily quiz in the newspaper together. It’s great fun and allows you to interact with your coworkers while breaking down any social barriers with a few brain teasers. 

If the newspaper is not your thing, maybe you’d get more enjoyment from a glossy mag? Why not pick up a few featured magazines like health, celebrity gossip, travel…etc.

Just don’t take the stories as gospel, but enjoy the pictures and the often absurd stories of how the rich and famous live.


Educate Yourself

If you’re feeling super energetic and want to be productive, why not hit the books and learn something impressive, like a new language?

There are not many people around so you can mess up while practicing and nobody will be able to see or hear you. 

If you take a course you will most likely receive downloadable, printable materials you can take to work with you. There might even be some kind of textbook you could purchase which is included with the cost of the course.

I once worked with a nurse who learned how to speak fluent Spanish while working the night shift. He pre-recorded lessons on his phone which didn’t need the internet. He said he never wanted to rely on the work internet as it was pretty unreliable and he was serious about reaching his goals. 

Learning a different language or taking an online class where you can pre-record the sessions may be worth looking into to keep your brain active and feeling accomplished while working 3rd shift.

computer with light in dark room

Be Creative

Have you recently been on vacation, mini-retreat or had a family event? Did you take any photos? Don’t just keep them on your phone and instead print them out and enjoy them. Use the downtime on night shift to put them into an album and label it, reliving the good times.

If you’re the creative type, how about embracing the lost art of knitting or cross-stitch? Or maybe design your own bracelet and other jewelry? Without the distraction of the internet, you could create an amazing gift or treat for yourself.

Have a look at these Craft Crush Paper Bowls Kit which make a perfect bowl for your keys, makeup, etc.


Get Romantic

Create 20+ romantic date ideas you can take your partner/spouse/date on over the next couple of months.

Bounce ideas off your work colleagues and even steal their suggestions if it sounds like a winner.

These posts could also give you a headstart while you’re currently online:
Shift Work Single Life: How To Make The Right One Stick ​
Shift Workers Guide To Valentines Day: Work And Be Romantic
Make A Happy Marriage Last When Working Conflicting Shifts

Once you get home and have the internet, you can even look into Date-Night-In-A-Box. Everything you need for a date delivered right to your door…Just brilliant and so much fun!

date night in a box

Watch and Learn

Take the time before your shift to pre-download interesting, popular or intriguing TV shows, movies or documentaries.

I know Netflix, in particular, has an offline downloadable option as I’ve often used it when traveling and working night shift. It’s really worth investigating if you would rather watch something then read.


Do a “Brain Dump”

We very rarely have the opportunity to stop and just write down our thoughts as we are often distracted by the internet.

How this works is to either open a new page in Microsoft Word if you do have access to a computer, start a new ‘notes’ section in your phone or use a good old notepad and just start writing what comes into your mind. 

After a while, look back over what you’ve randomly written and see if you can identify any categories or similarities. Start prioritizing which groups of ideas you can work on first and make a to-do list of how you could execute on each item.  

It’s amazing where your thoughts can go if you give it time.


Talk to Other Humans 

How often do you actually get to talk to somebody with neither one of you holding your phone just waiting for the next call or text message?

Make the most of this technology-free situation and communicate with your fellow shift workers. In my experience, those working nights normally have a few interesting hobbies and stories to tell particularly if they’ve been working the graveyard shift schedule for a few years.

You’ll be fascinated with what you can learn. It might even make your office environment happier and more productive. 

Staff inside restaurant on night shift

Night Shift Tips for Beginners When Bored on Night Shift…

  • Be discreet with the activity you choose to do to entertain yourself. There are probably cameras everywhere ya’ll! You don’t need to be pulled into the office the following morning because you got caught sleeping the whole time.
  • Clean up after yourself if you decide to listen to a podcast at the computer, whilst enjoying a snack at the desk. Too many times I’ve come back to crumbs on the keyboard first thing in the morning when working an office day in the Emergency Department… and it’s gross.
  • Make sure your job is done, and done well by the time morning staff start rolling in with their coffees. Everyone has to hold their rank in a 24-hour workplace even if your shift may seem a little quieter at times.
  • Try new techniques. Just because one of these options doesn’t work for somebody else, that’s doesn’t mean it will be useless for you. Trial and error my friend.
  • If you’re trying to transition from night shift to day shift, you’ll love the video below.

Summary: Bored on Night Shift? How to Stay Busy Without the Internet

Surely you’re not still bored on night shift even without the internet?

We appreciate you taking the time to read this post while you do have the internet.

We hope you found some hidden gems inside and are able to now work the night shift boredom-free!

What were your favorite ideas to stop you feeling bored? Please let me know in the comments below.

Next up – If you’re still feeling bored, have a giggle at this one, 38 Night Shift Memes – Have A Laugh No Matter Your Industry

Cheers,

Emma signature | theothershift.com

Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning we receive a commission if you decide to make a purchase through our links, but this is at no additional cost to you. Please read our disclosure and privacy statement for more info.

Emma @ The Other Shift

Hey there! I'm Emma Smith a passionate, Registered Nurse from Australia. Together with my husband Daniel, we run The Other Shift. Our sole aim is to help shift workers and those on unusual schedules find balance between work and life. I understand the challenges of fitting in exercise, maintaining relationships and getting enough quality sleep, but I'm excited to show you that it’s possible to do shift work and still thrive. Read more about us and our story here.

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