I spent my time trying to secure new spheres of influence to get the inputs I was trading for or resources in high demand colonizing a few wars getting literacy up.
So much of this stuff is, boiled down and reduced, simple as well. Spheres of influence were determined by clicking a priority on how to invest your influence and waiting, colonizing was just spending mana, and getting literacy up was just about getting Clergy to an arbitrary percentage and then waiting. Virtually any mechanic can be made to come across as boring if presented in mundane ways.
Those decisions though are part of our strategies and where and when we can make choices and seeing the consequences of our assorted decisions is what we end up loving about games like these.