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10 Productive Things to Do When You’re Stuck at Home

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In these uncertain times, you may find that you're stuck at home, unable to go to work or go about your normal lifestyle. A day or two off may sound great, especially to those who prefer staying indoors, but you might find yourself getting bored or restless during your time inside. There are only so many video games and Netflix shows you can watch before you start to feel unproductive and unmotivated.

Staying indoors doesn't mean watching the clock and binge snacking, waiting for the day you're able to go outdoors again. Here are ten fantastic ideas for things to do while quarantined that aren't only fun, but productive as well.

1. Do an Online Course or Gain a Qualification

The internet is a haven for free or discounted online courses, and with plenty of spare hours on your hands, it's a perfect time to gain a certificate or simply learn something new.

edX and coursera both have hundreds of free online courses from various certified institutions. You can pay for an official certificate or take the course itself for free. As they're completely online, there's no need to leave your computer desk to get through the entire course and gain valuable new knowledge.


2. Take Up Some Freelance Work

You may not be able to go to your regular job, but that doesn't mean you can't earn some money on the side while you're indoors. Some online work you can try include the following:

  • Graphic design
  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Voice acting
  • Beta reading novels and stories
  • Giving financial or spiritual advice
  • Video editing
  • Translation

I personally use Fiverr, which is a great way to get yourself visible to potential clients. The website is easy to use and you can start selling your skills right away. Freelancer, Guru, and Upwork are also great options.

3. Learn or Brush Up On a Language

Have you always wanted to learn or improve on a second or third language but never found the time to do so? Now is the perfect time to dedicate an hour or so a day to studying! You don't need official courses or even textbooks to do so. Here are some free apps to download so you can get studying right away.

  • Memrise is free to download and has lessons in many languages including Spanish, French, Swedish, Japanese, Portugese, Russian, Korean, and many more.
  • Duolingo points out any mistakes you make and even praises your efforts!
  • Buruu is ideal if you're not a complete beginner in your language but want to find your level and build from there. With 12 languages to choose from, this is a great (and free) option.

4. Take Up Crafts or Needlework

Crafts are not dead! What better way to spend hours of free time than by learning a valuable skill that you'll likely need in later life? The Spruce Crafts is a great place for beginners to learn to knit, and that's the tip of the iceberg when it comes to free online guides on how to get started with crafts.


5. Dedicate Some Time to Reading

It can be hard to dedicate yourself to a book, but it's well worth it. A day can fly by with a great book, and with the Kindle app (free to download), you can get free or very cheap books within moments.

Reading provides a plethora of benefits, including better memory, an increase in empathy, a more developed vocabulary, and improved concentration. If you have children, read with them! This can also improve your relationship with them and give you something to talk about during the long hours together.


6. Give Your House a Good Spring Cleaning

Sure, it can be difficult to get motivated to clean up, but what better time is this to catch up on the dishes, laundry, and vacuuming? Your family will love you for it and you'll feel much better when your surroundings are squeaky clean, too.

7. Exercise, Meditate, or Do Yoga

One of the hardest things about having to stay inside is not being able to move around. Especially if you're an active person, being indoors 24-7 can have a big effect on your health and fitness.

But being indoors doesn't mean you have to neglect your exercise. YouTube is full of free to watch at-home exercise and yoga videos that'll keep your body healthy while waiting out the quarantine. Regardless of your current situation, it's essential to do at least some form of exercise every day. You'll feel better, too!

Meditation is also a great thing to practice during these unsettling times.

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8. Practice Your Skills, Or Pick Up a New One

With the internet and online shopping, we can do almost anything from home. Always wanted to get better at drawing or painting? Get out some paper and get going! Want to brush up your writing skills? Boot up your computer or whip out a notepad and start brainstorming ideas.

DIY is another excellent skill that you can do during the long hours at home. Baking and cooking is also a great idea, and your housemates and family will thank you for it!


9. Finally Write That Book

You may be one of many people who have always wanted to write a book, but never found the time or motivation to get round to it. Hours can zoom by whle you're brainstorming ideas, so why not challenge yourself and see how many words you can get down during your time at home?

There's no pressure to show anyone your work, so let your creative juices flow! NaNoWriMo offers some great motivation for budding writers, and there are plenty of free writing courses on the aforementioned websites.

10. Get Closer to Your Family

Our hectic and demanding daily lives often rob us of precious time we can be spending with our families, friends, and housemates. If you're stuck indoors with someone, don't avoid each other.

Playing video games, board games, watching something on TV, cooking, or simply sitting down and talking are all wonderful things you can do with your family or your housemates when you can't go outside and live your regular, busy lives. Be sure to build stronger foundations with those closest to you during these difficult times.

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips to help you get on track.

  • Structure your day so that you don't fall into an unproductive loop. Get up at the same time every day and maintain your structure; without it, it's easy to fall into a spiral where you get nothing done.
  • Plan your meals so you don't end up snacking all day. It's super easy to eat to fill the time, but this isn't good for your health or your food supplies. Plan meals accordingly. Let yourself snack, by all means, but maintain some discipline and fill your day with activities.
  • Designate times to relax. With a proper schedule, relaxation will feel like a reward.
  • Set goals. Whether you're exercising, studying, or writing, set yourself a goal or two every single day so you can go to bed knowing you've achieved something.

Whether you're at home because of quarantining, a snowstorm, agoraphobia, or injury, your time in your house doesn't have to be a slog. Use your time well to improve yourself and your relationships, and you'll find the time passes far more easily.

© 2020 Poppy


Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on July 13, 2020:

Thank you, Denise. I'm so glad you're staying busy during the lockdown.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 13, 2020:

I love your list. There are some things here I hadn't thought of but would be great additions to my time inside. My husband and I are still on lockdown, day 122 for us. He has some at-risk medical issues that make us want to be very careful and there is a current resurgence of cases right now in California. So I'm doing my best to finish a children's book, work on some freelancing illustrations, and do some watercolors for me for fun.



Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on July 11, 2020:

Very useful article. Well presented.

Abby Slutsky from America on June 24, 2020:

Nice ideas.

Janisa from Earth on June 23, 2020:

Great ideas!

Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on March 29, 2020:

Hi Liz! Of course, they are also great ways to help out.

Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on March 29, 2020:

Thank you so much, Paula! I hope people can manage to find something productive to do while they're unable to go out.

Liz Westwood from UK on March 29, 2020:

You make some great suggestions on how we can make use of our time indoors. In the UK many people have volunteered to offer help to others at this time, either manning vital public services or collecting food for others and keeping in touch by alternative means to face to face.

Suzie from Carson City on March 28, 2020:

Poppy…...Superb list of IDEAS!! One more interesting than the next. I'll bet you've truly encouraged a few of your readers. Very helpful of you! Cheers, Paula

Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on March 28, 2020:

There are many online painting courses you can do as well, as well as videos on YouTube. A lot of them are free!

Kyler J Falk from California on March 28, 2020:

I thought about getting into miniature painting courses during this quarantine, then found out all the Games Workshops are closed! Writing, working out, walks, and the emotional roller coaster is what I've settled on.

Nice article with plenty of decent suggestions.

Poppy (author) from Enoshima, Japan on March 28, 2020:

Hi, Louise! The online courses are great. I did one about video game creation for free and really enjoyed it. edX pretty much has something for everyone.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on March 28, 2020:

Doing an online course sounds interesting. I like the sound of that.

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