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*This post may include affiliate links. We get a commission if you sign up with a partner; this commission is at no cost to you.(Last Updated On: May 5, 2020)
The world is changing right before our eyes. Many of us are now relegated to our homes. Some of us have been laid off. And we’re all wondering what’s going to happen tomorrow and what should we do with our time today. When I’m stressed, my preferred method of managing during the day is complete relaxation. Check out this post for relaxing things to do while social distancing. But when I’m feeling energized, I like to get stuff done. That’s what this post is about. This post is all about the productive things to do while social distancing.
These are things that can help you get your finances in order, help you earn more money and help you be all-around productive to fill your time. This list is an update from an older list and I’ve made tweaks to make it relevant for today. The old list was things to do instead of watching TV and things to do instead of spending money. Not all of the things below are completely free but many are low-cost ways to spend your time.
Before we get started… grab this entire list in a checklist! (Note: This list below was a list of things to do instead of watching TV, but it has been updated to reflect new things to do now that most of us can’t leave our homes. I haven’t yet updated the printable list. That’s in the works! For now, enjoy the content below.)
Now, let’s get to it!
100+ Things to Do When You’re Stuck at Home
1. Clean your house while social distancing. There’s nothing better than waking up to freshness, especially when you’re stuck inside for days on end. Tackle cleaning one room at a time and get the whole family involved. If you need help with organizing, Marie Kondo (the organization Goddess) has a best-seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up can help. Nothing like some light reading when you’re stuck inside.
2. Try meal prepping to save time in the evenings. Meal prepping is great for a multitude of reasons. It can help you health-wise if you’re trying to trim down. Meal prepping helps you portion meals to cut down on overeating. Who’s else is not trying to gain weight while stuck at home?
3. Cook a healthy meal using ingredients from your pantry. Because we have to now. See what you can scrape together that’s healthy from what you have. If you need help, do an online search for some healthy meals with your ingredients. And if you don’t have all of the ingredients you need, you can order from Instacart, and groceries can be at your door within an hour. Get started with Instacart at this link.
4. Do the laundry. Laundry is often last on our to-do list. Have some laundry to do? Put in a few loads while you’re reading this list.
5. Do a puzzle. Puzzles get the brain working. Dust off the puzzles that you have buried in the closet and put them together with friends and family. (Or buy a new one). Add a glass of wine or beer and it’s a party. If you’re not into puzzles you can try an activity book instead. Cool with a little bit of profanity? The F*ck I’m Bored! Activity Book For Adults is fun!
6. Walk a few miles. Alone, naturally. For those who aren’t runners, walking is also a way to shed a few pounds.
7. Groom your nails. Nail grooming can be a confidence booster for both men and women. Think about it — your nails make an impression when you meet someone new. Coming out of quarantine with buffed nails shows that you care about, and take care of, your appearance.
8. Sew a new outfit. Again, you have nothing but time to figure out how to make your own clothes. My friend Crystal doesn’t buy clothes… she makes them!
9. Take a free online course in your field. There are tons of online places where you can take courses for free. Some Ivy League schools are now even offering free courses over at Coursera. Do a search for a topic you want to learn to see if you can find a few courses to tackle.
10. Organize your e-mail and delete the junk. Email can be a dead zone of junk. If you’ve been putting off digitally organizing your emails, take some time to delete emails and put ones you need into files.
11. Do yoga while social distancing. Yoga can help relieve stress and increase strength. Often people look at yoga as a slow exercise that doesn’t do much, but it can really work out your muscles. Search for free yoga videos on Youtube.
12. Call a relative. Just because you can’t see people in person doesn’t mean you can’t stay in touch. Grab your phone and dial some numbers. See how people are doing.
13. Host a virtual happy hour while social distancing. Gather some friends for a Zoom meeting, mix some cocktails and have a blast.
14. Play memory games. Your brain can be trained. Look for memory games and mental puzzles to work on to challenge yourself.
15. Learn to do something new with YouTube tutorials. YouTube is a one-stop-shop to learn almost anything like cooking, cutting hair, painting, and much more. Head over to YouTube and do a search to learn something new.
16. Practice an instrument. Dust off the dust that’s been collecting on your piano or guitar and play a tune.
17. Make a smoothie. Smoothies can be a nutritious meal and snack substitute. It’s also a good way to use your fruits and veggies before they spoil. And if you’re not a big veggie eater, blending it down into a tasty smooth can make it easier to get down.
18. Organize your personal documents i.e. tax returns, insurance forms, passport, etc. If you have a pile of important documents, take some time to get them organized. Clear out a place in your office, closet, draw, or filing cabinet and look through the papers to bring some order to the documents.
19. Meditate. Meditation is a way to bring yourself back to present and remove other thoughts out of your mind. Meditation is a great stress reliever. It can take some time to be able to clear your mind, but once you get the hang of it, meditation can be life-changing.
20. Enjoy the benefits of a cold shower. There are several benefits of cold showers. They can help you recover after a workout. Cold showers are also good for waking you up and can be better than hot water on your hair and skin. Read more about cold showers.
21. Sit and talk with your spouse, roommate, friend, or child. Turn off the TV, put away the devices, and hide the cell phones. Sit around with people you love and talk. How are they doing? What do they need help with? How’s their life going?
22. Count your blessings while social distancing. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the mundane and minutia of life. Take a moment to be thankful for what IS going well in life. What have you accomplished recently? (Even small things count. Maybe you were able to pay bills on time this month, or you cleaned the garage.)
23. Take a power nap. A power nap can refresh you during the day. Just make sure it doesn’t last too long or you can get into a deep enough sleep that you feel groggy when you wake up.
24. Go out for a jog. Again, alone… because social distancing, duh. Lace-up your running sneakers and head outside for a jog. Do this daily and you may see the results on the scale.
25. Give your dog a bath. Take your dog outside (or in the bath) to give her/him a nice wash off. If you have a cat, clip their nails and a nice brushing.
26. Do a free fitness workout from YouTube. There are tons of free workouts online. You don’t even need a gym membership to get fit. (Here are a few fitness videos.)
27. Ask that person you’ve been too shy to ask out on a FaceTime date. Have a crush? Make the first move. I mean, we’re in the apocalypse, right? May as well. (I kid, I kid.)
28. Organize your junk drawer. We all have the one drawer that we dump everything to get it off the floor or table. Go into that drawer and start organizing. Here are some draw organization tools to help you do it.
29. Visit a virtual museum, art show, or art festival. Many museums are now going virtual since they’re closed to the public. Check out a list here.
30. Watch when artists host live-stream concerts and chats. Since music artists can’t hit the road, many are now hosting concerts and chats online. DJ Nice hosted a HUGE party on Instagram Live for example.
31. Go to a flea market. Flea markets can have affordable gems. Head out to your local farmer’s market to window shop.
32. Feng Shui your home. Feng Shui is a way of organizing your environment to make harmony between you and the surroundings. Do an audit of your home and look up ways to open up energy flow within your spaces.
33. Switch up your framed photos. Have you had up your current pictures for a while? Go back through your photo stash to see if there are any new ones you want to showcase for a while.
34. Clean your fridge. You should clean your fridge once a quarter. If it’s that time again, go to the fridge and throw out bad food. Pull out the shelves and drawers from the fridge and clean the inside.
35. Teach your pet a new trick. Pull out the treats from the cabinet and teach your dog to lay down or rollover.
36. Organize your closet. The closet may be a war zone, and it’s time to clean that war zone. Put clothes and shoes you don’t wear into a pile to donate or sell.
37. Watch a documentary to gain a new perspective on Youtube. Yup — Youtube has a lot of neat free docs. There are many true crime docs in particular.
38. Get dressed up and “go out” to a restaurant in your kitchen. Get your roommate, partner or kids together and make a restaurant meal in your house. There are tons of duplicate restaurant meals online. My favorite it the cajun chicken from TGIF.
39. Write in a journal while social distancing. Sometimes you need to get thoughts down on paper to clear your mind. Make a commitment to write in the diary every day.
40. Make a time capsule to be opened a few years from now. Because right now a lot of stuff is happening that you can share, and creating time capsules is a lost art. Put together some mementos, dig a ditch, and bury your capsule. Make sure to set a reminder to open the capsule.
41. Shop your own closet — pair new things together or hack it up to make something new entirely. Instead of buying new clothes, think about ways you can put a new twist on the clothes you already have. Pull out the sewing machine if you’re feeling particularly creative.
42. Do something new to your hair. There’s a new hair fad right now where bored women at home are cutting bangs. You don’t have to go this far, but… if you’re really looking for a new look maybe it could be time for an experimental chop.
43. Bake cookies. Who doesn’t want something sweet at a time like this?
44. Do 107 crunches. Trying to work on those abs? Do some core workouts and crunches. To learn how I got my butt in gear without the expensive gym membership, head here.
45. Do a Pinterest project while social distancing. Scan through Pinterest and look for DIY projects that you can do that aren’t too challenging.
46. Read. Pull out a book that you’ve been meaning to read and get through a few chapters.
47. Do 107 jumping jacks. Get some cardio in for the day. If you really want to get a sweat going do some burpees.
48. Consider fostering a pet. For those who love animals, animal shelters may be looking for volunteers to help out while people are social distancing.
49. Do a crossword puzzle. Pull out the newspaper or look online.
50. Research big brother/sister opportunities and sign up. When things go back to normal maybe you can give back to the community by mentoring a child in the neighborhood.
51. Blast music and dance around. Dancing to music can be a good exercise and it’s a fun feel-good activity.
52. Lay in the sun (with sunscreen). Get out and enjoy some nice weather.
53. Practice a new make-up look. YouTube has hundreds of tutorials on hair and make-up. If you’re trying to up your make-up game, you can find everyday make-up looks to more extravagant looks for a fancy night out.
55. Weed your garden. Put on a visor and head out to the garden to do some tidying up when the weather is nice.
56. Draw. Pull out a piece of paper and get creative. Or you can get an adult coloring book. Those are always fun.
57. Write a song. Never tried songwriting? Try giving it a whirl.
58. Finish a project you’ve been putting off — completely. Is there something on your to-do list that you’ve kept putting off? Maybe a closet or basement needs to be organized. Finish the project in its entirety.
59. Clean your garage. Put in piles things you no longer need. Organize the rest of the garage.
60. Walk up and down the stairs until you get a nice sweat going. According to LIVESTRONG, a 160-pound person can lose 29 calories in 3 minutes walking up the stairs so walking up and down the stairs four times a day could burn 116 calories. How many calories you lose will vary, and you should speak with a doctor before going too hard.
61. Plan a yard sale. Think about items you have in your home to sell when we no longer have to social distance.
62. Play cards. Have a card game night with people in the house.
63. Listen to a TedTalks. Here are a few of some good ones:
- The beauty of being a misfit
- Success failure and the drive to keep creating
- Who are you, really? The puzzle of personality
64. Mow your grass. If it’s warm enough and you’re not too close to anyone. Maintain a distance!
65. Do laps in your pool. Swimming is another huge calorie burner.
66. Go hiking, biking, and outdoor exploring. Lastly, take your exercise outdoors. Find a trail, pull out the bike, and go exploring! If you can, and only if you’re far away from anyone else.
Things to Do to Get Your Finances in Order
These are things that you can do to get your finances in order. I call these the money-related things to do while social distancing.
67. Sign up for Rakuten (formerly Ebates). Before you do ANY online shopping while social distancing, sign up for Rakuten. Rakuten is a website that gives you cash back (sometimes up to 15%) for shopping with participating merchants like Hulu, Samsung and Microsoft!! (Hulu for example, will give you $1 cash back on the membership reducing the monthly fee!) There are also TONS of other stores that you can shop to earn cash back from this gravy train. Use this link to sign up for Rakuten.
(To make sure you never miss a Rakuten cashback deal, download the Rakuten button for your browser. When you have the browser button, you’ll be alerted every time you’re on a site that partners with Rakuten. Don’t miss out on cash back!!! Here’s how to download the button.)
68. Sign up for Swagbucks to earn some extra cash. This is an awesome thing to do since it means more money in the bank! 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! To complete the Swagbucks application, make sure to check your email and verify the account!
69. Make a monthly budget while social distancing. People hate the word budgeting, but it’s something that needs to get done especially in these times when jobs may not be around tomorrow. Budgeting is having a plan for your money. (Shameless plug: I wrote a super straightforward budgeting book based on the method I used to pay off debt. Grab it here.) Start with your expenses. List out what your expenses are for the month and decide what expenses you no longer need. Do you really need Netflix and Hulu? (These are the types of questions that need answers.) Subtract your finalized expenses from your income and you have the makings of a budget!
70. Set a savings goal. If you are able to save at the moment. If not, it’s understandable. Stuff happens. Your emergency fund should likely be getting the most love at the moment. Come up with a percentage you can put towards savings and deposit it into a savings account weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
71. Pull out your bills and try to lower them. Each year (or even multiple times a year), you should shop around to see if you can get a better deal for your services. 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 online to see what competitor rates are doing.
- Calling your current companies to see if they’ll match the rate you found.
- If they don’t, think about jumping ship for the less expensive company.
Many banks and service providers are willing to work with customers right now because the economy is rough. Don’t hesitate to call your bill insurers if you’re having trouble making ends meet — they may be able to help.
72. Check your bank and savings account interest rate. It may be time to compare rates to see if you can get a better interest rate on your bank or savings account elsewhere. Online banks or financial institutions, for example, may offer much higher than brick and mortar banks. Check out some of your options below:
73. Try an automatic saver like Digit. Digit is a suuuuuuuuper cool app that reviews your checking account and automatically moves money that it sees that you don’t need. Transfers can be as low as a dollar or two. And this cash really adds up! I’ve used Digit for yeeaaaars to save for vacations, credit card payments, moving costs and more. Sign up with this link and you’ll a gift of $5 to start off in your account! (affiliate link.)
Check out these other posts on saving money:
- How to Save Money When You’re Broke as Hell
- How to Budget with Inconsistent Income
- 100+ Things to Cut Out to Save Money on Monthly Expenses
- How I Increased Student Loan Payment By 500% on a Humble Salary
- 35-Day Holiday Savings Challenge
- How to Repay Debt With a Zero-Sum Budget
- How to Eat at Restaurants for Free
Things to Do to Earn More Money (and Boost Your Career)
Now let’s talk about earning money. People are losing hours and getting laid off. After wallowing and being in your feelings, it’s time to start thinking about making a way. These are things to do while social distancing to make money.
74. Sign up to deliver groceries while social distancing: Ridesharing may be out the window at the moment. But you may still be able to do delivery services. You can sign up to deliver meals from restaurants or food from grocery stores to customers instead of driving people around. Dominos is an example of a restaurant that’s planning on bringing on 10,000 new employees. DoorDash is another option to consider:
DoorDash: is an app you can sign up for to pick up food from restaurants and deliver to doorsteps. You keep 100% of tips plus there’s a base minimum you can earn for each delivery. The requirements are pretty simple. You need to be at least 17 years old with a clean driving history for the last 7 years. There’s also a background check. If interested in using DoorDash to make extra cash, click this link.
75. Brainstorm ways to turn your favorite hobby into a business. Starting your own business while social distancing is a way to add an extra income stream to your household while at home. Brainstorm a few remote businesses that you can do. With those ideas down on paper, do some market research to see if anyone is in need of your idea. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great ways to put some feelers out. Also, check Quora for people asking questions about your business idea to see if they need someone like you to be an answer to their problems. (Did I mention I’m a full-time writer? Check out how here.)
76. Write your dream business plan. When you choose an idea, sit down to write your dream business plan. A business plan does not have to be something that’s a million pages. The idea that doing a business plan is a huge undertaking could make you want to avoid the process altogether.
You just need to answer a few main questions: What is your business? What’s your offer? Who are you selling your product or service to? Who are your competitors? What are you doing that sets you apart? What are the numbers? What’s your selling point? How much do you need to sell to be profitable?
77. Make a checklist of business to-dos. Next, start turning your dreams into actual plans. Come up with a list of tangible to-dos that you’ll do next to put your dream business plan into action. Write things down beyond just “research.” There’s a time for research and then there’s a time to act. Write down things you’ll actually DO so you can be focusing on real actions.
78. Sell stuff on eBay. Another way to earn extra income remotely is selling on eBay. My friend does it for a side hustle and kicks ass.
79. Untag/delete every embarrassing photos. If you’re trying to turn over a new professional leaf, it may be time to go through your social media pictures and delete some of the ones that are no longer serving you. (Photos like the ones where you’re playing beer pong at college.) Your future employer or client may find it, and today our socials are our business cards/resumes.
80. Locate and follow blogs that are relevant. Are you trying to get into a new hobby? Do you have future goals and business aspirations? Do a search online with “your hobby + blog.” Find blogs and social accounts that are relevant to the hobby or business that you’re trying to get into. Subscribe to email lists and follow accounts.
81. Comment on those blogs and then e-mail the blogger to spark conversation. Take the new list of blogs you have and start commenting on posts. Engage on social media with the blogger or influencer. Email the blogger if you have something interesting and of value to share. This is how conversations and online networking happens!
82. Pitch your remote side business while social distancing. Have you found a company or business owner you think may benefit from your services? Send out an email pitch with your services and how they can benefit.
83. Write an ebook. Have an interesting non-fiction or fiction story to share? You have nothing but time at home now. It’s never been easier to publish ebooks. I published a romance/chic lit novel at the end of last year through Amazon and it was super simple. You can formate the ebook cover on a site like Canva. Another option to sell your ebook is on Gumroad.
84. Google your name to see what your online impression is. When employers review your application, they’re probably taking a look at your online presence to see what you’re all about. Take some time to Google yourself to see what comes up. (If you use Gmail for your email provider, log out of your account to see what the public sees. Otherwise information connected to your Gmail account will come up first, which isn’t necessarily what other viewers see.)
Clean up information as necessary. Delete old social posts. You could also ask other site owners if they can take down information about you that you no longer want online.
85. Sign up to freelance while social distancing. Freelancing is one of the fastest ways to start earning income on the side of your job remotely. As companies continue to move digitally, I predict there will be a growing need for freelancers. Freelancing is doing a service independent of an employer. The best way to get started quickly is offering what you do professionally on the side. For example, a tax professional or IT person can do freelance work on the side for extra coin. You can also get started on freelancer sites like Fiverr and Upwork.
86. Write down personal and professional goals. It may feel like your life is up in the air right now. There’s a blessing there. If you wanted to make a change, now could be the time to do it. You may have a picture in your head of where you want to be at the finish line, but maybe you don’t know the baby steps to get there. Think of weekly, monthly, and annual goals. This way you know what small actions you need to take to get where you need to be.
87. Write down your dream bio. As a follow up to number 86, do this exercise to get laser-focused on what you want to accomplish. You write about yourself in the third-person in a dream bio including everything you want to be known for. It’s a neat way to organize your aspirations. Then you can think of actionable things you need to do to make your dream bio happen. For example, if you want to be a published author, you need to get to work on writing. Maybe you need to take a writing course and you need to start outlining your next story.
88. Make a vision board. A vision board is a great way to visualize your dreams. A vision board is typically made with poster board and different magazine pictures. If you don’t have those materials, head over to Canva and create a virtual one. Start a new blank document in Canva, add photos to represent your goals, and then print it out.
89. Make a LinkedIn profile or Twitter account if you don’t have one. LinkedIn and Twitter are two great social media platforms for networking professionally and personally. People go onto Twitter to have real-time conversations with other people. Fill out your bio, and people interested in what you have to say can learn more about you. LinkedIn is where people are looking for employment and seeking employees. Go there if you’re trying to find another job. I’ve also found freelance clients (oh, btw, I’m a freelance writer) to pitch directly.
90. Increase your LinkedIn profile strength. Increasing the strength of your LinkedIn profile can make it easier for people to find you. Completing your account can make your profile stand out to potential employers.
91. Find top influencers in your field and follow them on Twitter. Search for websites and people in the field that you want to get into. Start following the people and brands on Twitter.
92. Organize your Twitter followers into lists. Twitter lists are a cool way to manage the different people that you follow. When you follow a few hundred people, your Twitter feed can be a mess of too much information. Creating lists categorizes profiles so it’s easier to see updates from the right people.
93. Get social with hashtags. Log into Instagram, look up what’s going on in hashtags related to your hobbies, interests, or profession. Start liking and commenting on posts that grab your attention and network with new people.
94. Update your profile on career sites like Career Builder and Monster. When was the last time you took a look at your CareerBuilder or Monster profile? Go on to both sites and fill out your resume and do a search to see if you find any interesting open jobs.
95. Set up job alert notifications from your favorite job boards. Don’t miss out on any job leads by setting up notifications to get messages to your inbox.
96. List your clothes on an online consignment store. ThredUp is a site that lets you list clothes to sell. This may or may not be as lucrative right now because people are germ conscious (and should be), but it’s a cool way to make some money after things are back under control.
97. E-mail old friends, roommates, classmates, and acquaintances to catch up. Never underestimate the power of your network. If you’re job hunting at the moment, update people in your professional history and tell them you’re looking around for new opportunities. You never know when someone in your circle will be able to connect you with the perfect job.
98. Read a free or 99 cent ebook while social distancing. There are tons of ebooks on Amazon that are 100% free and others that’ll cost you less than a dollar. Take a look at some of the free bestsellers.
99. Update your resume and cover letter. If you haven’t updated your resume in a while, pull it up on your computer and start making some changes. There are many free modern resume templates you can find online. You can even Google resumes to get ideas on how to fashion your new resume.
100. Look up virtual meetings or conferences in your area. Many conferences, festivals, and meetings are getting canceled, but some are going digital. (So you can attend in your PJs. Maybe that’s not so bad after all.)
101. Attend a Twitter chat. Twitter chats used to be a thing of the past, but now that we have to social distance there’s been a resurgence. Twitter chats are basically when you log on at the same time as other people and talk about a topic. Here’s a cool site with a list of chats.
102. Put together a brag book or portfolio. A brag book is a compilation of your different accomplishments. You can throw clips of your work, your accolades, achievements, testimonials, and photos into your book. This is a book you can look at every once in a while for an ego boost. You could also put it together in a package to give to employers when job hunting.
103. Ask for recommendations. Reach out to old colleagues and managers for recommendations to have on hand. This is another piece of information that you can add to your brag book.
104. Set up Google alerts. Google alerts are a good way to keep up with media. Set up Google alerts for information on different industries and news from certain thought leaders.
105. Read trending case studies in your field. A case study is research or investigations about a topic or industry. Many of them you can find online. Choose some case studies in your industry to read to brush up on trends.
106. Peruse the free section of Craigslist for things to recycle or resell. Buying cheap items off Craigslist and selling them is a way to make extra cash. Gary V has a how-to article on steps here. Again, this may have to wait for a bit because of “you-know-what,” but you never know when you can find gems on Craigslist.
107. Scan the gig section on Craigslist for remote side jobs to make extra cash. Besides flipping things on Craigslist, you may be able to find odd jobs. Be careful, of course, when doing business on Craigslist for obvious reasons. There are sometimes online blogging and social media type jobs that you can find on Craigslist.
Lastly, don’t miss these post on how to make more money:
- Top Survey Sites that Pay You Cash in 2019
- How to Get Cash Back for Shopping With Ebates
- 7 Ways to Freelance Online
- Why Freelancing is the Best Way to Earn Money Fast
- How to Start a New Career at 30
Well, over 5,000 words later and that about wraps it up. Anything to add? Add below!
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