How to work remotely during COVID-19

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105 Things to Do at Home During Quarantine (That Aren’t Netflix)

March 15, 2020

Disclosure: This post about things to do at home during quarantine may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of my links, I may receive a commission or credit at no additional cost to you.

Let’s all take a moment to breathe. Exhale that anxiety and fear. Keep going. A little bit more. Okay, now don’t inhale, it’s not safe and you might catch something.

Just kidding! Sorry, I cope with sarcastic humor. 

Anyway… chances are, we’re all going to have a heck of a lot of time on our hands in the very near future. Events are being cancelled left and right, schools are shut down, and companies are transitioning to working remotely. Social distancing policies are being implemented more aggressively every day, and quarantines will become exponentially more common. BUT, I’m not here to spread fear and panic.

I’m here to help!

What Can You Do During Quarantine?

Have you thought about what, out of the limited things to do at home, could take up your time for 2+ entire weeks? Netflix, movies, video games, and relaxing are all great to catch up on. But, if that’s all you do, you’re wasting a gift of time to work on yourself.

And I know – it’s not a gift for people that are seriously ill or will be losing out on paychecks. That part sucks. But, if you’re going to have all this free time at home either way, might as well make the best of it, if you’re able.

Think about how much you could learn in 2 weeks. Or how much you could read or write in 2 weeks. Or how spotless and organized your living space could be in 2 weeks. The possibilities are really endless, it just depends on your mindset about the situation.

Is being quarantined scary and anxiety-inducing? Absolutely. But you’ll be torturing yourself if all you do while staying home is thinking about how scary and anxiety-inducing it is.

So, my challenge to all of you in this time of adversity and physical isolation, is to do something that you’ll thank yourself for later. Whether that’s learning a new cooking skill, taking an online course, or diving into that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for years – now is the time! Plus, being productive generally makes time feel like it’s going by faster.

With all of that being said – here are some ideas to get you

105 Non-Netflix Things to Do At Home During Quarantine

Learning is one of the best things to do at home with extra free time
ePhoto by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

Learn

1. Read

Free options include: physical books you already own, , the Books app on iPhones (it has a free section), or Google “free ebooks,” and go down a rabbit hole. Also, if you have a library card, go to your public library’s website and search for free ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines. Usually all you need is your library card number!
Free trial: Kindle, Audible (for audiobooks)

2. Learn how to graphic design

Free: Canva design school, YouTube, Coursera, Alison
Free trial: Skillshare

3. Try new cooking skills

I find this easiest when jumping straight in and trying a recipe with the skill you want to learn. I usually use Pinterest to find recipes – just search for what you want to try. If you need a visual, search the skill on Youtube to find some helpful videos.

4. Learn how to read music or about music theory

If you have an instrument to try it on! There are many ways to learn how to read music for free. I suggest you Google “learn how to read music”. If you already know some music basics, but want to learn more, check out Coursera for some awesome courses.

5. Find a new podcast to listen to

Free: Apple podcast app, SpotifyTuneIn
Free trial: Luminary

6. Learn how to code

Free: YouTube, CourseraedXAlison

7. Learn a new language (well, get started at least)

Free: 

8. Take an online course

There is an online course for everything. I wrote a post about the best online course platforms, if you want some more in-depth info. Otherwise, my suggestions are: Skillshare, Pluralsight, edX, CourseraAlison, and Udemy.

9. Learn about social media marketing

If you spend a lot of time on social media anyway, why not learn how to make money with that time? Managing company’s social media can be an easy way to make some extra cash. Try Alison, Coursera, or edX.

10. Learn how to repair small appliances

LOOK ON YOUTUBE. YouTube has everything, if you haven’t figured that out yet 🙂

Photo by Una Laurencic from Pexels

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Get Cultured

11. Tour famous museums online

Google Arts & Culture has virtual tours of several famous art museums from throughout the world. They also have incredible pictures of famous works of art to view, inspect, and read about.

12. Experience the Metropolitan Opera

Due to cancelling performances for the foreseeable future, the Met Opera has launched “Nightly Met Opera Streams.” It is a a “free series of encore Live in HD presentations streamed on the company website during the coronavirus closure.” It begins nightly on their website at 7:30 pm EST and will remain online for 20 hours thereafter. See the schedule here.

13. Explore history with the pros

The Smithsonian website has a ton of awesome features to explore history online. Much of their collections are digitized and open to the public to explore. They also just have some really interesting and cool articles to read and learn from.

14. Learn about books

Books are the best. BookRiot is a website all about books – what to read, how to care for them, book history. Literally anything you can think of regarding books, BookRiot most likely has an article about it.

15. Get lost in space

Google Sky has an interactive display of space (aka the night sky). Another really cool website is stellarium.org – they have an awesome app to learn constellations and more about space.

Coins spilling out of a jar
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

Start a Side Hustle

16. Create an Etsy store/WooCommerce

Are you an expert at arts and crafts? Do you draw or paint? Are you awesome at making graphic designs? There’s a magical place you can sell all of those things – WooCommerce Anyone can start a store, it’s free.

17. Start a blog

I started a blog! Obviously, that’s why and how you’re reading this very article. You can do it too. It takes a lot of time and dedication to start making money with blog, but if you love writing, it’s a great way to enjoy your side hustle.

18. Create an account on Upwork

Upwork is a great place to make some extra cash. People or businesses that need some tasks done post a listing, where you the freelancer can submit a bid/apply to be the one to complete the task. People look for everything, so there’s bound to be a category you could be successful in. I suggest browsing the job postings to see what you’d like to try before you make a specialized freelancer profile.

19. Start a YouTube channel

Make videos and post them on YouTube to get a following! Once you get enough views and subscribers, you can have ads on your videos.

20. Make an account on Fiverr

Fiverr is a place you can sell services in something you’re an expert in. This is a good place to start freelancing for writers, editors, graphic designers, or any other digital service you can offer.

21. Write an ebook and sell it

22. Make an online course in something you’re an expert in

23. Write on Medium

Medium is a platform for writers to post their writings and read other articles. You can make money by getting paying readers to read your articles. This is an alternative to having your own website/blog.

CREATE

Rediscover your creative side

24. Write a poem (or a collection!)

25. Paint or do arts and crafts

I’m sticking painting and arts and crafts together, because they both require some kind of supplies. Most of us have a box or bag of old art supplies laying in a closet somewhere – get those out and see what happens! Painting is really fun if you get into it. You don’t even have to be good, just let the creative juices flow.

26. Draw

All this requires is paper and a pencil! It can’t get simpler than that. What a great time to try drawing if you’re self-conscious – there’s no one around to see or judge your drawings! If you want to get more serious, there are tons of tutorials on YouTube.

27. Potato stamps

Have you ever made stamps out of potatoes? It might sound weird, but it’s a blast. When I was younger, we made Christmas stamps for the holidays. Here is a tutorial, if you’re not sure. It’s a cool way to make wrapping paper, or to just have some fun.

28. Write a song

29. Color

30. Pick up an old or new instrument

You know that flute or violin from high school you still have laying around somewhere? Get it out, dust it off, and see if you still remember how to play. Music is an amazing way to activate the creative parts of our brains. Who knows, you might find out you really miss it!

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

Personal Finance

31. Make a personal/family budget spreadsheet

32. Refinance your student loans

I recently refinanced my private student loans with Earnest, and I got a lower interest rate and a lower monthly payment, meaning I’ll pay less over the life of the loan. Get a bonus $200 when you refinance your loans with Earnest through this link.

33. Learn about the stock market

The stock market impacts so much of the world and our economy. Even if you’re not in a place to invest, it’s still important knowledge to have, especially if you have 401K or other retirement plan.

34. Negotiate your bills down

Compare rates on your insurances, cable, utilities, cell service, and whatever other monthly bills you have to see if other companies have lower rates. If you really like the companies you’re using, call them and negotiate a better rate. If you don’t want to do any of this yourself, check out Billshark or Trim – apps that will do it for you.

35. Make a plan to pay down your debt

36. Learn how to build up good credit

37. Find a credit card with good rewards

*Only open a credit card if you plan to use it responsibly. Do your research and make sure you know exactly how credit cards work before opening any.* Credit cards I’ve had good experiences with:
Discover it Cashback card: At the end of your first year, Discover matches all of the cashback you’ve earned. So essentially, you get double the cashback! Use this link to earn a $50 statement credit when you use your card within the first 3 months.
Capital One Quicksilver card: Get 15 months with 0% APR + 1.5% cashback on all purchases. Capital One has great customer service and a super easy user-friendly app.

38. Start a savings plan

Self Care

39. Start a workout plan

You finally have time to workout… no excuses! You can find just about a million no-equipment at-home workouts on Youtube. Nike also has an free workout app where you can choose your fitness level, available equipment , and what type of workout you want.

40. Plan your meals for the next 2 months

Meal planning is a great way to stay the course and eat healthy. If you’re anything like me, coming up with meals for the week before grocery shopping is awful. I hate it! Why not get a headstart and plan meals for a couple weeks or months out. If you’re more serious about losing weight or don’t want to do any of the meal planning work, try a free trial of Noom or Platejoy to get weekly meal plans.

41. Do daily stretches

I 100% neglect stretching, even though I know it’s good for my body. This is one of the best things to do at home with all this free time. It’s relaxing, and your muscles will thank you.

42. Meditate

43. Start a journal

Here are some ideas to get your journal started.

44. Try yoga

Once again, YouTube has everything.

Get in Touch With Your People

45. Send someone you love a handwritten letter

46. Interview your parents or grandparents and write a personal essay about them as a present/keepsake

How cool would this be? Even if you don’t end up writing anything about them as a gift, write down all the questions you’ve ever wanted to find about them. Call them up and have an incredible conversation. Remember, you won’t find out answers to your questions if you never ask. Ask now before it’s too late.

47. Map out your family tree

Have you ever wanted to try this? You have time now! Check out Ancestry.com for some great resources in getting started.

48. Search for Mother’s and/or Father’s Day gifts

Check out my guide to picking meaningful gifts! Also, Etsy is my favorite place to find personal, cute, and funny gifts.

49. Call the people you haven’t talked to in forever

50. Organize old photos and mail duplicates to the people in them

In the age of digital media and photos, it’s always a great feeling to find old pictures. Make someone’s day by sharing your memories through photos. Plus, what’s the point of having duplicates all to yourself?

51. Make a homemade greeting card and mail it to someone

Plan for the Future

52. Find a place to volunteer after quarantine

Some great places to start are: VolunteerMatch.org, your local library, United Way, your local food bank or homeless shelter, or contact any organization that has had an impact on you and see if they could use a volunteer in any capacity.

53. Research your top 5 travel destinations and plan your dream trips

54. Start/plan a book club

Like to read? Have friends that like to read too? Perfect! Here’s a guide to get you started. If you don’t have any friends that like to read (you need new friends!), try going to your local library. Ask the librarian if there’s a book club you could join, or if they could help you start your own.

55. Sketch or make a list of your dream design for every room in your house

We all have dream homes – start the steps to make yours a reality. Even if it’s just a new coat of paint, pick out a color and put it on the list.

56. Browse your online library catalog and make a list of books you’re going to check out next time you go

57. Come up with a travel bucket list (or any kind of bucket list!)

58. Make a vision board

Never heard of a vision board? Read this article and get started!

Nature

59. Research ways to make your living situation more sustainable and green

60. Find out what you need to do to start a vegetable garden

I suggest starting by Googling “how to start a vegetable garden.” Once you have the basic idea of what will be required of your yard, check out Johnny’s Selected Seeds Grower’s Library. They have everything you need to know.

61. Make a list of hikes in your area to try

62. Learn about permaculture and how it could help your yard

Ever heard of permaculture? Well, basically it’s a way of cultivating as many natural resources (like plants and wood) outside as possible to create a more productive and sustainable environment. Learn more here.

63. Find out what organizations in your area offer educational nature classes

Some organizations that might offer classes: local university or community college, local Audubon Society chapter, a nature center, Cooperative Extension, any adult or community education programs, your local public library, a nursery or greenhouse.

64.Learn about birding or wild animal tracks and scat

Birding could be a great hobby if you get into it. Many local libraries have birding kits with binoculars and field guides available for checkout. They may be geared toward kids, but don’t let that stop you – everyone should learn about birds! If you have any wildlife that comes through your yard or property, learning how to recognize animal tracks or scat would help you identify what furry visitors frequent your yard.

65. Look up indoor plants that would thrive in your apartment or house

Some house plants need a lot of light, and some don’t. Pay attention to the light patterns in your house throughout the day to determine where a good spot for a house plant could be.

Self Improvement & Organization

66. Update your resume

67. Declutter your email inbox

Go through your email inbox and delete everything you don’t need. While you’re at it, unsubscribe from all those annoying email lists that you never even open anything from.

68. Apply for new jobs (if you’re unhappy at your current one)

69. Watch some self-improvement TED Talks

Check out the TED website here. Or pick pretty much any subject you’re curious about and type it + TED talk into YouTube, and you’ll be busy for a while.

70. Rename and organize your computer files/photos

71. Declutter your real mailbox

You know all that junk mail you get sent to your actual mailbox? There’s an app for that! It’s called PaperKarma. After you download the app, you register with your name and address. Then, you take pictures of the mail you don’t want to receive anymore, and PaperKarma will take your name/address off the list. I use this app, and it really does work!

72. Make some personal or career goals and then 3 logical steps you can take to get closer to reaching them

73. Do some online networking

Do you have career goals? Or are you looking for a new job? Put a real effort into your LinkedIn profile and start making connections. Come up with some posts for a few days, and try to engage with other people’s accounts that could be an asset to you in the future.

Clean

74. Organize your basement or attic

75. Go through your linen closet

Refold and organize everything. Consider actually getting rid of those sheet sets that you keep “just in case” but haven’t actually used in 10 years. Donate old blankets, towels, or sheets to your local humane society.

76. Rearrange the furniture

This was my favorite part of having my own room growing up. I loved switching everything around, it made it feel like a brand new room! It might not seem like a lot, but rearranging a room could get you out of a slump or give you new ideas for whatever you’re working on in life.

77. Get a head start on spring cleaning

78. Clean out your kitchen pantry

79. Deep clean your car(s)

80. Empty out the junk drawer

81. Rotate your mattress(es)

I don’t know what the recommendations are for this, I just know you’re supposed to do it. So, now you have the time…

82. Alphabetize your books, CDs, video games, records, or DVDs

Total nerd move! But, I enjoy alphabetizing, so that’s why this is on the list.

83. Make sure there’s a top for every tupperware container you have

Relax/Have Fun

84. Do a puzzle

Dig out that old puzzle from the depths of your basement and get jiggy with it! (get it, cause it’s a jigsaw puzzle). If you don’t have a physical puzzle, there’s now an app for that. Just Google “free jigsaw puzzle apps” and take your pick.

85. Read

Free options include: physical books you already own, openlibrary.org, the Books app on iPhones (it has a free section), or Google “free ebooks,” and go down a rabbit hole. Also, if you have a library card, go to your public library’s website and search for free ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines. Usually all you need is your library card number!
Free trial: Kindle, Audible (for audiobooks)

86. Watch a documentary

Free: documenarytheaven.com, Youtube, topdocumentaryfilms.com
Free trial: Hulu, Netflix

87. Have a Chopped contest

Have you ever watched Chopped? Dig through your kitchen cabinets and find weird combinations of ingredients and see who can come up with the best tasting dish!

88. Give yourself a mani/pedi

89. Discover some new music

Free: NPR Tiny Desk Concerts on Youtube, Pandora, Spotify

90. Write or Journal

Here are some ideas to get your journal started.

91. Try a new cocktail recipe (or two… or three)

Check out my list of autumn flavored cocktail recipes, or browse Pinterest for more ideas.

92. Have a board game night

93. Practice a new hair or makeup style

94. Karaoke

95. Watch Willy Wonka

Of course the old one, what are you crazy? This is my absolute favorite movie, and it’s on Netflix. So…. this is the only authorized Netlix activity I’ll allow that isn’t a documentary.

96. Find some good crime podcasts to listen to

Free: Apple podcast app, Spotify, TuneIn
Free trial: Luminary

Don't let being stuck at home make you stir-crazy and anxious. Be productive and make the time go by faster with these 105 non-Netflix things to do at home!

Get in Touch With Your Inner Child (or do these activities with your real children)

97. Build a fort

You know the kind. Blankets, pillows, the couch, and any free-standing move-able furniture. Have a picnic and watch a movie from inside when you’re done. And no one will judge you if you keep it up for the entire 2 weeks 🙂

98. Design a scavenger hunt

99. Have a costume party

Costumes aren’t just for Halloween! Get creative.

100. Make a house of cards

101. Record a music video

102. Create your own board game

103. Test out different paper airplane designs

104. Write and perform a skit/play

105. Build a Lego metropolis

Just don’t step on them.

Like this:

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17 COMMENTS

ZINEBMarch 15, 2020 – 1:29 pm

This is a very helpful list, staying at home for a long time can be boring but not when you have many fun things to do. Thank you for your ideas.REPLYEVE DAWESMarch 15, 2020 – 8:30 pm

Needed this! I go stir crazy at home!REPLYMARIAMMarch 22, 2020 – 4:30 pm

Thank you for this! ❤ Found the course recommendations particularly helpful and shared with all my friends.REPLYDAINA GRAZULISMarch 22, 2020 – 4:58 pm

I have tried just about all of the course platforms, and I’ve had nothing but good experiences. Thanks for sharing!REPLYBRYANMarch 25, 2020 – 7:02 am

These are GREAT tips!!!REPLYGIULIAMarch 25, 2020 – 7:37 am

Great post, with some very cool ideas I hadn’t read about anywhere. Thanks for sharing so many helpful platforms to freelance or learn. Keep up the great work! x

Giulia
http://www.talesinlostness.comREPLYBEEN THERE WITH KIDSMarch 25, 2020 – 10:16 am

This is a good list. I like the idea of playing chopped!REPLYHANNAHMarch 25, 2020 – 11:02 am

Very good list! Cleaning / organizing my home has been my biggest project lately (though I haven’t made much progress because I keep doing things like reading or coloring!)REPLYDAINA GRAZULISMarch 25, 2020 – 3:56 pm

There’s no shame in that! And there’s no rush either 😉REPLYGOATDOGSIMPLEMarch 25, 2020 – 11:42 am

Amazing list! My son and I are working on our family tree and that’s keeping us busy chatting with family members. Planning on looking into some TED talks and podcasts to follow. Thank you for some great suggestions.REPLYCHARITYMarch 25, 2020 – 1:03 pm

These are all such great ideas! I’ve been watching too much tv and Netflix so I definitely need some other ideas on how to stay busy. Thanks so much for sharing!REPLYPRAGATI MAHAPATRAMarch 25, 2020 – 4:11 pm

You really put in so much effort to write this! I will put in some effort to at least do half of these 😛REPLYJAYA AVENDELMarch 25, 2020 – 4:24 pm

What a list! I love seeing ideas I have already thought of alongside new ideas that never occurred to me. I am currently listening to a course on the beginning of human language, but I love the idea of learning to fix small appliances or build a house of cards.
Spending my time creatively appeals to me more then watching every show on Netflix. Thanks so much for sharing!REPLYSARAHMarch 25, 2020 – 6:01 pm

Wow, what a fantastic list of things to keep your occupied during self-isolation. Heck, this list is great for any day that you find some free time on your hands.REPLYA CAPONE CONNECTIONMarch 25, 2020 – 6:17 pm

Thank you for this list. I love how inclusive this is because there really is something for everyone. Great tips.REPLYLISA DEMPSEYApril 13, 2020 – 11:26 am

Great ideas! Thanks!REPLYMAUREENApril 14, 2020 – 4:14 pm

No one can say they’re BORED ever again after reading this!! Thank you so much for your time and effort in compiling all of this. It is fantastic!REPLY

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