101 Ways to Stay Productive When You Are Stuck at Home
This post may contain affiliate links which means I make a commission if you shop through my links. Disclosure Policy
These are definitely trying times.
With so much uncertainty in the world – it is hard to stay focused on anything other than the news.
It is easy to give in to feelings of helplessness and worry – especially when your financial situation is at stake.
But the thing is – this is largely out of our control.
And worrying about things you can’t control isn’t very useful.
The only thing you CAN do right now to help is stay home and sit tight.
Luckily, there are lots of things you can do at home to pass the time, stay productive, and take your mind of the world at large.
No – I’m not talking about Netflix.
I’m talking about all those little projects you have been putting off because you didn’t have the time (but more likely were procrastinating on).
For each of us, this list will be different because our situations are different.
But hopefully, you will find a few things on the list that apply to you.
I split the list into a few sections to make it easy to navigate:
Learn How To …
I am sure that everyone has something that they have been meaning to learn how to do.
It could be something big like picking up a brand new skill, or it could be something smaller like learning how to use a piece of equipment or even an app that you already own.
Just put the words “Learn how to” in front of the following suggestions …
- use apps on your phone – explore the features and practice.
- take better photos with your phone.
- use your DSLR camera, if you have one
- edit your photos
- use a photo editing app like Adobe Photoshop, Canva, or PicMonkey
- sync your devices – computer to phone to tablet etc
- use the electronics in your car
- program your car radio with your favorite stations
- customize the settings in your car for your locks, seats, dashboard, etc.
- connect your phone to your car
- start a blog
- use a kitchen appliance like the Instant Pot, an Air Fryer, or your blender
- cook a new recipe
- play a new or old board game
- record video for YouTube
- FaceTime with friends and relatives – or do a group call
- use your sewing machine
- make face masks to donate
- use your Cricut machine
- paint, knit, crochet, or other hobby
- borrow eBooks and magazines from your local library
Clean and Organize
The one thing most people procrastinate on is cleaning and organizing the stuff that you don’t use everyday.
Being stuck at home is actually a great opportunity for you to tackle these projects as unpleasant as they are.
Here are some suggestions:
- organize the cabinet under your kitchen sink
- clean out your silverware drawer
- clean out your junk drawer
- clean out your pantry
- organize your spice drawer or cabinet
- clean out the refrigerator and freezer
- clean off your home office desk
- clean out your car
- wash your car
- organize and pare down your make up
- sort through your nail polish collection
- organize your bathroom vanity
- organize the cabinets under your bathroom sink
- clean out your medicine cabinet
- clean out the linen closet
- wash throw blankets that don’t get washed very often
- if your bedroom pillows are washable – wash those
- deep clean your carpets if you have a home carpet cleaning device
- clean out your hallway closet
- hose down any indoor/outdoor doormats
- tackle your cable clutter – you know, that box of USB, HDMI, and who only knows what other types of cables that you probably tossed into a box somewhere
- take the time to go through your holiday decor and organize or pare down – Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and any other holidays you celebrate and decorate for
- organize your craft supplies
- clean out the garage
- get your snow blower ready for summer storage
- weed the garden
- wash your windows (but be safe about it)
- clean out the attic
- organize your basement
- go around your entire house or apartment with a damp washcloth on a broom handle and tackle the dust bunnies that are up high
- clean the vents in your house with a vacuum or dust cloth
- sweep your porch or your deck and wash with a power washer
- if you have pets, go through the toys and get rid of the ones that are worn out
- clean and organize the playroom
- go through the clothes that your kids have outgrown
- review your wardrobe – clothes, outerwear, shoes, socks, underwear, accessories – set items to donate that you will no longer wear
- go through your costume jewelry and discard items you will not wear
- take a close look at storage (drawers, cabinets) in high traffic areas like the drawers near your stove or sink, the nightstand drawer next to your bed, the top drawer in your vanity, the easiest shelves to reach in your pantry, etc. – make sure these areas contain ONLY the items that you use often. Move things you use less often to harder to reach spaces
- organize your family photos – both online and offline
- set up your online reading lists – on your Kindle or other mobile device
- organize your eBooks and courses on your computer – better yet, READ them or complete the course
- help your kids organize their video games and electronic devices
I am giving paperwork it’s own category because there is so much to do in this area that it is never ending.
- go through your pile of mail
- organize your bills and due dates using a notebook, or something specific like the Erin Condren bill payment dashboard or Petite Planner Budget Book.
- work on creating an in case of emergency instruction book in case something happens to you
- organize your important papers like life insurance policies, wills, titles, etc.
- set up a password organizer like 1Password
- set up a process to make your home office paperless
- install a scanning app on your phone
- organize your cloud accounts like: Google Drive, Dropbox, or Evernote
- understand how you can access your cloud files from your different devices
- organize your file cabinet
- organize your computer desktop
- set up Quickbooks or an accounting system for your small business
Having a lot of time on your hands is also a good opportunity to plan for better days ahead.
- create a vision board for your future
- set some goals and break those down into bite sized steps
- assign some deadlines to measure your progress
- update your paper planner and your electronic calendar
- using some of the items on this list, create projects for you to work on both now and in the future
- set up a master “to do” list notebook or app
- organize your planner supplies and accessories
- work with your kids on learning how to plan out their schedules, homework, and chores
- create a daily schedule for yourself and family
- create a weekly cleaning schedule
In the Learn How To section above, I touched on learning a new hobby or skill – but here I want to touch upon using a hobby or skill that you already have.
For example, I have a Cricut machine, sewing machine, and lots of planning supplies – so there are little projects that I think about and promptly forget about until it is too late.
Here are some examples:
- make paper birthday cards for family and friends
- create handmade gift embellishments to decorate presents that I give throughout the year
- crochet baby blankets
- make a quilt
- create little holiday themed gift card holders and paper boxes for gift giving
- create a notebook of gift ideas for people on my holiday gift list – for example, I just learned that my mom could use a new winter hat – this is something that I could make or buy as a gift for later in the year, but I need to make a note of it now so I remember
In our busy lives, it is easy to put yourself last.
So, take this time to give yourself a little attention and work on self care and mindfulness.
- start journaling – Erin Condren has some beautiful soft bound notebooks that are perfect for this
- start an online exercise program
- keep a fitness log
- establish a personal daily routine – wake up, get ready, etc (even if you are staying home all day)
- start a meditation routine
- track your hydration and vitamin habits
- find healthy recipes using ingredients you already have
- work on your relationships with those you live with and connecting online or via phone with those far away or even next door
- set aside time for to kick back and relax – take a long bath, watch an old movie
- read books that you have been meaning to get to
And another one as an afterthought – clean out your email inbox.
There Are Lots of Things To Do At Home
The bottom line is that you can either go stir crazy during this time at home or you can use your time productively.
Be sure to write down the things you accomplish on a daily basis – so you can see your progress and feel good about crossing a few things off of your to do list!