100 Positive and Productive Things You Can Do at Home Right Now

I wanted to help my staff blow off some steam this week, so I asked them to come up with some tasks that we can all do while we’re sheltering in place and doing our thing to flatten the curve.

If your kids (or you) are already asking “Are we there yet?” here are some ways to distract them.

Annie’s List

  1. Learn a new programming language and utilize what you learn to build something from scratch!
  2. Find a new recipe online—if you’re adventurous, try cooking or baking something from a different culture.
  3. Enjoy the great outdoors via Animal Crossing: New Horizons—the latest title on the Nintendo Switch.
  4. Used to play an instrument back in the day? Now is the perfect time to pull out your instrument and practice.
  5. Do a group video call with your friends.
  6. Take some online classes on a topic that interests you.
  7. Try bullet journaling!
  8. Ever heard of the 10- or 12- step Korean skin care routine? Now’s the time to try it out and get your skin in tip-top shape.
  9. If you’re stuck at home with your family, why not play some board games or table-top games?
  10. Marathon a T.V. series that you haven’t seen. Or maybe one that you have seen and would love to watch again.
  11. Plan a trip. You may not be able to go out now, but what’s stopping you from planning a getaway for when things have settled down?
  12. If you’re someone who has hundreds to thousands of unread emails sitting in your inbox, maybe it’s time to clear them out (and unsubscribe to any marketing lists you no longer wish to receive emails from, but not ours, of course!).
  13. Read a piece of classic literature… or just a good book. Here are a few that I highly recommend: 1984 by George Orwell, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
  14. Try an online escape room!
  15. Do a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout session and work up a good sweat. DAREBEE has some good ones: https://darebee.com/programs/30-days-of-hiit.html
  16. Tired of listening to the same old songs on your playlist? Time to create a brand-new playlist!
  17. Be creative—draw a self-portrait, paint a scene, or even design a shirt.
  18. TikTok and being stuck at home are the perfect combination for some creative—or disastrous—content ideas.
  19. You’ll find a subreddit for pretty much ANYTHING you’re interested in.
  20. Reorganize; start with your closet, then expand to your room, and finally, your entire house. Marie Kondo the things that do not “spark joy” in your life.
  21. Always buying last minute gifts? Do some online shopping for birthday gifts now that you have time.
  22. Is your resume and portfolio up-to-date? If not, now is a great time to update it.
  23. Call your loved ones; you might not be able to see them physically, but that doesn’t stop you from calling them and wishing them well.
  24. Follow a tutorial on YouTube.
  25. If you can’t enjoy one of your hobbies due to self-distancing regulations, why not pick up a new one? Try crocheting or knitting!
  26. Try getting into video games; there are many classic puzzle titles available on the PC, like Portal and Portal 2, that are sure to keep you mentally stimulated.
  27. Sharpen your chess skills by playing against other players across the globe on Chess.com.
  28. Go through your wardrobe and try on different combinations of shirts, pants, dresses, jackets, and accessories. Take selfies to create your own lookbook!

Marjory’s List

  1. Join a local Facebook group to connect with people in your community.
  2. Check to see if any local restaurants are selling community grocery boxes.
  3. With animal shelters closing and needing help, consider fostering a shelter animal.
  4. Learn another language.
  5. Create an inspirational sign to display in your window that can be seen from the outside.
  6. Follow a Bob Ross Painting Video.
  7. Be your own radio DJ. Curate your own music playlist for free with Spotify: https://www.spotify.com/.
  8. Read a free eBook. Try https://www.gutenberg.org/ or https://manybooks.net/.
  9. Try some free online courses. https://www.coursera.org/.
  10. Try an online virtual museum tour. Visit the Smithsonian https://naturalhistory2.si.edu/vt3/NMNH/ or the Louvre https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne.
  11. Go through your phone and pick your favorite photos for a photobook. You can order them from websites like Shutterfly https://www.shutterfly.com/photo-books .
  12. Try a free tv and movie app. Pluto TV https://pluto.tv/live-tv/ Tubi TV https://tubitv.com/ Crackle https://www.crackle.com/
  13. Have some family fun and plan a scavenger hunt for the family.
  14. Take up calligraphy.
  15. Coloring Books aren’t just for kids anymore. Try a stress-relieving coloring books for adults.
  16. Become an origami expert.
  17. Get artistic and experiment with pet photography.
  18. Give life to some old shirts by trying some DIY tie-dye https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBadLUHLe6E.
  19. Give yourself or a family member a manicure or pedicure.
  20. Go online shopping and send a friend or family member a gift.
  21. Do some research on palmistry and read your palm.
  22. Catch up on some podcasts you’ve been meaning to listen to.
  23. Amuse yourself by taking an online personality test like the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator or Enneagram.
  24. Have a picnic in your backyard.
  25. Make a compliment jar for your significant other to show much you appreciate them.

Cutter’s List

  1. Pamper yourself! Give yourself a facial, or a fancy manicure/pedicure. Get creative and try a color you don’t usually wear.
  2. Stay fit! During all of that binge-watching, every time a character says a fitness-related word (i.e. gym, health, exercise, weights, etc.), do 10 jumping jacks, 10 squats, 10 push-ups, or 10 sit-ups.
  3. Have you been eating more than usual? You’re not alone! To help prevent yourself from gaining weight, every time you enter the kitchen, do 25 jumping jacks. Then, every time you leave the kitchen, do 25 more jumping jacks. (Of course, jumping jacks can be substituted for something else.)
  4. Been wanting to try a new hair color? Since you can’t socialize or really leave the house, now’s the perfect chance! Next time you’re at the store, pick a up box of hair dye. Find out if blondes really have more fun!
  5. Ever wanted to write the next great American novel? You’ve got the time. Put pencil to paper and get started.
  6. No matter how bored you get, DO NOT watch Tiger King on Netflix. Just don’t! Okay . . . Maybe watch the first episode.
  7. Finally learn how to tie a tie! It’s not as easy as it looks. Throw out those clip-ons, pull up a You Tube video, and start knotting!
  8. Read! Read! Read! If you’re starting to go stir crazy and need an escape, you can travel the world without ever leaving your living room. Simply crack open a book and go on an adventure. Amazon Kindle is offering one month free.
  9. Learn how to cook! Have you always wanted to learn how to cook, but never had the time? Now you do! Just one suggestion: If you’re new to cooking, keep the fire extinguisher close by!
  10. Create a new board game. Tired of playing Monopoly, Clue, or Candy Land? Put your creative skills to the test and create your own family-friendly game.
  11. Miss going out with your friend on a Friday or Saturday night? Stay in and Face Time them! This is even better than going out: The drinks are cheaper and you get to pick the music.
  12. Learn how to play an instrument. Of course, this requires having an instrument. If you have a guitar or set of drums lying around collecting dust, clean ‘em off and test your musical skills. (You may need to apologize to your neighbors in advance.)
  13. Practice your selfie game. Admit it: You take selfies! We all do. Now you have time to perfect your selfies.
  14. Test your willpower! Social media can be a great tool, but it can also be a great distraction. See if you can go 24-hours without getting on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
  15. Are you a picky eater? Try a new food!
  16. When’s the last time you wrote a letter—an actual letter—to a loved one? Don’t send a text or email, write a heartfelt note and mail it.
  17. Don’t use any devices for 24-hours. We often rely on technology like a crutch. For one full day, try not using your phone, computer, iPad, or even TV!
  18. Rearrange your furniture! The best way to give your home an inexpensive makeover is to move the furniture around.
  19. Start—and finish—that painting project. There’s likely a couple of walls in your home that need painted. What are you waiting for? Grab a brush and get started.
  20. Clean out your garage! Unfortunately, you won’t be able to have a garage sale, but you will still feel better once you clean and organize the space. Who knows . . . When you’re done, you might even be able to fit your car into it!
  21. Now is a great time to clean out your closet. Rule of thumb: If it doesn’t fit or you haven’t worn it in a couple of months, toss it!
  22. Write a song! The best way to channel your emotions is to put them down on paper. Consider putting your feelings and thoughts into lyrics.
  23. Start a blog or vlog! Have you always wanted to host your own blog or vlog? Now is the perfect time! The best part: You can write or talk about whatever you want! You’re the boss!
  24. Due to the Coronavirus, those in nursing homes are no longer allowed to have visitors. Consider writing notes, letters, or cards and dropping them off. These folks need something comforting to look forward to.
  25. Learn how to crochet or knit . . . if you have the patience! If not, learning how to make the perfect martini is much easier (and more rewarding!).
  26. Bake bread like they’re doing in France! Not a carb lover? Bake something each day that will cause your home to smell wonderful and comforting.
  27. How close are your neighbors? Create a sing-a-long, just like they’re doing in Italy. Note: This may work best if you live in an apartment complex.
  28. In Germany, DJs are live streaming for virtual parties. Know any DJ friends? If not, start practicing your DJ skills!
  29. Have a virtual bake-off with friends and/or family!

Ideas from around the world

  1. Aussies may not be able to enjoy camping with their friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many have improvised and pitched up tents in their backyards and living rooms instead.
  2. Australians may be stuck indoors during these times, but that doesn’t stop them from enjoying what the great outdoors has to offer! Many Australian zoos, sanctuaries, and parks are offering livestreams of Australian wildlife.
  3. COVID-19 may have Australians stuck at home, but many Aussies have been enjoying a classic Australian pastime: backyard cricket!
  4. Stuck at home? If you have instant coffee, sugar, milk, and ice, try out South Korea’s newest at-home trend: DIY dalgona coffee.
  5. During these uncertain times, many Koreans are sending handwritten thank you notes to the hardworking delivery workers who continue to make deliveries during the crisis.
  6. Support your local bakery like the French do, getting their daily baguette from their local bakery which is considered an essential business.
  7. Check if your local wine shop is delivering.
  8. Want to party at home? Berlin’s ClubCommission has daily livestreamed DJ sets https://en.unitedwestream.berlin/
  9. Attend a concert in your living room. Check to see if your favorite artist or band is doing a livestream performance.

Sandi’s List

  1. Curate a list of your favorite movies / series / recipes / books and share them with your friends and co-workers.
  2. Host a virtual happy hour with your team, friends, or Facebook group pals.
  3. Call a single friend. They are probably lonely and could use your company.
  4. If you have a treadmill or a stationary bicycle, you are so lucky right now! Take the clothes that are hanging on it off and use it!
  5. OK, on a serious note, review your will and especially your advance medical directive and make sure it’s what you still want.
  6. Watch a TED talk. https://www.ted.com/
  7. Take some time to leave positive reviews for the businesses that you’ve recently been helped by or had a good experience with.
  8. Call a relative that you haven’t been in contact with for a while and catch up.
  9. Get some sun.
  10. Watch a comedy series – One of my favorites: Offspring, a laugh-out-loud Australian show available through Netflix.
  11. Buy something you haven’t bought in a while. For me it was a subscription to the San Diego Union Tribune so I can get to know my new neighborhood a little better.
  12. Watch movies with your friends using Netflix Party or Twoseven (https://twoseven.xyz/)
  13. Lift weights. If you don’t have any, use vegetable cans (easier to grip) or books as a substitute for small weights and move or lift your furniture for heavier weights.
  14. Take your relationship to a whole new level: Cut your partner’s hair, and try to be nice to each other while you’re doing it.
  15. Work in your garden.
  16. Be a leader in your neighborhood by becoming a facilitator and match needs to people who are able to meet them. As an example, find out who is elderly and may need help and who is young and can help, etc.
  17. Take a bubble bath.
  18. Dust off your last performance review, and take a course in a skill that your boss suggested.
  19. Get better at technology. My weakness is my phone, so I’m going to work on that.
  20. Ask your grandparents for stories about when they were growing up.
  21. Get your taxes done. It will feel great to get them out of the way.
  22. Update your emergency contacts list.
  23. Train your dog to roll over. Or if you have a cat, try training them, but good luck with that.
  24. Dust off all the puzzles, games, and legos you have in your closet and play with them.
  25. Make a gratitude list at least once a week, if not every day.  Here’s one of mine: I’m grateful I have a bunch of exercise equipment at home; I’m grateful I didn’t burn down the house when I made French fries without a proper deep fryer; I’m grateful my husband found almond milk at the 7-Eleven last week; I’m grateful I can donate money to our local food bank this week.