When you’re stuck inside all day you probably feel worse than your stomach when it’s digesting undercooked potstickers on a turbulent flight.
Add to that a global pandemic and you’ve got a real recipe for disaster.
So this is a list of 69 productive and practical things you can do, see, learn, make, and read while you’re forced to be a permanent home denizen.
Click here to see just the list without the explanations (P.S. you’ll want to read the explanations because they have the links.)
Want To Stay Motivated All Week Long?
Try my Monday Morning Motivation Newsletter and start your week with:
- A motivational quote(s)
- An actionable productivity tip
- The newest research on habits / psychology from experts
1. Take a Yoga Class
2. Tour the Louvre
The world’s largest art museum in Paris, France is now offering virtual tours (finally you can examine exquisite art in your tighty whities.)
3. Create a New World
Remember how when you were a kid you would invent worlds replete with characters, storylines, and drama? Well, why did you ever stop!? There’s a whole community of world builders and it’s awesome.
4. Try Video Editing
Adobe Premiere Pro and Premiere Rush (the simpler version of Pro) have a 7 day free trial. If you’ve got some old video footage then try it out!
5. Stop Being Biased
Confabulation, The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy, and The Monte Carlo Fallacy. Don’t know what any of these are? Read You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney and learn about the most common biases that plague your existence almost every day.
6. Go to a Concert
Sad your concert got canceled? Now you can livestream it, baby! Some are as cheap as $1 (P.S. at that price can we just livestream all concerts from now on?)
7. Talk to Your Neighbor
You know, that person you’ve probably seen a thousand times but never actually spoken to aside from a friendly grunt and a brisk headnod? This is the social network for neighborhoods.
8. Watch a Documentary With Your Friends
Ain’t nothin’ but a Netflix party! Use this free app to add group-chat functionality to your Netflix and geek out over your favorite (educational) shows together.
9. Learn to Code From an Ivy League School
For free! Classes like these are actually more common than you might think. Here’s a list of computer science courses.
10. Reconnect With Old Friends
According to Dunbar’s Number the average human can comfortably maintain about 150 social relationships. Have you been keeping up with all of yours, or have you been hiding like Gollum from Lord of The Rings?
11. Create a Plan to Take Over The World
Taskade is the ultimate workspace app for solo and team projects. Think of it like Trello, but with mind maps, organizational charts, video calls, and more. It’s the perfect place to start a plan for world domination.
12. Find Your Soulmate
Tinder is waiving the fees for its Passport feature until April 30th, 2020. Passport allows you to connect with people outside of your immediate area so you can finally find that sexy Australian guy you’ve been searching for.
13. Listen to Mozart
“Mozart makes you smarter” is something you’ve likely heard a thousand times. But when was the last time you actually listened to the guy? 6 hours should get you started. Alternatively, check out this list of free ambient music downloads.
14. Help The Elderly Get Groceries
Ok so this one isn’t done at home. Shopping Angels was created by a university student to help the elderly and those otherwise restricted get their groceries during this time of need. If you want to help, sign up here.
15. Learn Excel
16. Start a “Quotes Journal”
A Quotes Journal is a place to document and reflect on your best quotes. Write down one quote you love and then two to three sentences on why you love it and what it means to you. Review your journal when you’re feeling down or need a boost of motivation. These quotes should get you started.
17. Learn a Language
Houlá richáda mikpada cantú! Unfortunately you can’t learn that language because I just made it up. But learning a real language is free.
18. Build More Willpower
Your willpower is a serious consideration when you’re stuck inside all day, so you might as well learn how to make it stronger. Review the willpower fact sheet from the American Psychological Association, and then read my article about it.
Seriously. Making your own “stuck at home” documentary could be a really fun experiment. Challenge your friends to do the same. Use this app. It’s kind of like TikTok but for vlogs and discussions instead of silly dances and teenagers.
20. Plan What You’re Going to Watch on Netflix
View Netflix’s upcoming original releases and plan out what you’re going to watch in advance. That way you’re not wasting time scrolling endlessly through the Netflix black hole.
21. Listen to the 1984 Audiobook
The classic dystopian novel by George Orwell is available as an audiobook for free. Just try not to get too freaked out, considering the circumstances.
22. Take a Business Course
Once again, for free and from an Ivy League school. Marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, most subjects are available.
23. Train Your Brain
Dual n-back is a fun “game” that has been shown to potentially increase working memory and fluid intelligence. It works by splitting your focus and then asking you to recall certain information quickly. It’s free. Check it out here.
24. Learn a New Word
Since about 2015 I’ve saved every “big word” I’ve come across and added it to an Anki deck. As of writing the deck has 872 vocabulary words. You can download it for yourself here.
25. Read the Internet Trends Report
Mary Meeker of Bond Capital creates annual Internet Trends Reports to analyze the state of the online industry. Her most recent report is a 333-slide presentation. I highly recommend checking it out ‘cause it’s super cool.
26. Take a Philosophy Crash Course
Philosophy is an enormous field. You could spend your whole life studying ethics, for example, and never get to political philosophy, or any other field. Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy by Simon Blackburn is a good place to start.
27. Learn Public Speaking
An important and arguably terrifying skill. This app coaches you and helps you become a better public speaker (say goodbye to those “speaking in front of the class without pants on” nightmares!)
28. Start a Company
Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are growing ever more popular. So while you’re home you might as well jump on the train, because the world really does “need” your two-in-on shoe shiner/vegetable juicer invention. This article is a comprehensive analysis of what makes a successful Kickstarter and how to raise the most money.
29. Learn the Laws of Success
Napoleon Hill is the GOAT of personal development and success research. His original publication The Law Of Success In 16 Lessons is free. Just remember to invite me when you purchase your first yacht, please.
30. Discover Probability and Statistics
What’s the probability that you buy me an Oculus Rift Kit? To learn the answer check out Seeing Theory. It’s a free course that teaches statistics in a fun way through interactive visualizations.
31. Read a Scientific Journal
Getting past those egregious paywalls blocking scientific publications may not be as difficult as you think. Try this site out. Alternatively, take Dr. Holly Witteman’s advice:
32. Invest in an IPO
An “Initial Public Offering” is when a company’s shares (stocks) are available to trade on the public market. This is not financial advice, and maybe you don’t want to invest right now. This was mostly just an excuse for me to post this link that shows upcoming IPOs because I think it’s cool and you may not have known about it.
33. Scam Some Suckas
Ok, not actually. But the lives of con artists and charlatans make for fascinating reads. Start with this list from Wikipedia, and (if you can find it) order The Power of the Charlatan by Grete De Francesco. If you really do want to scam someone (don’t), these are the “10 Commandments for Con Men” by Victor Lustig.
34. Take Selfies with a New Smartphone
This is a comprehensive and continually updated list of the best smartphone cameras on the market. Hint: the winner is NOT iPhone you scumbag-Apple-loving-pretentious-sons-of…
Sorry, got a little carried away there.
35. Get “Swole” With a Home Workout
The perfect home workout with no equipment, for beginners and experts alike. Admit it, Jeff Cavaliere of athleanx.com is the GOAT of the fitness world. If you haven’t watched his stuff then start right now.
36. Compare Your Finances to Your Peers
Sounds weird — could actually be really beneficial. Knowing how your finances compare to your peers and the national average can help you set a trajectory for your future. Maybe you’re working too much, maybe not enough? Hard to say without a guide. This app lets you compare anonymously.
37. Read Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Why? Because it’s constantly referred to as like the best novel of all time. Might as well read it while you’ve got the time, I guess?
38. Call Your Damn Parents
Parents, grandparents, cousins, nieces, nephews, whatever. I know it sucks, but if you’ve got the time then just get it over with. Maybe you’ll actually enjoy it!
39. Make a Rube Goldberg Machine
A Rube Goldberg machine is a contraption that is deliberately over-engineered to do something simple in a complicated fashion and usually includes a chain reaction. Get those creative juices flowing baby!
40. Plan Your Goals
This can actually be a lot more fun than you think. Start with quarterly goals (3 month goals) and work your way down. Get specific. Bonus points if you use a spreadsheet.
41. Create a New Incentive System for Your Employees
Are you a business owner? This Ted Talk discusses why the carrot and stick approach isn’t good for employee motivation. It’s an oldie but a goodie.
42. Make a New Friend
You can make friends even when you’re at home. Aristotle defined 3 types of friendship: utility, pleasure, and the good. With these in mind test the “social” of social media and try making a new friend! If you want you can email me at [email protected]
43. Explore the Orange Book
“The Orange Book” identifies drug products approved on the basis of safety and effectiveness by the Food and Drug Administration.” You can see if your current drugs have cheaper therapeutic equivalents (cheaper than the brand name yo!) Access The Orange Book here.
44. Sell Something on Etsy
Etsy is the place to buy homemade knick knacks and fashion stuff. If you’ve got a crafty side then give it a try!
45. Unclog That Drain
Does water pool at your feet in the shower like a bacteria laden incest orgy? It’s time to fix that. And you don’t even need to go to the store to get drain cleaner.
46. Accept That Life is Better With Ups and Downs
Think about it, ponder it, write it down. Mathematically, life is better with ups and downs. How do you feel now?
47. Argue With Your Foreign Roommate Over Whose Country is Better…
…and then view the actual rankings for the overall best country as rated by US News, Bav Corp, and Wharton.
48. Sort and Organize Your Computer Folders
Bruh, c’mon. I know your desktop looks messier than a hotel room after a phallic object laden bachelorette party in Vegas. Time to clean up!
49. Brush Up On Your Maths
Khan Academy was a godsend when I was growing up. Turns out it’s still a good place to brush up on your math, physics, and history skills. Actually, it’s a pretty good place to learn anything that’s taught in primary education.
50. Deep Clean Your Cushions
This is a car seat not a cushion, but I think you get the idea… Might as well do it if you’ve got the time.
51. Signup For Some Good Newsletters
I talked about this in my 7 Habits for a Productive and Happy Life article, but I mostly read venture capital, business, and finance news in the form of email newsletters. My favorites are probably Term Sheet, CEO Daily, The Hustle, and Robinhood Snacks.
52. Learn The Names of All The Countries
You never know when some jerk kid is going to hit you with a pop quiz on the capital of Mauritius. Did you even know that was a country? Neither did I until I looked it up. Here’s a globe you can get to help. (It’s Port Louis by the way.)
53. Start a Bullet Journal
Out of all the productivity tools, bullet journals have the unique combination of customization, personalization, and cathartic expression. Read more about the pros and cons of bullet journals. This is the journal I recommend.
54. Take a No Tech Day
A “no tech day” is a 24 hour detox from all non-essential technology (phones, computers, TVs, tablets, speakers, etc.) At the very least try a 12 hour no-tech stretch and see how you feel.
55. Learn Photoshop
“But Photoshop is too expensive!” you callously remark. “No you idiot!” I respond, shaking you with vigorous excitement, “there’s Photopea!” Photopea is a free photoshop clone you use in the browser.
56. Create a Board Game
57. Try a New Recipe
List the food in your fridge and MyFridgeFood will give you recipes. Regardless of how few ingredients you have you’ll always find something new to cook!
58. Declutter Your House
When you’re stuck at home it’s impossible to procrastinate cleaning. But you don’t have to do it in one fell swoop. Try cleaning in 30 minute intervals to start and eventually you’ll pick up momentum. Plus, these organization containers will get you started on the cheap.
59. Purge Your Closet
Admit it, you’ve got way too much stuff. Now’s the time to purge. Besides, someone probably needs your old clothes more than your closet does.
60. Learn to Play Poker Like a Champ
Learn poker theory and strategy in this free MIT course and then take all of your friends’ money.
61. Practice That Habit You’ve Been Meaning to Build
Use creative deliberate practice to build any habit. If you’re trying to wake up earlier then literally find a way to practice that. In other words, do “practice reps” for waking up. (P.S. that link tells you how.)
62. Start a Blog
63. Grow Your Digital Portfolio
Are you an aspiring graphic designer, video editor, effects artist, freelance writer, etc.? r/CreatorServices is a great place to build your portfolio with free and paid gigs.
64. Play Guitar
You may have a guitar that’s accumulating more dust than an early 2000s DVD player. And that’s ok, but it’s time to learn. This dude Justin has been making loads of guitar lessons for free since 2003.
65. Read Mastery by Robert Greene
I couldn’t in good conscience publish this without mentioning my favorite book. Greene analyzes some of the greatest masters of all time from various crafts and creates a 3 step process to replicate their success.
66. Practice Speed Reading
Do you read slower than a tortoise on crunches? This site helps you practice your speed reading for free with customizable text and settings.
67. Write Some Poetry
Never written poetry before? Get some inspiration from the poetry greats.
C’mon, you didn’t seriously think I’d leave out meditation did you? Meditation: the thing that’s probably good for you but that you’ll probably never do (unless you’re stuck at home, that is!) Headspace is a good place to start.