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24 Productive Things To Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic

March 20, 2020

It’s a brand-new world of social distancing where we’re all hunkering down in our apartments. Once we’re set up for work and keeping in touch with the world by text and video, what’s next? 

A large apartment building means more people are at home and there are fewer opportunities to use common amenities. How can we #StayTheFHome while remaining productive, all while protecting our well-being while riding out COVID-19? 

Here are 25 ideas to get started.

1. Take an Online Course

Make the most of social distancing and take an online course to sharpen your mind and learn something new. You can learn just about anything from a new language to graphic design and dance. 

Try the scores of online course options like: 

2. Clean and Disinfect the Apartment

Now you have plenty of time to thoroughly clean and disinfect your apartment. It’s also good practice in a world where hygiene and sanitization are paramount. Use our apartment cleaning checklist and learn how to disinfect everything you touch properly.

3. Get a Workout in at Home

Just because you're stuck at home doesn’t mean your fitness goals need to suffer. Kick your ambitions into high gear and learn how to workout from home. You don’t need anything to get started to create your own DIY home gym.

4. Take a Walk or a Hike

Getting fresh air is essential to your health and well-being. If possible, try taking a walk or hike while practicing social distancing. If you’re sheltering in place, get out on your balcony, open up the windows, or walk to an essential business like a grocery store.

5. Get Your Marie Kondo On

Do what Marie Kondo would do during social distancing. Spark some joy by going through your closet and making a pile of things to donate. Look for drop-off bins in your area or set items aside until you can get out and mobile. 

Use our Marie Kondo decluttering checklist to get started.

6. Take a Drive

Not necessarily productive, but some days you’re going to need a change of scenery. Take a drive and clear your head while taking in some new views for a change.

7. Get Lost in a Good Book

A good book can take your mind off of your doldrums and reinvigorate your mind. Public libraries frequently offer free books and music to check out digitally. And don’t forget online retailers like Amazon offer Kindle ebooks and book delivery. Take this time to expand your horizons.

8. Learn to Cook (or improve your skills)

Now’s the time to finally learn to cook or sharpen your skills. With an endless supply of YouTube videos and recipes online, you have no excuse but to dive right in. Start with a few easy options to get comfortable and slowly build a repertoire of signature dishes.

9. Clean Out Your Fridge

Your fridge is a breeding ground for viruses like salmonella and the norovirus. Make it your job to stay as healthy as possible during the pandemic. Go through your fridge and pantry and get rid of expired foods.

Once you've got everything cleaned out, get organized with these fridge spacing saving tips.

10. Start a Side Hustle

Have you always wanted to explore a side hustle idea? Now is the time to explore bookkeeping, social media management, or computer programming to supplement your income. You can reach out to local businesses or look to freelance platforms like Upwork to get started.

11. Take a Virtual Museum Tour

We may not be able to gather at our favorite attractions, but we can take all the virtual museum tours we want. The Google Arts & Culture collection includes all the classics like the Guggenheim in New York, the British Museum in London, and hundreds of others.

12. Build a Puzzle

Puzzles are a stress reliever and can strengthen your mind at the same time. Order a few puzzles and keep yourself occupied on your new masterpiece. Throw on a podcast and get to work!

13. Socialize (at a Distance) with Friends and Family

Social distancing is challenging when we’re away from loved ones. Check in with friends and family via Facebook and Skype. Turn it into a Netflix watch party and mix up some cocktails together to socialize while distancing.

14. Offer to Virtually Shop for an Elderly Neighbor

Take a moment to see how you can help others around you. Elderly neighbors are among our most vulnerable to the coronavirus. They likely need our help with shopping. 

Leave a note at the door and ask them to jot down a list. Then, you can either shop for them virtually for delivery or pick it up yourself.

15. Grow a Balcony or Windowsill Garden

Flex your green thumb while confined to your apartment. Order some windowsill or balcony planters and seeds. Then, grow your own herbs, flowers, or vegetables. Add a hummingbird feeder and enjoy the nature going on right outside. Use these apartment gardening tips to get started.

16. Send Some Postcards

Snail mail is a treasured novelty these days. Surprise a loved one or acquaintance you want to check in on with a postcard. If you don’t have any, drop some in your virtual shopping cart the next time you’re making an order.

17. Clean Up Your Digital Files

Those thousands of videos and photos on your phone and social media feeds aren’t going to clean up themselves. Start organizing, labeling, and sorting your files. Then, you can finally get a handle on the digital clutter in your devices and online presence.

18. Start Journaling

Social distancing can start to feel lonely and make us all restless. Stay on top of your mental health by journaling. It’s also a good memento during this historic time.

19. Send Someone a Gift Basket

Delight a loved one by sending a gift basket filled with all their favorite treats. Look for options that include crossword puzzles and other activities. That can help them get through social distancing.

20. Hone a Craft 

Honing a craft keeps your mind and hands busy for months on end. Try your hand at candle-making, knitting, illustration, or anything else that suits your fancy. Get your kids involved and make it a family affair!

21. Start an Online Book Club

With so much time to read books, why not start an online book club? Meet virtually over Google Hangouts or your favorite platform and chat. You can also find suggestions for what to discuss for just about any book online. 

22. Start a Challenge

It’s not always easy to stay home all the time and still feel productive. Turn it into a challenge with a group of friends and family. 

Set a goal like doing 100 push-ups, writing a short story to share, or doing a random act of kindness every day. The real goal is keeping everyone motivated and in good spirits.

23. Paint a Room

It can get tiring looking at the same walls of your apartment. If your landlord allows it, paint a room a cheerful color that lifts your spirits. Just make sure to throw open the windows and let in lots of fresh air while you do so.

24. Tell Someone It’s Going to be Okay

We all have those moments where we feel forlorn and down about the state of the world. Make it a point to reach out to at least one person a day and ask how they’re doing. 

Simply telling someone, “It’s going to be okay,” can do wonders. After all, we’re all in this together.

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Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
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