How long have you been staring at that wall?
Can you even remember a time before that wall?
As lockdown measures continue to be implemented in countries around the world, millions of people are “enjoying” a little enforced downtime. Schools have closed; businesses have pulled down the shutters; bars, cinemas, national parks and museums are empty; gigs and festivals have been cancelled… in many cases, even work has been cancelled or stripped down to a bare minimum. It feels like the world has slowed to a stop.
There can be little point in denying the impact the spread of COVID-19 has had up to now, with entire countries grinding to a halt in order to mitigate the spread. You may have been asked to work from home, or perhaps your job simply cannot be done offsite. Either way, unless you are part of the essential services required to keep society running, there’s a good chance you’re at home right now trying not to pull your hair out.
Of course, this unprecedented and unexpected moment of quiet should be a chance to take a breath, relax and reflect, prepare and plan. However, even for the most introverted of introverts, dealing with the fact that self-isolation and social distancing measures are likely to continue well after Easter can be pretty demoralizing.
So, if you’re already running out of ideas on how to keep yourself busy, if you simply can’t bare staring at another spreadsheet, or your remote work is slowly grinding to a halt, here’s ten things to do on lockdown that will help you beat the boredom and stay productive at the same time. Whether you’re working or trying your best to relax and reflect during these difficult times, there’s something here for you.
Try Out New Tools
For anyone who spends their working days tied to a computer screen, it can be difficult to keep up with the number of app and software releases designed to make your life easier. Sure, plenty of them seem useful, but like you ever get any time to download and test them out. Well, dear reader, now’s your chance—and it’s easily one of the most productive things to do in lockdown.
There’s a world of choice out there, with tools to get you organized, boost productivity, help you and your team connect and collaborate, or simply manage your schedule. You could, of course, try a hundred, but instead, why not try just one! Spike has got your everyday communication, collaboration, scheduling and productivity bundled into a single app. Download it and get the job done. Move on to something more/less important!
Bring Your Team Together, From Afar
If you’re lucky enough to be working from home (and you should remind yourself that it’s a privilege and not a burden during this crisis), then no doubt you’re still connecting and collaborating with the rest of your team. Don’t be surprised, however, if the daily tasks begin to slow down over the next few weeks. But don’t fret, you can still use your work time productively and organize a few things to do in lockdown.
Integrate virtual training sessions, set fun and challenging team building tasks, and generally bring together your team to keep morale up—all from the comfort of your sofa/home office chair/ toilet. Of course, Spike will help you stay in touch and sort out your conference calls, but if you really want to bring the pain, you could set aside a couple of hours for a group Fortnite session. It’s just like paintball, only you don’t get any bruises.
Organize a Virtual Meditation Hour
You’ve probably already had what seems like a thousand virtual cocktail hours in the time you’ve been confined to the house, and to be honest, they’re no match for the real thing. In fact, after your third Tequila Sunrise, they can start to get a bit melancholy, and someone usually slips up and reminds everyone of all things you used to do before lockdown!
What you can do together, however, is organize a virtual meditation session. Meditation and mindfulness techniques are proven to help relieve depression and boredom, and introducing your family, friends, or coworkers to group meditation techniques can lift everyone’s mood. So, why not jump on a Spike conference call and get everyone to take a few deep breaths.
Learn Something New
Whether you’re working or not, there’s likely to be plenty of “spare” hours in your day, and finding productive things to do while on lockdown can be tricky. Luckily for you, you can use those hours to learn something new and take away a whole new set of skills from an otherwise difficult situation.
Of course, you can stay abreast with all the latest news from your industry or learn some new skills for your position, but if you want to find a bit of space and refresh your stir-crazy mind, then the challenge of learning something entirely new will be a welcome relief. There’s loads of great platforms for distance learning, Coursera and Udemy being two of the most popular—or, you know, you could just pick up a book.
Green Up the House
During those early-Spring days when the world is trying to shake off the gray of winter, your apartment can seem more like a prison cell than an inspiring place to work or create. However, the good news is you can change that today by greening up your apartment—a truly healthy thing to do while in lockdown.
If you have seeds or other plants to plant then you’re good to go, however, just because all of the florists and home depot stores are closed doesn’t mean you’re stuck in an eternally lifeless house. It’s Spring outside and the perfect time to snag a few conscientiously and responsibly gathered cuttings while on your daily jog/walk/trip to the grocery store. Just pot them up when you get home and watch your apartment bloom.
Clean Your Windows
While we’re on the subject of Spring, there’s one thing that the season brings that’s rarely embraced with the same kind of enthusiasm as those new blooms—Spring cleaning. However, if you’re not quite in the mood for a full-on overhaul of the place while you’re working, then there’s still one cleaning task that is sure to boost your productivity while on lockdown. Clean your windows!
While the rest of the apartment can probably wait, cleaning your windows will instantly brighten up your living/working space and let some of that spring sunshine inside. Sun is a proven mood booster, and once you’ve wiped away a winter’s worth of dirt and grime, your situation will be significantly less gloomy—both literally and figuratively.
Get Some Virtual Culture
Just because you’re trapped at home doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little culture into your life, and in lieu of the thousands of event cancellations across the world, there are countless opportunities to enjoy something you might not otherwise get the chance to see. For example, the MET is live streaming opera while you can also catch free Shakespeare direct from the Globe in London.
Alternatively, the miracle of technology also allows anyone to visit some of the world’s foremost museums and galleries directly from an armchair! Get your fill of Van Gogh, explore the corridors of the Vatican, stock up on contemporary curiosities, or simply spend a few hours gazing into the depths of a classic Rothko. Whatever your taste, virtual tours are among the best things to do while on lockdown if you simply cannot live without a culture fix.
Podcast Your Talents
If you’ve already exhausted your list of favorite podcasts, then why not turn your hand to creating your own. Whether it’s your unique insights on social media marketing, a touch of musical talent, or the long and winding story of how you built a replica model of the Grand Canyon Railway using nothing but plastic bottles (see our zero waste tips below!), podcasting lets you share your talents with the big wide world.
Today, podcasting is simple, and if you can use a computer or smartphone then you can definitely set up a podcast. Simply download a piece of software or an app that suits your specific requirements and get ready to cast. Once you hit record, you’ll know this is the perfect thing to do while on lockdown, letting you wile away the hours while still staying connected with people who share the same interests as you!
Take Up the Zero Waste Challenge
Each year, April plays host to Earth Day on the 22nd of the month, and the unfolding COVID-19 crisis must surely act as a catalyst to finally galvanize the entire world and work towards a more sustainable planet. Sure, there’s not much you can do about carbon emissions, industrial farming, or the Great Pacific Garbage patch from the comfort of your living room. However, what you can do is take a good hard look at your waste generation.
Particularly as waste generation at home increases significantly (all that lockdown chocolate/ice cream/candy won’t eat itself), learning about, and striving for zero waste can make a huge difference. Now is the time to ditch the single-use plastic, buy loose items such as fruit, veg, beans, and cereals, and start making your own cleaning products. It can even be fun, and you can bet the kids will love a zero waste craft project while trapped inside the house.
Step Away from the Screen
Finally, there’s a temptation when working from home during a lockdown to let screens dictate your life. You check the news, log in for work, order your groceries and other essentials, speak to friends, family, and co-workers, check the news again. However, just like in the office, stepping away from the screen—whether your laptop, mobile, tablet, or TV—is crucial to maintaining peace of mind.
Here at Spike, one of our favorite things to do on lockdown is just taking a moment away from our computers or phones to enjoy a moment of tranquility. After all, it’s not every day you get an opportunity to stay at home and consider your past, present, and future in a constructive and mindful way. Before you know it, this whole lockdown business will be over, and some semblance reality will resume. Make the most of it and take a breath now!