“I have so much free time now. I don’t know what to do with myself. I usually end up watching the news and feeling anxious all day.”
I’ve heard this many times in the last few days from friends who are either working from home or simply feeling stuck. It’s a rough time. It’s tempting to binge watch and eat like crap. Unfortunately, this social distancing situation may last longer than we originally thought it would. At some point, we have to accept this terrible current reality and do something about it. I wanted to write something for those who are ready to do something productive once the binge watching stops.
What can you do with this spare time to come out better on the other side?
During a crisis everything may feel pointless. You’re not even sure if there’s any sense in putting any effort into anything. I get that. I just know that playing video games all day won’t make you feel better. You don’t want to come out of this feeling more out of shape, confused, and stressed out than you need to be.
There will be nights where we down an entire bag of chips, go through a bottle of wine, and binge watch garbage reality shows. That’s okay. We just can’t let that become our new normal.
I want you to use this time to come out better. Most of us have at some point complained about not having time to do anything. Now we have that time. Let’s try to use this time to our advantage.
We looked at how to survive this financial chaos already. You can read up on how to find an extra $1,000 in 30 days. It’s time to try to do something productive so that we don’t just complain about being bored.
What can you do with all of your free time to get ahead during this crisis?
Learn/work on a new skill that you’ve been putting off.
Have you been trying to find the time to learn a new skill? How’s that guitar doing in your closet? Could you dust off your chess board? Have you put off those salsa lessons?
This is the best time ever to distract ourselves by trying to learn new skills. Everything is out there on this thing called YouTube.
Here’s how you can work on that skill:
- Decide what you want to work on so that you don’t get bored. There has to be something that you’ve been slacking off on. I’ve been putting off a few things.
- Look up experts on social media and different platforms. A few quick Google searches will point you in the right direction. There’s likely a few experts who are creating content daily on what interests you.
- Find a bunch of free tutorial videos. Between YouTube and Instagram, you can find enough free lessons to get you started in pretty much everything. I learned how to parallel park and cook over easy eggs on YouTube when I was a teenager. YouTube has everything from salsa lessons to language lessons to anything that you could imagine.
- Devote a little bit of time everyday to this skill. You’re still obviously going to have to work and watch some shows. You just don’t want every waking moment to be spent on the news or reality shows.
- Compete. Can you get a little competitive? Do you have any friends that you can challenge? I’ve been trying to have more conversations in Polish and Spanish on social media. I’ve been challenging friends to see who can do more pushups (no those corny 10 pushup challenges). I’ve also started playing chess again to get my mind going.
The next few weeks or few months could be the first time in our lives where we’re forced to get really creative to stay calm and busy at home.
Here are a few resources for learning something new:
- Yale has free courses.
- Harvard offers free courses.
- Coursera is offering all kinds of free programs.
- Fender is offering free guitar lessons on a trial basis.
- You can learn code with Bubble.
- Many other colleges are offering free programs. Look around to see what courses are available.
There’s enough free information out there. You can also invest a few bucks if you’re able to into paid courses with content creators who you follow. I’ll be launching my course on Airbnb Experiences when this all blows over.
Read books or listen to audiobooks.
Most people say that they don’t have time to read. We finally have that time available to us now.
Why should you read?
- You can do it anywhere.
- Someone spent thousands of dollars and hours to write something that costs you $20.
- You can learn from others.
- Anything that you could possibly want to do has already been done.
- Get some ideas.
- Kill time without another absurd reality show about tigers.
What are the best types of books to read?
- Practical business stuff.
- Books that will change your entire perspective.
- Biographies of successful people.
- Fiction to help you sleep better.
You can load up a few books on your phone this evening to have something to do. I don’t even buy physical books anymore. I have everything on my phone/tablet. Check out my list of 5 books that changed my life.
Work on creating something.
What can you offer the world? Do you want to have your own product? Can you start that YouTube channel?
Life always gets in the way. Now you have the time to see if you have what it takes to finally create something.
There are many great examples of products you can create:
- YouTube show.
- Instagram page.
- Blog (read my guide to starting a blog).
You really need to have your own product. The world needs entertainment and distractions more than ever. It’s your chance to offer that. There has to be something that you’re an expert in.
If you want a good laugh, I just created an entire course on Airbnb Experiences that was set to launch the same day that all experiences were paused. In good news, you can apply to host an Airbnb Experience so that you have a side hustle waiting for you when this is all over.
Make some money by creating an income stream.
“I don’t have enough time to try to start a business.”
That’s the most common excuse that I would hear from friends who wanted to start an online business. They would tell me how they didn’t have any time. Now most of us have all of the time in the world. It’s fun to talk about entrepreneurship and making money. You eventually have to make things happen. Now’s the time to step up to increase your income.
I’m going to be reviewing more income sources over the next few weeks to help you guys find ways to bring in some money while stuck at home.
Check out App Jobs. They offer part-time/freelance work in Canada. You can do anything from food delivery services to teaching English online.
Here’s how you can start making money today with my exact tips:
- The exact steps to getting paid as a writer.
- How to make money off social media.
- How you can make money online.
- How-to find freelancing experience.
Learn a language.
How many languages do you speak? Have you thought about learning a language?
For the record, learning a new language is really humbling and frustrating. I’ve been using this time to try to read more in Polish and to work on my Spanish skills.
Here are options for making language learning easier:
- Duolingo. This app gives you free language lessons.
- YouTube tutorials. I found the Butterfly Spanish channel and they have some amazing lessons on there.
- 123 Teach Me.
- Babbel is offering introductory rates for their language learning.
- Look up language learning options online.
The cool thing about this stressful time period is seeing how creative some folks have become. I’ve seen gyms pivot to online based workouts. I’ve seen coffee shops offer take out and delivery services. This is the time to see what you’re capable of when your back’s against the wall.
Here are some bonus ideas that you guys suggested while I was putting the final touches on this article:
- Try one of the million home workouts being offered. The Fit Factory in Toronto is offering daily workouts on Instagram live. Chris Hemsworth is giving free workout lessons away. There are live workouts happening all over social media. Get moving.
- Try a yoga class. Many yoga instructors are offering free sessions. Follow me on Instagram where I’ll be sharing whatever free classes I can find.
- Make content strategy plans. What kind of content can you create when this is over?
- My friend Michelle is writing books and cleaning in between glasses of champagne.
- Baking and cooking. Some of you guys are testing out new recipes during this time.
- Home improvement projects.
- Listening to audiobooks from the library.
- Spending time with family.
I’m working on my terrible habit of reading doom and gloom information before bed. I’m trying to avoid the news before bed since it only makes me feel anxious. I’m trying to make the most out of this free time. If there’s one thing that this period in time will teach us is that we should never put things off. Most of us would do anything to be able to meet a friend for a coffee or to go on a trip somewhere.
How are you keeping busy?