10 Ways You Can Be Productive During Quarantine

Lifestyle

It's no secret, COVID19 has changed our lives in so many ways, and dramatically changed school and work experiences. When normally we would spend up to 8 hours getting to, being in, and coming home from school, we are stuck indoors with little to no extra activity.

Or so we think. There are countless opportunities to busy yourself whilst being productive, and even ways to help your community!

While some people enjoy watching T.V. or movies to kick back and relax after schoolwork is complete (which is perfectly understandable), many of us still have curiosities, needs and motivations for learning to be fulfilled. So, for those of type 'B' personality, I'm here with activities that you can do to stay on top of your grind at home!

1. Take Up A Research Project

Yes, with school, another bombardment of information could be a load of unnecessary work for a few, however taking interest in a topic close to your heart can motivate you to learn more, and link it to what has been learnt at school. On top of the knowledge schools provide and what curriculums focus on, general knowledge about the world around you is vital for teenagers, especially when deciding what path to take in the future.

If you have a vague idea of a career path you may want to take, try to look up research papers and projects of those in university. Diverse topics are touched and shared on these sites, and while I would never suggest stealing an idea, scrolling through these articles and writing pieces can lead into a surge of ideas within a niche that you may commence research on.

2. Plan A Holiday/Vacation (for post-COVID of course)

Personally, I have always loved travel, and during this pandemic I've found myself looking at places to visit, experiences to have, and revisiting the memories of the locations that I was lucky enough to visit when I was younger.

For some of you looking to plan a trip, this could simply consist of a small road trip with friends in your state/country. Alternatively, others many be interested in a trip to a completely exotic, different place; maybe occasionally exaggerating in price — it is sometimes a challenge to pick hotels with anything lower than 5 stars.

Not only does planning a vacation challenge the organization skills, it can give you inspiration, and teach you incredible things about the history and geography of these places. There will never be too little places to go. Plus, as soon as the world goes back to normal and travel is available and affordable, you have a plan!

3. Redecorate (or plan to) your room

Spending money on dozens of decorations is not your aim here; switch things around, add things that you have kept in the cupboards since you bought them, create some interesting DIY decorations — there are countless YouTube channels for things like this, and on platforms such as Pinterest and Tumblr, there are often super short clips for ideas and tutorials!

Pinterest also always has tons of inspiration in regard to aesthetic themes for your room!

If you start there, I can guarantee you'll come out the other side with many simple but effective ideas to make your room an incredibly warm and inviting place for your studies! Considering, this year, we (generally) spend more time in our rooms now more than ever, why not make it more beautiful and suited to you? On the plus side, you'll have a killer background for your Zoom calls!

4. Get a Green Thumb

This can both reduce your carbon footprint and allow you to soak in all the vitamin D you need, all at one time!

Stepping outside and making a garden of flowers or (to be more useful) vegetables and herbs! It also consists of taking initiative to care for plants, remembering to water them and manage their growth. This additionally replaces some plastic packaging that you may have obtained by visiting a general supermarket for fresh fruit and vegetable produce.

Things that I recommend growing:

  • Chillies (if this isn't for you, you could always grow them and give them out to people who are interested!)
  • Herbs such as parsley, rosemary and/or basil (to spice up meals and add some greens!)
  • Tomatoes of any variety (can turn out super tasty!)
  • For a challenge, strawberries are fun to grow. It was something I did with my family when I was younger, and I recall that it was always amazing to wake up and find bright red fruits in the morning!

5. Write a Story (or a few...)

Writing is such a diverse creative activity, and no matter the genre or style you aim for, there are no limits. A simple poetry line a day can build into a beautiful story for you to look over, read and reflect on. Not only this, after a year of writing every single day, the ease I now feel when writing is something I can assure you is entirely worth it, especially with school essays and reports to write. There are some really great websites such as this for story prompts, not to mention Pinterest and Tumblr which have countless ideas and starters for when you're staring at a blank page.

Some web pages I recommend for story prompts are:

  • This site has over 400 short prompts for a variety of genres
  • Reedsy Prompts has live, and constant prompts and also provides a competition! You can win 50 dollars if you select and submit a short story inspired by 1 of 5 weekly prompts!
  • Writer's Digest is great for various reasons, and their site is worth a scroll through if you have time and are interested in writing as a career or hobby. This link is only to their prompts page, however the navigation bar will take you to other pages.

Reflecting upon a moment of your life through writing is incredibly rewarding and valuable to comprehend and express your feelings, many just write it all down, and it's like the page absorbs it as if you're speaking with someone. So, whip out your laptop, phone, tablet, notebook — any device of your choice — and scribble away!

6. Discover Online Competitions That Suit Your Interests

One of the best options to challenge yourself in a field that you enjoy! Whether that be photography, science, mathematics, English, technology or the arts, I can guarantee there is a competition out there for you!

For those still in high school, a site I really recommend is Crimson Education. While they help with admission to universities, they have a site which allows you to enter your city and area in, plus a key word, and a list of extracurricular activities/competitions pop up for you to enter or try! And while you're at it, you may find a mixture of your field of choice and another!

Just be aware that some competitions may require an entry fee, but also remember the options for prizes at the end! You can use these as an opportunity to extend yourself in something you love to do, or something you've always wanted to try but never quite had the incentive to do so! It's also a great chance for you to show yourself and your dedication towards what you love, and a great extra item to add to your schedule!

7. Change the Lives of Those In Need

I've heard plenty of stories of people, mainly teens, giving to the surrounding community. COVID19 has caused major changes for some people, and so many are stuck indoors as they may be of higher risk in regard to the virus itself.

Giving these people a hand (even if you've only spoken once, or never) can change their lives. In Australia, a young pair of best friends bought toilet paper (notorious for being unavailable in supermarkets at this time) for the elderly and others who are unable to travel outside for their groceries. This acknowledgement of a common struggle for many at this time brings a light-heartedness to the situation, and enhances the feeling of community.

Ideas for community service could include; packing up toiletries for those in need, writing letters to those in retirement homes, or making up some food packages (just remember to try to keep it uncontaminated or use packaging) and keep the health of those whom you are aiding as the top priority. For some inspiration, read Addyson and Lucy's story here.

8. Apprendre Une Nouvelle Langue (Learn a New Language!)

Learning languages opens up so many doors, and has so many benefits. To learn ways languages help your skills, watch this video. With that covered, let's talk about the awesome opportunities that language learning brings! Just for one example, after learning some Turkish for fun, I now am keen to visit one day, and to try all the foods and sense the culture. As a travel bug, this is very important to me, especially in the pandemic. I can plan for my hopes and dreams of travel — take a look at suggestion #2!

There are so many platforms where lessons are provided, Duolingo being both the most popular and well-known, and a great place to start. One might make jokes about the phrases it teaches you (for example, one of the first phrases I learnt in Russian was; “Dad, that is not my motor”), but Duolingo is great for learning how to listen, speak and comprehend the language! It is free, which means the lessons only reach a certain standard, but the site is certainly useful for basics and learning grammatical structures!

Another option which I used for a short while is Babbel — also an app you can download on your phone. It is free to download, however Babbel provides far less help for free and to get much out of it you need to pay. However, payment for this course is significantly beneficial as lessons are directed at you compared to Duolingo which comprises mostly of practicing, and having to do the learning aspect on one's own.

9. Wipe the Slate Clean

This is your time to try something new! There are far too many things for me to list for this section, but I'll do a few, just to give you a taste.

Cook, bake, paint, sew, crochet, try some new type of sport! Exercise routines at home can be exceptionally fun, including Barre which I tried recently — I very highly recommend (It's a mix of ballet, pilates and yoga), cardio and more. Ultimately, I'll leave the imagination up to you, my friend, the opportunities are endless!

10. Write for The Teen Magazine!

The Teen Magazine is fun, collaborative, and great for all aspiring writers out there! It's free to apply, and no writers nor editors are paid, but the experience of working for an editorial organization is something all teens should do throughout their high school years, as for many who aspire to work in competitive industries — it's epic to have something like this under your sleeve.

Not to mention the great community here. If you are new to writing or editing articles, there are hundreds upon hundreds of writers at your aid in moments, and the editors are always friendly and supportive. So, why not give it a go? You can apply here!

In saying all of this, there is great value in taking time to yourself, for things like T.V. and movies. Your mental health is top priority, and sometimes adding things to your plate can make things more stressful, and during a global pandemic, it's also highly important to assess how much you can handle.

Self-care would be another activity I would suggest trying, it takes time out of your day to dedicate towards your wellbeing and mindfulness. Trying yoga or meditation can also have a serious effect on how you handle and navigate this busy life once again!

Allana Wessling
20k+ pageviews

Allana Wessling is an Australian high school student planning to enroll in a psychology or arts course after school. She is also highly interested in digital technologies, history, and fictional writing - she is currently co-writing an action-romance novel series focused on the themes of confidence, overcoming hardships and mental illness. Allana thoroughly enjoys spending her time with friends and family, writing tips and tricks for other authors, and reading anything and everything.