Especially if you had fun plans that were supposed to take place (like someone’s birthday…I’m ok… *sniff*… really…)
But the biggest reason that social isolation can be frustrating is something that most of us aren’t even realizing:
Being told to stay home and not go anywhere makes people feel like they aren’t in control of their lives.
(This is also why some people are buying toilet paper like this is Armageddon, it gives them something they can control!)
You see, we all like to be able to go and come as we please.
I don’t mind being home at all. In fact, I usually spend the majority of my time at the house because I’m a stay-at-home mom and I do my work at home, too.
But when someone tells me that I can’t leave… boy, do I get antsy!
So what if we could use our desire to be in control to our advantage?
Is there anything we could do in this situation that we could be in control of?
Actually, there is!
Not only that, but there are things we can do that will make our lives easier once everything gets back to normal.
In this post, we are going to talk about the productive things that you can do during this time at home that will have you looking back on the quarantine time with gratitude.
7 Productive Things to Do When You’re In Quarantine
Before we get started, we need to talk about our mindset.
How we think greatly affects our actions.
So if we go into this upset and frustrated, we will be less likely to follow through and do the things that will help us.
No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, try re-framing them to be more positive.
If you only tell yourself the negative things about being stuck at home, you will feel negatively towards this situation.
Instead, if you think about all the things that you can accomplish with this time at home, you will have a better attitude and be more likely to accomplish something during this time.
Every single item on this list will make your life so much more simple once the quarantine is over.
And even if you just do one of them, you will be doing a happy dance now, and in the future!
And if you prefer to watch instead of read… check out this video:
1) Create a Daily Rhythm
I highly recommend creating a Simple Block Schedule for your day. A Block Schedule will give you the predictability that you need to be productive, while giving you the flexibility that you need for when life gets crazy.
Be sure to check out Put Your Home on Autopilot if you want step-by-step instructions for creating all of your essential routines and making your entire day run smoothly! (Or you can just grab the workbook if you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of gal) 🙂
4) Start Meal Planning
It can be hard to find time to start meal planning when life is going at full speed.
But hey, life isn’t really normal right now!
Maybe you’ve tried Meal Planning in the past and it hasn’t worked for you…
Well I’ll let you in on a little secret: I tried meal planning for years and it didn’t work for me.
Yep, it’s true!
For my personality, weekly meal planning felt like too much work. I would spend all morning planning my meals on Sunday, then head to the store.
By the time I was done, I would be exhausted and didn’t feel at all like cooking, and I would dread having to do it all over again the following week.
So why am I suggesting you start meal planning?
Because I kept trying different strategies until it worked. And I am so glad I did!!
Now I spend less than 5 HOURS A YEAR meal planning! For real.
As we go about our everyday lives, we all wish that we could spend more time on the things that matter to us.
So wouldn’t it be disappointing if you look back on your time at home to mostly see that it was wasted?
Now is a perfect opportunity to set aside some time every day to work on something you have been wishing for and make it a reality. (Maybe you could use a specific block in your new block schedulefor personal development time… just an idea!)
Do you want to spend time working on an existing hobby?
Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn something new? Check out some relevant YouTube videos and see if you can find some basic instructions. Now just might be a great time to start that garden you always dreamed of having!
Do you have a business idea that you can’t get out of your head? Do some research on how to make your dream a reality.
Do you already have a side hustle that you would like to turn into a full-time income? Now is a great time to put extra work into it so that you will be ready when the economy picks back up.
7) Teach Your Children Something
So often life gets in the way of the truly important things.
When we are constantly going from one thing to another, it can be difficult to take the extra time to teach our children a new skill.
Even if it’s just taking the time to teach them a life skill like making their beds, getting dressed all by themselves, tying their shoes, or cooking breakfast.
And if they want to learn something that you don’t know how to do, see if YouTube can provide you with the basics to teach them.
7 Productivity Boosters When You Don’t Feel Like Being Productive
How many people say to themselves every night, “tomorrow I’m going to get up early and get things done!” They set an alarm with the intention to wake up and get started…only to snooze their alarm 47 times and sleep in later than they normally would have?
So how can you be productive when you don’t feel like it?
These 7 Productivity Boosters will get you in the mood to be productive, even when you’re feeling a lazy day coming on!
1) Make Your Bed
Don’t roll your eyes… I’m serious!
I know that this activity more than any other can seem like a waste of time. You’re only going to mess it up again later, right?
But making your bed is important, and not just because your mom told you to do it.
You see, when we do something productive and check something off our list, our brain receives a dopamine hit. And your brain likes dopamine hits.
Your brain is then happy and thinks “let’s go do more productive things, that felt great!”
So the simple act of making your bed will set you up for a more productive day.
That was easy!
2) Get Dressed
Getting dressed is another easy item that you can easily check off your list.
You will be much more likely to get things done if you are wearing jeans, than if you are wearing pajamas… even if you aren’t going anywhere.
I highly recommend adding getting dressed to your morning routine. When I added it to mine, I noticed a big difference in my productivity.
If your kids are old enough to help out but don’t pitch in with keeping the kitchen nice, assign everyone a certain plate, bowl, and silverware. It will be their’s to eat off of every meal, and if they don’t clean it off when they are finished with it, they will have to take care of it before they can eat the next meal.
It shouldn’t take long before they start rinsing their plates!
5) Keep Up With Your Laundry
Ok, so maybe there is one other thing that will take the productive feeling away faster than a dirty kitchen will… and that is having piles of laundry, either to wash or fold.
Laundry can get out of hand so quickly if you don’t stay on top of it.
So even though it may not feel like you need to keep up with it right now since your family is staying home, it is still a good idea to maintain a good laundry routine.
If you don’t have a laundry routine that works for you, check out How to Solve the Laundry Problem for my simple laundry routine and tips to make doing laundry easy.
6) Turn Off the Screens
I’ve always been really strict with screen time for my kids. (They are only allowed to FaceTime family (and now friends while we are in quarantine) and listen to music occasionally on YouTube.)
But Ross and I weren’t always so strict with ourselves once they went to bed. About 18 months ago, we decided to stop watching shows in the evenings… and boy did we have a lot more time to do productive things!
You see, we all think that we can multitask, but the fact is that no one can. When we try to do something productive while we watch something, we just do both things half-way.
If you really want to make the most out of your time, turn off the screens and get to work on something that matters!
7) Use Focus Blocks
Whether you are trying to get a project done or are trying to work from home with kids, focus blocks will help you be more productive.
Focus Blocks are blocks of time that you focus on a specific activity, During that time, you turn off all distractions. ]
I recommend using anything from 25- 90 minutes for your blocks.
If you are trying to accomplish something like decluttering your house, work on your task for the allotted time (set a timer if you need to) then when the time is up, switch to something else.
If you are trying to entertain young children while you are getting things done at home, rotate your focus blocks between your work and playing with your kids. It might help to give them something fun to do while you are working such as play doh or watercolors. Then, when your focus block is over, spend the next block doing something with them.
In the last couple weeks we went from knowing that there was some virus going on in China… to having it here, closing all recreational public gathering places, wondering where our next role of toilet paper was coming from, and mandatory quarantines in most major cities!
Because of all this, one of the big challenges people are facing right now is:
What am I supposed to do with my kids at home all day?
The first thing you’ll want to do is get a daily rhythm in place. I love using a Simple Block Schedule Routine that provides predictability and flexibility at the same time. Check out this post for a step-by-step guide for creating your own routine.
The second thing you’ll want to do during quarantine is to take advantage of having extra time at home with your family.
Create some memories that your kids will remember forever!
To get you started, I put together a list of our favorite screen-free activities that we are using to survive quarantine!
I’m going to divide this list into two parts: outdoor activities and indoor activities.
And if you prefer to watch content instead of reading it, check out this video:
Outdoor Quarantine Activities for Kids!
1) Play in the Backyard
We have always tried to get outside every day, but now more than ever I want to get the girls some fresh air after being cooped up in the house all the time.
Playing in the backyard doesn’t have to consist of organized activities or assistance from the parents, just put out some balls and bikes and let their imaginations run wild.
If you want to make sure that they stay outside for the longest amount of time possible, dress them for the weather.
We live in the Pacific Northwest and it is rainy here in the springtime… what a perfect time for the quarantine!
Not only are bubbles fun to look at, but running around popping bubbles gets out plenty of energy when you’ve been cooped up for a while!
5) Ride Bicycles
If you have a backyard, getting the bikes out is an easy way for kids to burn off some energy while you get things done… especially if you are trying to work from home!
Having more time at home is also a great opportunity to teach them to ride their bikes if they don’t already know how.
Maybe you’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to take off those training wheels and do the valedictory run behind the bike… Well, now that you don’t have the extra commute time every day, this is the perfect time!
If your kids are already proficient with riding and can ride longer distances, go on a walk (or a run) with them while they ride around the neighborhood.
6) Go for a Walk
Going on a walk is a great way to burn off some energy while getting fresh air. Walk around the neighborhood or go to a park to walk if your walking trails are open.
We have been bringing a garbage bag with us on our walks because our girls are little trash police. Last night, we filled an entire kitchen-sized garbage bag with trash before our walk was half over.
Why not take the opportunity to get some exercise and beautify the neighborhood!
7) Go on a Hike
You’ll want to check and see if hiking is allowed in your city or state before you go with the quarantines in affect.
But if you can hit the trail, I highly recommend it.
This is a great way to get your kids fresh air while giving the parents some exercise as well!
We love using our Burley D’Lite X double bike trailer that converts into a jogging stroller.
We can go on runs and bike rides that are much longer than the girls could do on their own strength. And they enjoy the ride as much as we enjoy getting the exercise!
9) Have a Backyard Picnic Together
When the weather was beautiful during the first part of the quarantine in our neck of the woods, we ate dinner in the backyard almost every night.
The girls thought it was such a treat, and it was a great way to get some extra time out of the house!
10) Go Sledding
When I showed my oldest daughter the YouTube video that I made along with this post she said, “You forgot to say sledding!”
I promised that I would add it to the post, so here it is!
Last weekend, we took the girls up to the mountains to a little sledding hill that we go to every year.
There were only about five families up on the hill that day and it was an amazing way to experience the outdoors, get some exercise, and get away from all the craziness around us.
Of course, be sure that your state’s/city’s social distancing mandates allow for sledding before you take your family. But for us, there was plenty of social distancing going on with so few people out on the mountain!
You can grab the Autopilot Workbook if you want to use the morning and evening routine checklists for kids!
3) Have a Virtual Play Date
Ok, so technically this one isn’t screen-free, but it’s really the only way to have a play-date or any type of social interaction with anyone outside of your immediate family right now, so I’m putting it on the list!
FaceTime or Skype your friends and family who are also in isolation right now.
If your kids are little, you can give them an activity that keeps them sitting during the call. Think a virtual tea party, a virtual spa day, a virtual watercolor party… you get the idea.
The kids enjoy seeing their friends, and it’s also nice to be able to talk with another mom who is navigating this time of being stuck at home.
The last time we had a virtual play date, my friend joked that this seemed like it was more for the moms than it was for the kids!
4) Do a Spa Day
My girls love getting their nails painted, but when life is at its craziest, we don’t usually have time to sit down and paint their nails.
But right now, we have some time!
Break out the nail polish and footbaths and treat your kids.
5) Have a Tea Party
If you have fancy tea cups, this is a great time to get them out and use them!
Let your children choose their tea (drop in some ice cubes if they are little), get out some special snacks, and have some meaningful conversations with your kids without any screens on!
6) Do Messy Indoor Activities
Messy indoor activities aren’t my favorite thing. Even as a kid I was never drawn to crafts because I thought it was too cluttered.
My kids did not inherit this trait. And normally I try to steer them away from the messy activities. But while we are cooped up, I figure, why not?!
Get out the watercolors, playdough, legos, puzzles, erector sets… and anything that will create a mess!
Let them make a mess… then let them help clean up afterward. 😉
7) Color With Your Kids
My girls love it when I sit down and color with them, but usually, I don’t have a lot of time to do that.
Take advantage of having extra time at home and start teaching them something!
10) Build a Fort
Building forts is a great way to spend quality time together.
Grab the blankets, or boxes, or both and teach them how to make an amazing fort, complete with rooms inside.
If you use boxes, grab the crayons (or watercolors if you are feeling brave) and let them paint their house.
Usually, after we build a fort, the girls will play independently with it for an hour or two so that we can get some work done!
11) Play Chase
I’ve never had a rule about not running in the house because some of my favorite childhood memories are of my dad playing epic games of tag-meets-hide-seek in the house.
If you normally have this rule, you might consider breaking it…just during quarantine. Let the kids get some energy out in the house, and you’ll be surprised how much fun you have if you play with them!
12) Cook Together
Cooking together is a great way to spend quality time with your kids, while also teaching them important life skills.
Even my younger daughter, who is only two, loves getting in on the action of measuring and pouring anything she can.
If you have older kids, start teaching them how to read recipes, how to cut vegetables, and how to use the stove.
13) Read Together
My girls and I have always read together before naps and at bedtime.
But during the quarantine, I am carving out even more time to sit and read with them.
If you are getting sick of reading the same books over and over again while being stuck at home, here are a few suggestions for you: