How to Use Your Extra Time

September 22, 2020

COVID-19 has changed the way a lot of us live our lives: without bars, concerts, friends, travelling, or large gatherings, how are we spending our extra time?

By no means is it necessary to fill your every waking hour with activities, but for those who wish to take on some personal or professional development projects, we’ve got some suggestions!

1. Home projects

Whether you’ve been meaning to install new cabinets in the kitchen, saw a cool craft on Facebook that you’d like to try your hand at creating, or you just really want to learn how to bake croissants from scratch, now is the perfect time to tackle some of these projects.

No matter what type of project you have in mind, successfully finishing a big task will set you in the right frame of mind to get through these strange times. Not only will you feel accomplished in your personal life, but these personal wins will help push you to do your best in your professional life as well.

2. Online courses

Now is a great time to take an online course. Maybe you’ve always been interested in graphic design, data analysis, software development, or any number of other careers, but you just haven’t had the time to really dive deep into those subjects. Well with this time, look into available free or paid courses to help you get there and prepare for your next career move. If you’re looking to make that career move within your current company, ask your manager if your company would be willing to pay for your classes!

For some great free learning resources, check out this new initiative launched by LinkedIn, Microsoft, and GitHub.

3. Reflect, refocus, and recenter

All this time in solitude can do a person some good! Use this time to learn how to meditate, do yoga, or whatever activity that allows you to bring some extra (probably much needed!) calmness to your life. Reflect on your values, your life, your relationships, your career—really anything and everything you can think of—and appreciate everything that has shaped the incredible person that you are.

Things are difficult for everybody right now, yet the changes that COVID-19 have brought to our lives are different for every one of us. No matter what challenges you’re facing, permitting yourself time to think (but not dwell) will only help you find the way through.

4. Learn another language

The existence of the internet has made learning another language so accessible! If you’ve always wanted to learn French, or had vacation plans to Japan that you had to postpone, you can use this extra time to do a little DuoLingo and pick up a few phrases! Or if you want to be super ambitious, try to get fluent in a new language. That’ll be something amazing and new for your resume!

5. Think about the future

We might not know what the world’s going to look like in six months, but you can use this time to figure out what you want your life to look like in the next two years, 5 years, or 10 years. Think about your personal and professional goals—do you want to live in Australia this time next year? Do you want to change careers in the next couple of years? Do you want to have kids by the time you’re 30? Do you want to start your own business while you’re currently out of work?

Use this time to do some life mapping—identify the steps you need to take to reach your goals, whatever they may be. While it takes some luck to accomplish your goals, it takes a whole lot more of planning and strategizing to even get close.

These last few months have gone by in a hurry, with every day feeling a little more like “Blur-sday” than the last. If you’re feeling a little aimless in these strange times, know that you’re not alone. Who knows how many more Blursdays we’ll have until things go back to normal? All we know is that when you have something to tangible to work on, everything feels a little more manageable.