ANDREW HARTLEY

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10 things to keep you busy during isolation

My last post about this waste of space virus and isolation received a much better response than I could’ve imagined and due to that, here I am again. On this one I’m gonna be listing out some specific activities that can keep you busy and take you away from things like 24/7 news, Netflix and most importantly, social media.


Now, for most of us, the last month or so has been extremely difficult due to many reasons including health concerns, family issues, job uncertainty, financial difficulties and much more. As well as this, a lot of people, myself included, have either been placed on furlough, been laid off or have taken voluntary unpaid leave. This has left many people stuck at home for the foreseeable future while we work through this lockdown that looms above us all.


As we all know, Boris and co have just announced an extension of the lockdown which means we are gonna get at least 3 more weeks of the damn thing. So! We’re all gonna need stuff to do to keep us entertained or we’re gonna go crazy from boredom. Personally, time since the isolation began has flown by for me because I’ve sorted myself a routine, mainly consisting of the activities I’m about to recommend. I’m hoping that at least one activity on the list can help one person pass some time or even create a hobby for one of you once things return to normality.


I’m actually gonna shut up and get to the point now anyway…


So without further ado, here are 10 things that can keep you busy during isolation


1. Skillshare


This is a site that I’ve only just discovered since lockdown began, thankfully it was sent my way by a friend and I honestly think it is perfect for current circumstances. Why? Because if you’re struggling to find what your hidden talent is or if you want to develop your skills in a specific area then you should look no further. It has thousands of workshops and video tutorials on many different subjects, ranging from creative writing to graphic design or from entrepreneurship to photography.


These workshops are catered for all different skill levels too, if you’re just starting out and are completely new to an area or if you’ve been doing something for years but just want to see what other experienced creators are doing. I reckon its definitely worth checking out, it’s passed hours for me already and I’ve only had it for two weeks. You can sign up to a free 2 month premium trial which gives you access to all workshops and videos on the site, so you’ve got nothing to lose by checking it out. In my opinion, its the best place to start!

https://www.skillshare.com/home

Free trial sign up link - https://www.skillshare.com/signup



2. Duolingo


Why not learn another language while you have the time? Duolingo is probably one of the easiest ways you’ll be able to do it as well. Its just a free download from the app store (or google play store whichever phone you have) and you only really need to use it for 5/10 minutes per day. To be honest, I’ve always found it really difficult learning new languages but this is one of the most digestible ways of learning that I’ve seen and used in my time. Lessons are more like mini-games and you’re rewarded for completing them with gems, which in turn can unlock more levels and so on. Like I say, it feels more like a game than a lesson so at first you may use it for only 5 minutes but after a while you’ll see it taking up an hour of your day. Again, what can you lose by giving it a go?

https://www.duolingo.com/register



3. CV/Professional Profile


Now for a lot of people this is one of the most gruelling and boring tasks of them all, but it has to be done at some point! What better time than now to get your CV or LinkedIn profile up to date. There are many people that may not have even heard of LinkedIn but right now could be a good time to start a profile. For those who’ve never heard of it, it’s basically a professional version of facebook where you can find new jobs, connect with employers and showcase your skills and experience.


If none of that tickles your fancy then maybe you could start your own site or blog? Get your interests and passions down on a personal page and share them with the world. All of this adds to your professional profile and will interest any future employers that might be looking into you during a job application process. If this sounds interesting at all then check out the links below for CV help and templates, LinkedIn and blog sign up pages.

Canva Pro (30 day free trial) - https://www.canva.com/pro/

CVDesignR - https://cvdesignr.com/en

LinkedIn - https://uk.linkedin.com/

Wix - https://www.wix.com/

Wordpress - https://wordpress.com/



4. Home Workouts


For anyone that wants to keep active, the internet is an ideal place right now. Free home workout apps, videos and pages have never been more available to the public. Whether you’re already a fitness freak, you’re looking to build fitness up or you’re a complete beginner, there is something out there for everyone. The four links below are genuinely just a drop in the ocean as there are thousands of great exercise apps, videos or pages out there, you literally just need to google it.

Nike Training Club - https://www.nike.com/gb/ntc-app

The Training Manual - https://www.instagram.com/thetrainingmanual/

British Heart Foundation Workouts - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5YX5xg8Seg&t=3s

Joe Wicks (The Body Coach TV) - https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1



5. Outside Exercise


This one is pretty self explanatory but there are plenty of ways to do it. It could come in the form of a simple walk, a long run or even dusting the cobwebs off the old bike that's been sitting there for ages and taking it for a ride out. With the weather being so beautiful lately it’d be a massive shame to put it to waste by staying in all day, try to use your daily form of exercise effectively, you definitely won’t regret it! These apps below will help you track your progress and let you see what you’ve achieved, even if it’s a small walk, you’ve 100% still achieved something. Plus, the fresh air does a lot of good for your head, especially at times like this.

Nike Run Club - https://www.nike.com/gb/nrc-app

Under Armour (Track my ride) - https://apps.apple.com/us/app/map-my-ride-by-under-armour/id292223170

Strava - https://www.strava.com/



6. Professional Courses (Free with certification)


This one isn’t for everyone, it is probably more for the more marketing, sales or analytics driven people who might be reading this post. However, don’t let that stop you from reading if you want to learn more about these industries. There are plenty of free courses out there from organisations including Google, Facebook and Twitter, some of them even offer exams with official certification at the end if you pass. That can’t do any harm at all to your CV and professional profile, if this does interest you then check the links below. I’ve included one from hubspot that entails the links to 60 different online courses that you might want to sink your teeth into.


Hubspot - https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/free-online-courses

Google Analytics - https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/

Facebook Blueprint - https://www.facebook.com/blueprint

Coursera (Sales Training) - https://www.coursera.org/specializations/the-art-of-sales-mastering-the-selling-process



7. Reading/Writing/Drawing


Well, I 100% don’t need to put a link at the bottom of this one because as you know, all you’re gonna need is paper and a pen or pencil. Even if its just getting your thoughts down on a page or doodling some cartoon characters it passes some time, more time than you’ll probably realise. If drawing or writing doesn’t suit your needs then maybe pick up a book or a magazine and get lost in that? If there aren’t any already in your house then maybe order some from Amazon or eBay, there are thousands at really low prices. Or better still, see if any of your local bookstores are trading online and support them and buy from there. Reading/writing/drawing can become really addictive if you find the right subject, project or book for you.



8. Quiz Nights


I’ve seen this become a massive thing in group chats, workplaces and even my own household! It is definitely a good pass time, good fun and very competitive depending on who you’re playing with. I’ve put some links under for good YouTube channels for quizzes but if you want to do it yourself then there are plenty of sites that can help you source some questions. Suggest it to your work colleagues on your next Zoom meeting, ask your family or flatmates if they want to do it or just start one in the group chat. Trust me, if you do it once a week, it becomes something to look forward to.

https://readwrite.com/2019/10/08/why-you-love-online-quizzes/

Virtual Pub Quiz - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLcSqjJWHJeDWD_SbdorBRw

Jeremy Clarkson’s Pub Quiz - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFpF4jPfnpo

Pub Quiz Questions - https://inews.co.uk/light-relief/quizzes/pub-quiz-questions-answers-general-knowldge-music-film-sport-trivia-lockdown-virtual-quizzes-2540985



9. Digital Clean Up


It has to be done at some point right? Everyone is obsessed with cleaning their room or house or the loft but everyone forgets to clear space on their phones, laptops and tablets. The amount of old pictures you can find is surprising, I did a clear out recently and found so many great memories. So try it yourself, even if you find something like an old CV or an essay from college, it’ll cast your mind back to that time. Who knows? You might even find some unfinished projects that you want to get back into or it could spark some motivation to continue some studies you abandoned a while back.



10. Video Calling

In my opinion, this is possibly the most important one of the ten, at times like this it is easy to feel isolated because it is literally what we’re doing. Video calling friends and family might not only help yourself but it could make their day too. I’ve found it fun calling people I haven’t spoken to in a while too, it gives you a lot to talk about and it provides many memories to reminisce over. It is never a bad thing to check in on your loved ones and it certainly isn’t a bad thing to call them, even if its just to rant about your own frustrations, we’re all in the same boat at the moment so they will 100% understand.


Maybe none of these activities interest you at all? If so, then try checking what needs doing around the house, could you be sorting out the loft? Having a spring clean? Sorting through old memories? Forgive me if I’m pointing out the obvious but I know from experience that when you’re bored of being bored, the mind can find it very tough at finding stuff to do, even when there are things right in front of your face that need doing.


Anyway! I have to apologise if you’ve already tried all of these productive pastimes or whatever you want to call them. If you have tried them all then I have totally just wasted your time but if I’ve helped at least one person then I am not sorry whatsoever. The major point of all of this is that there is always something that you can be doing and it doesn’t have to be just Netflix and Instagram all of the time. Of course you do need to chill with that stuff sometimes but too much of it can be bad for your head and its easy to fall into the trap of being unproductive.


So, that's a wrap! Try to stay positive and look forward to the future, it may seem like it sometimes but it ain’t all doom and gloom and normality will return soon.


Ciao for now!


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