7 ways to stay productive while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s pretty easy to get distracted right now with all the COVID-19 pandemic news.

With many of us working from home, or stuck in the house without employment, because we’re being responsible and social distancing, it can be really difficult to stay productive.

We may find ourselves scrolling through social media, watching Netflix, or mindlessly staring into space and wondering if it’s cocktail hour yet (spoiler: probably not). But there are other ways to spend this time.

Here are seven ways to stay productive while staying home.


We all have that drawer in our home that has a selection of batteries that may or may not work, tangled cords, expired credit cards, mail we didn’t know what to do with, and candles, right? (Some of us have 11 of these drawers). Declutter that drawer. Go through your old clothes. Do the spring cleaning early. When things are less cluttered, most of us feel less anxiety and are able to think more clearly, which in turn makes us more productive.

Turn off distractions

It’s hard, I know. The kids are home, social media is calling, and you really want to know about the latest news developments. But, if you are lucky enough to still have a job, focus on it. Your employer is worried too and doesn’t need you to lose focus or slack off right now.

Update your LinkedIn

If you are unemployed, and even if you’re not, you might as well stay on top of things. Particularly if you work in a sector that is vulnerable to global occurrences and market fluctuations (so, all of us, basically), because you might find yourself looking for work sooner than you had anticipated. Dust off that LinkedIn profile and really make it pop. And start posting updates and writing articles. What else do you have to do?

Update your resume

See above. When was the last time you updated your resume? A friend of mine lost her job this week, just days after increased safety measures were implemented in Canada. If businesses are closing, people will be losing their jobs. It is going to be tough. All we can really recommend at this point is that you get prepared. Create the best resume you possibly can, just in case. If it turns out that you don’t need it this time around, you will have it ready for when you do need to look for a new job.

Get some exercise

At this point your evening run may be the only time you’re getting out of the house, so don’t skip it. We talked recently about how both nature exposure and exercise can help lower anxiety levels. It can also alleviate depression, decrease stress, and make you more productive. You’ll feel better, have a clearer head, and be ready to take on new challenges.

Add to your skillset

You probably have time to learn to code or learn a whole other language before this thing is over. And how awesome would those things look on your resume? You can also just take a course for the sake of learning something new. The options out there are genuinely staggering. At this link, for example, are 450 Ivy League courses you can take online right now for free. The list includes courses from Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania. Subject matter ranges from Data Science to Humanities to Health & Medicine to Engineering and more. If nothing there interests you there, keep looking. Maybe you’ll be interested in the free virtual cooking classes being offered by Michelin starred chef, Massimo Bottura. It’s kind of amazing what is out there. You can totally come out of this thing way smarter than when you went in.


Read books, read articles, just read. When you know it’s time to step away from the TV, turn to the printed page instead. Is there a book you can learn from, or just something you’ve always wanted to read? Read it!

Keep looking for jobs

Scroll job boards and keep your eye out for positions that interest you. Hiring may have slowed for the time being but it will, presumably, pick up again. If you’re on the hunt for a job, keep watching what is out there and applying for positions that suit you. The world is going to go on. Let’s hope we’ve all got work when it does.

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