15 of the most productive ways to pass your time at home

Find out how you can maximise your time at home with these 15 creative suggestions for things to do. It's not just about self improvement, but also self enjoyment! Read more at '15 of the most productive ways to pass the time at home' posted at stayathomestraggler.com.

A few years ago, when I had my first stay at home experience, I was completely stressed out and frustrated. I felt an extreme urgency to fill my day with as many tasks as possible. I also reached out to several employers looking for work and ended up with four jobs, none of which I particularly enjoyed or needed to be doing.

Looking back on those days, and how my life has taken shape since, I’ve come to embrace the stay at home lifestyle as the perfect opportunity to take stock and decide what I really want to do with my time. What activities make me feel good? What kind of routine will keep me energised and motivated? What do I actually want to achieve?

If you’re thinking, ‘why not just do the same stuff you do on the weekend?’ let me tell you…this gets old pretty fast, especially when everyone you know is stuck at work. As good as it might sound to be job-free with endless time on your hands, it really does get a bit monotonous and inspiration to do something outside your usual realm of thinking can be difficult to come by.

It takes a while to find the perfect balance between doing something, and doing everything, as well as finding a sense of purpose in the way you fill your time at home.

With that, I give you my list of the most productive ways to pass the time at home, based partly on my own experience but also what i’ve seen work for others.


What did you do to save the world today. Read more about '15 of the most productive ways to pass your time at home' at stayathomestraggler.com
Just kidding…no pressure…

15 of the most productive ways to pass your time at home


  • Learn something new

With the multitude of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available these days, you can study almost anything from the comfort of your own home. There are courses ranging from positive psychology to computer programming and, my personal favourite – song writing. Despite the fact that I have no singing talent whatsoever, I’m totally intrigued! The point is, there really is something for everybody, and it costs you nothing to apply.
While you’re between jobs is the perfect opportunity to learn how to write a song, brush up on your ancient history, or pick up a new skill that might come in handy someday.
If you don’t know where to start, here are three of my go-to MOOC platforms:
  • Coursera is my favourite MOOC platform. I’ve done some excellent courses on Coursera including Positive psychology, effective negotiation and even learning Russian.
  • Future learn, ideal for business oriented minds and professionals
  • EdX

Of course, MOOCs are not the only way to learn a new skill from home…let’s not forget about YouTube! Highly recommended if you want to learn a new instrument. Last year when I decided to learn the ukulele, I was completely blown away by the sheer number of instructional videos dedicated to this humble little instrument. I bet YouTube covers pretty much any instrument you can think of.

For those that crave a more traditional experience, along with some people contact, you could always check out what’s available around your community or local university. All it takes is a quick google search on your topic of interest. 


  • Join a group, or start one yourself

A lot happens online these days, including social interaction. In fact, whenever we move to a new city, one of the first things we do is join as many Facebook groups as we can. But you don’t have to be new in town to join a Facebook group!

In Georgia for example, you can find online groups for yoga, running, language exchange, book clubs and even groups for puppy lovers. Depending on the group, they usually consist of a good mix of locals and expats and are a great way to meet like-minded people. Of course, there are groups that exist offline too, but checking out Facebook is a good place to start. If you can’t find the group you’re looking for, why not consider starting one yourself?


  • Volunteer with a local charity

Although I’ve never had a chance to do this myself, I can’t think of any more rewarding way to pass the time than giving back to your community. Volunteer opportunities are not always easy to find, and they do take a bit of asking around or searching online, but there’s always a charity, local business or aid organisation that would gladly accept additional support. Check out your local Red Cross, or community centre and go from there!


  • Pick up a craft

Knitting, jewellery making, wood work, painting, book making…the options are endless where creativity is concerned. What I love about DIY crafts is that they’re not only fun and engaging, but super useful as well. Need a new scarf for the winter? just knit one yourself, in exactly the style you need. Need a new coffee table? Why not have a go at building it, or refurbishing one you have already? You might even find yourself saving some cash, as well as saving time spent going shopping.

Bear in mind that it doesn’t have to be anything overtly visual that you’re creating. For example, soap making has been on my list of things to try for ages. Basically, anything that’s simple, fun to make and inevitably finds a useful place in your home, is well worth your time. You could even think about selling your products, which leads me to my next point…


  • Start a small business

Starting your own business can be incredibly rewarding…and let’s be honest, also incredibly time-consuming! But if you’re at home or between jobs, and there’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing or selling, now is the perfect time to give it a go. If you’re short on inspiration, I highly recommend you check out Side Hustle School to hear about people from all walks of life, and their incredible business success stories.


  • Start a blog, or just write something

I truly believe that everyone has some useful thoughts, ideas or stories to share with others.
Maybe you have a witty sense of humour or a special talent for writing stories? Maybe you prefer pictures over writing? A friend of mine draws some extraordinary cartoons to express what she’s feeling, and it always brings a smile to the faces around her. Whatever your writing style or subject of choice, there is definitely someone out there that’s interested to hear about it, and a blog is the perfect way to spread the joy.
If you’re somewhat introverted and just the thought of starting a blog sends you running for the hills, simply writing for yourself can also be a worthwhile endeavour. Expressive writing not only allows you to articulate your thoughts and feelings more clearly, it can also help you to remember things you’ve just learnt or simply help clear your mind of distractions (read more about the benefits here and here). You don’t have to write essays on a daily basis to reap the rewards either! Just a few words a day, or simply stating what you’re grateful for, is a good start.


  • Explore your inner chef

There really is nothing better than a good home-cooked meal, and there is definitely a certain pleasure to be had from crafting something delicious from scratch. Cooking can take up a lot of time, especially if you’re testing out a new recipe, so while you’re at home, why not take the opportunity to treat your family and/or friends and try something new in the kitchen?
You can experiment with ingredients you’ve never tried before, or test a new recipe each day. I personally like to go on a cooking spree every so often, until i’ve refreshed my memory bank of recipes and have some new meals to put on rotation. It doesn’t even have to be main stream kitchen cooking. You can do some amazing things with a barbecue or wood fire (but please use fire responsibly!).


  • Share your knowledge

This is especially applicable for those who possess a specific skill or speak a foreign language. Consider teaching online, through a school or giving face to face lessons with private tutoring. In my endeavour to learn Russian, I personally tried all of the above and found online Skype lessons to be the most useful. They were flexible on timing, easier to share notes and I didn’t have to worry about changing out of my pyjamas.
If you are particularly photogenic, you could consider starting up your own website, YouTube channel or Podcast. I also recently discovered Skillshare, which is definitely worth looking into. Last year while in Iran I loved listening to ‘Chai and Conversation‘. Despite only picking up the very basics of Persian language, I couldn’t help but think it was a great idea!


  • Start a garden

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a green thumb to manage a healthy garden. All you need is the will, a bit of patience and maybe a few good books (or Google) to make sure you’re on the right track.
We had our most successful gardening attempt a couple of years ago, during our last stint in Georgia. We’d never had a proper garden before, but we still managed to grow a heap of basil, oregano, parsley and whatever else we could find seedlings for in the nursery. We grew everything in big, metal pots on our balcony. It just goes to show you don’t need a lot of space, or even a proper ‘patch’ to grow things. Urban gardens are all the rage these days.

Our urban potted garden in Georgia. Gardening is just one of the many ways you can pass your time at home, read more at stayathomestraggler.com '15 of the most productive ways to pass your time at home'
One of our Urban Garden pots in Georgia, here we’re growing strawberries (I think!)
If gardening is something you’d love to try but have no skills whatsoever, you can often find urban or community gardens that accept volunteers. The best way to learn is to dig in and get your hands dirty.


  • Learn a language

Learning a new language can be difficult, and time-consuming. Being at home, with ample head space is the perfect opportunity to get stuck into a language you’ve been meaning to learn for ages. Although they say immersion is the best way to learn, I can safely say I’ve had some success with both French and Russian languages through a combination of group classes, online courses, Skype as well as face to face lessons.
Think about what might work best for you and give it a go. Don’t forget to search for language exchange groups in your area as well!


  • Organise your life

Stop. Take a look around. Do you feel a bit…stifled…? Do you have ‘stuff’ all over the place? That extra time at home is the perfect opportunity to de-clutter and reorganise your life. Think wardrobe, kitchen cupboards, fridge…even the bathroom toiletries can be reorganised to make life easier. Try to throw out or give away all the stuff you don’t use or need anymore. Breathe easier!
I recommend reading this and this for some more comprehensive ideas on how to go about de-cluttering your home.


  • Experiment with your diet

Paying attention to nutrition can take a lot of time and effort, especially if it’s something new in your life. So why not take the opportunity to kick-start a healthy eating program or that new diet you’ve always wanted to try? Perhaps you’ve been wanting to cut sugar? Or you suspect dairy products are making you bloated?
Start now. Take note of all the items you want to eliminate from your diet and start by avoiding them for at least one week. Keep in mind that everyone is different and no one diet works for everyone. If you have extra time to spare, try keeping a food journal and recording how you feel after every meal. This can help you identify what foods, and ultimately what diet will work best for you.


  • Try a new workout, or exercise program

Now that you’ve changed your diet, maybe you have more energy to spare and are keen to start a new workout program or switch up you told one?
Take the extra time at home to join a gym and focus on a program that meets your health and fitness goals. One of the best things about being able to go to the gym at anytime of day is that you can avoid the rush hour and have your pick of equipment.
If the gym is not your thing, why not join a sports team instead? It’s also a great way to meet new people while doing something good for your health at the same time.


  • Meditate

The benefits of meditation are well documented, and although it might seem like a bit of a time-wasting activity at first (it certainly did for me!), the benefits can be extraordinary.
I am no meditation master, but i still make an effort to incorporate at least 10 minutes into my morning routine. Over the past few years, I’ve found meditation has helped me reduce stress, get better sleep, keep calm and carry on…just kidding! It definitely has helped me stay calmer, but most of all I feel more focused than ever.
If meditation is something you’ve never tried or are thinking about trying, I strongly encourage you to give it a go. Every experience is different and you never know what you will discover. I leave you with my favourite quote from Andy Puddicombe, the founder of Headspace:
“To know the mind, is to know oneself. To know oneself is to discover a place of quiet confidence within. To know this confidence is to be able to fearlessly express our potential in life”


  • Be your own best friend

Ok, so this one’s not the most productive, but seeing as you have time to spare, why not do something nice for yourself? Something to boost your mood and make you feel good? For example, go for a long walk, do your nails, take a long bath…it doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant, but once in a while, taking the time to indulge in making yourself feel good is well worth it!
I hope you’ve found some inspiration for your next home activity! Of course if you just feel like reading a book or hanging out at your local cafe, that’s OK too.

What are some other productive ways you’ve found to pass the time at home? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

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