Corona Inc.: 30 Things to do while staying at home

Today, we wanted to share with you a list of things to do while on Corona lockdown, except for well the obvious thing – that is WRITE YOUR DISSERTATION. So without further ado, here’s a list of things to do other than that thing you should be doing. There are separate listings for different categories: Things to advance your career, things for self-care, etc.

15 “Productive” things to do

  1. Learn to code. For example at freeCodeCamp or check out this post with the LaTeX Ninja’s list of online learning resources. Read Quincy Larson’s Learn to Code From Home: The Coronavirus Quarantine Developer Skill Handbook.
  2. Start an Ultralearning project. If you ever wanted to take up an endeavour such as this, now is the time to do it.
  3. Start a 100 days of X challenge. 100 days of code is popular, but there’s also 100 days of dissertation and many more. Come up with your own. The rules are simple: For 100 days, spend at least one hour with your project. Never miss two days in a row. Some suggest to encourage and engage with fellow projecters via social media using the appropriate hashtags (recommendation is to reach out to 2 people daily).
  4. Do a “30 day trial”. I’m doing hangboarding right now. (Learn how to with Mani the Monkey, check out GeekClimber’s 30 day hangboard challenge, or the 1 month fingerboard with Andrew MacFarlane). Honestly, at least with fingerboarding, I found the results surprisingly good. I have only completed four days thus far and already need to adjust my training because I’ve progressed so much. I’m doing 4-6 sets of one minute intense trainings (7sec on, 3 off for 60s total, so 6x) with 1:30 min break in between.
  5. Do what you always do or should be doing, only with less distractions: do the bibliography, WRITE THE DISSERTATION, edit the dissertation, etc. (Check out this Scientist without a Lab graphic.)
  6. Take time to learn new software. I currently have a trial version of Adobe Creative Cloud because I always wanted to get familiar with those tools. Might come in handy to know them at some point (such as basic familiarity with the InDesign publishing / typesetting software).
  7. Learn how to visualize your data. Then go visualize your data.
  8. Finally take the time to learn LaTeX. Here are the resources you need to get started. Try it, it’s worth it and another skill which might come in handy on that CV at some point. By the way, why don’t you..
  9. Update your CV. Take the time to look up best practices in your field, look at job ads and reflect on how you could order your CV items that readers can imediately tell your key skills. Brainstorm what skills you might have that you never think about (such as LaTeX 😉 ) Think about strategic CV building: Where are the weaknesses in your CV? What are you lacking? What have you got more than enough of? Come up with a plan for the next year or adjust the one you already have accordingly.
  10. Read a academic career guide self-help book such as Karen Kelsky’s The Professor is in (our key-takeaways) or read her blog.
  11. Write a grant proposal. Did you have this great idea but never enough time to make it into a proposal? Now you have the time. Go for it.
  12. Read or download books. Many publishers have made their books available online for free during the crisis.
  13. Read some of the books you have at home but never got around to reading. I know you have them!
  14. Learn a language. Probably you already have one you had been wanting to work on but time is scarce, you know the drill. Now is the best time to pick that book back up or, if you haven’t started yet, download an app like Duolingo or go to 50languages.com to learn for free.
  15. Storm the MOOCs. Check out the well-known platforms like Udemy and Coursera but also maybe iMoox (such as Learn to code with PocketCode – it’s fun!), MoocHouse or OpenHPI. The DAI even has some archaeology-related classes (QGIS for example)!


15 Self-care things to do

  1. Keep up with friends and family (especially those from far away whom you haven’t been in touch with much lately) via social media or a video call. Write a long email to people you haven’t really been in touch with.
  2. Cook or bake. Try out a new recipe or take time to make an all-time favourite. Learn how to make something you didn’t know how to do until now.
  3. Take a bath or do a home-spa day. Check out this video on self-care tips.
  4. Learn a new skill. Such as learning to draw, learning to play an instrument. If you don’t have one at home, learn to sing. Start by making a list of (useful, fun or silly) skills you’ve always wanted to learn. Google how-tos. Get going. Make it your Ultralearning project maybe.
  5. Just “take a day off”. We know, it’s not a holiday and maybe you’d be better off using your time productively, but of course, you can also do some of the time-wasting things you never have enough time to do, such as: video gaming, social media, binge-watching series or even getting out that old DVD player again. I hear that Zombie virus movies are especially fun these days. Here are some more ideas.
  6. Make music, play an instrument, sing along with your favourite songs.
  7. Make art, draw, paint, you can come up with something arts-related I’m sure. Start your creative project now. Because don’t we all have this secret plan for a creative project we’ve always been wanting to start but never did?
  8. Stand up for a cause. You can do that online nowadays. Join the feminist fightclub! Also, the poor and fugitives need help now more than ever.
  9. Do a DIY project. Be that DIY electronics (if you have all you need at hand, such as a raspberry pi and tools) or something else.
  10. Exercise to keep moving. How can you nowadays? Get back to the basics. Do bodyweight exercises, go running if you’re still allowed to go out for runs. I do the handboard challenge because I own one anyway. If you have no Kraxlboard, beastmaker or whatever the fingerboard of your choice might be, this sadly is not for you. You could still try pullups on or hanging from a doorframe?
  11. Do a video lunchdate or go for virtual drinks. It might sound silly but since our typical Wednesday Classics PhD lunch date can’t happen at the university now, we decided we’d not let corona discourage us. We mostly go out to eat Chinese, so we decided that we’ll all order Chinese and then videochat while eating. It’s maybe not the same but you’ve got to hold on to something “normal”, right?
  12. Take a self-help book and reflect on your life. You probably have one of those at home anyway. Now you have time to think things through.
  13. Spring clean. Yes, I’m currently doing that.
  14. Clean out your closet (or the whole place). We all have too many things. Try to create a minimalist wardrobe, just to try it out. I have set apart some space in my closet to try this out. I have selected 34 pieces and will see if I really don’t need more than my 34 favourites. (I think I might really not need anything else). I’ll only think about throwing out stuff once I’m sure this works.
  15. End up in the Youtube wormhole if nothing else works. Everybody has one. Mine is full of climbing videos.
  16. Dream about the bouldergym. Ok, it’s getting ridiculous now, so I’d better stop now 😉

That’s it for today. We’re hoping you are well (or as well as possible under the current circumstances).

Best regards from Graz!


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