The COVID-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call for a lot of us. These are really crazy times and sometimes I forget what the norm used to be, only a couple of months ago.
I mean, if someone had told you at Christmas time that you would soon be trapped in your house 23 hours of the day everyday for the foreseeable future, would you have believed them?
I think not.
As the UK lockdown was announced, just days after major US cities like New York, it was scary but kind of exciting.
As a university student I got to quickly pack some things from my studio and hop on a train all the way back to my family home, joyful at the idea of no lectures and classes.
For my younger sister it was a better story.
Her being in her last year at secondary school, she was given the news that she didn’t have to take any of her GCSE exams and could receive her predicted grades.
But now as the weeks turn into months, all of that seems like a distant memory each day consists of the same.
Merging into one, I never really know what the day is anymore.
I’m sure this is the same for a lot of people, and this is why I have devised a list of the things that are helping me get through this strange time and keeping me occupied.
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10 Products That Will Aid Productivity
1. Nintendo Switch Console
I’ve had my Nintendo Switch for almost a year now and it is honestly endless fun and recreation.
Whether your an adult or a child, there are games out there for everyone, and to be honest, the kids games can be very entertaining!
I have the original console but the newer Lite editions offer just as much play time, and for a smaller price.
In terms of the games to buy, in my opinion you can’t go wrong with pretty much any Mario game out there.
Then again, I completed Yoshi’s Crafted World in a couple of weeks, it was that good!
I’m planning on purchasing Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training as my next game to improve my productivity during lockdown and as a throwback to when I used to play it as a child.
2. Apple iPad Pro
Since starting my first proper year at university in September, I realised how much the use of an iPad could benefit me.
After doing some research about my course, I found that one of the latest iPad Pros were most suitable as they include special design features (including Apple Pencil compatability) that would help my graphic design.
This was my intention for the purchase of my iPad and its capability goes above and beyond what I need of it.
However, the UK lockdown has made me realise its many other great uses.
They are so powerful the image quality is outstanding when watching anything on them.
Other uses for my iPad include pretty much all my university coursework, there are so many useful apps at your fingertips.
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And finally, I’ve recently begun using Zoom to group call my friends for virtual quizzes or just some catch up time.
The iPad works very well with this software and is just the perfect size to fit about 8-10 people on your screen at once.
3. Adult Colouring Books
I’ve never really been that big of a fan of colouring within the lines but, since the lockdown, I’ve found I have so much time on my hands I don’t know what to do with it.
Then there’s the added worry, stress and/or anxiety a lot of people are struggling with in these uncertain times.
Adult colouring books have been a great solution for me.
There are so many varieties of books to choose from, from simpler cartoon style designs to intricate patterns.
I’ve found the more detailed patterned designs to be the most therapeutic, and there is a lot of scientific evidence to back these claims.
Aside from relaxing, I’ve found these colouring books to be perfect for when you’ve got spare 10 minutes, when I’m waiting for dinner to cook, for example.
You can just grab the book and get to work on what ever you fancy.
4. Reading Books
Reading something you enjoy is an important part of our everyday development and down-time.
With so much time on our hands at the moment, it would almost be criminal to not spend an hour or so diving into a juicy read.
For me, I’ve found this time is perfect for going around the home and spring-cleaning where necessary.
In my bedroom alone, I’ve opted for an entire declutter and turned the whole room upside down!
To help me with this side project, I enlisted the help of decluttering gurus far and wide.
In recent years, there has been a wave of books in this category, each author with their own wacky method to minimalist living.
One of my personal favourites is Marie Kondo’s KonMari method for condensing your belongings.
There are so many books out there that can help you with clearing out and doing the most with the space you have.
Being confined to your home for so many hours of the day, it is important to embrace and enjoy the space that you live it.
Below are the books I recommend to help you with this.
5. Jigsaw Puzzles
A jigsaw puzzle is the classic solution to a rainy day, I don’t think I know a family who didn’t bring their puzzles with them on every camping and caravaning expedition.
Puzzles are an all-round crowd pleaser, they increase productivity whilst being super fun.
I also love that depending on your home situation, you can spend hours doing this by yourself, or get the entire household involved.
Another thing great about jigsaws is that you can spend as long as you like on them.
You could buy one massive 10,000 piece puzzle and continue working on it throughout the rest of the lockdown.
I would recommend putting together the corners and edges first, and make sure to find a place you can keep your progress where it won’t get damaged.
My mom always suggests under the rug.
6. Exercise and Workout Equipment
For the gym goers out there, I know it can be tough times.
All the gyms and fitness centres are closed for the foreseeable future and you need your next fix of gym gains.
Although a lot of people aren’t as fortunate as me to have a home gym, there are plenty of other options out there to keep yourself in shape without forking out on expensive equipment.
For myself, I like to put a focus on my core workouts and this is why I recommend the first product below so highly.
Others could opt for resistance bands, ankle weights or even a small set of dumbbells or kettlebells.
Working out at home doesn’t have to break the bank and once you buy these small items of equipment, you will have them for as long as they are of use.
You never know, you could end up cancelling your gym membership for good once you get into it.
7. Streaming Services
To accompany the iPad, of course you’re going to want subscriptions to streaming services.
In the last few years, streaming apps and websites have taken over from live TV.
I can’t really remember the last time I sat down and actually flicked through the TV guide.
The amount of content online is unlimited so there is something for everybody, I think this is why streaming companies are so popular right now.
And what better way to spend your time stuck at home than cuddling up with a new series that you know you’ve got hours of binge watching with.
Of course my first choice in the world of streaming apps is Netflix, there is just an abundance of films and TV series and I love that they are always bringing out new content.
They have a variety of everything but I feel that they really out do themselves with their documentaries.
So if you want to learn something new during the pandemic, maybe this one is for you!
My final recommended streaming service is one that you don’t actually have to subscribe to.
Rakuten TV is perfect for those who don’t want to commit to monthly payments or simply can’t afford to.
They offer masses of films and TV series and are often the first to release new films straight from the cinema.
There are so many options with Rakuten TV, you can purchase films and series that you can keep on your account forever, or you can rent things to watch at a cheaper price.
They even have a section for all their free to watch content.
8. A Label Maker
Okay now this choice might seem a bit wacky but here me out. We’ve got all this time, stuck at home, why not get organised?
As a child, I remember my dad buying a label maker and I was fascinated by it. Of course the cheaper alternative would be to just use sticky label and a pen but there is something so satisfying about using this cute little printer.
So why not invest in this budget friendly machine and have hours of organising fun!
I’d start with the glass jars in my kitchen, containing sugar, flour etc. But if you really get carried away, you could find yourself labelling pretty much anything.
These are also a great idea for those of you with a home office.
I imagine many have had to make a mini office in their home to continue working during the pandemic.
Well a label maker is perfect for sorting through all your files.
9. Sewing Machine
Everyone needs a new hobby during the lockdown, and there are so many to choose from.
You could start learning a new language, start knitting, reading more, or even gardening. A fun and practical hobby I’ve found is sewing.
Once you’re equipped with your own little machine there are endless possibilities to what you can create.
I recommend trying to steer away from fast fashion and revamping some of your old clothes up. This is also a great way to become more sustainable in these unknowing times.
If you like the idea of getting in to sewing, you could simply opt for a needle and thread, or the classic Quality Streets tin with all the cotton reels and pins.
But investing in a sewing machine can be so much faster and more efficient.
Not to mention so much easier when it comes to hemming and doing different stitches.
I recommend this mini sewing machine below. It is more compact than some of the other bulkier models which is great for space saving, and is great value for money.
10. Baking or Cooking Equipment
Another hobby idea, get baking! Or cooking, whichever takes your fancy.
I’m more of a Mary Berry kind of girl but you never know, you could end up coming out of lockdown with skills like Gordon Ramsay.
Depending on what you want to do in the kitchen, there are lots of different equipment and utensil sets.
Yes a lot of these things will probably already be in your kitchen but there’s always that one recipe that requires something unusual. I never have any ceramic baking beans!
So get searching online, or through the recipe books you already have, and find some things you want to learn to make.
I’m sure no members of your household will be complaining about all the tasty cakes you’ve made.
I do not promote or encourage leaving your home unnecessarily, at this time. Please, if you would like to purchase anything inspired by this list do it online. Amazon is a great way to shop online, as well as many other retailers at your fingertips.