How to Use Your Time Effectively & Be Creative During Quarantine
COVID-19 has forced over 1.5 billion people around the world to stay home for weeks on end, raising concerns about mental wellbeing and drops in productivity. And while remote work has led to boredom or anxiety, being alone has actually proven to benefit creativity.
Quarantine restrictions can be ideal to discover new capabilities, as well as pursue projects that you've had on the back-burner for a while. In fact, arts and crafts can be a stress-reliever and a distraction from the events going on around you. Still, you have to consciously devote your time to being productive. As artist Bruce Garrabrandt said, "creativity doesn't wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones."
Here are a few tips on how to use your time effectively and be creative during quarantine:
Start a craft project
Now is the time to embrace any secret passion or hidden talent you've been harboring. You could start by creating a photography portfolio where you take pictures of your home, view from your window, or the people around you. Try experimenting with lighting, colors, angles, depth, filters, and your own personal preferences - there's no right or wrong when it comes to creativity.
You also don't need an expensive camera to do photography, your phone could work, so long as you dedicate a set amount of time each day to really staging or curating the perfect photo. You may just find you start viewing quarantine life through a new lens - both literally and figuratively.
Another option is to draw or paint - it could be of your pet, still life, nature, or abstract shapes. A good tip is to play with unusual materials you have lying around the house and integrate these in your art. Things like sandpaper, toiletries, kitchen spices, and ground coffee could all help make your masterpiece.
If you're someone who prefers a project that has a clear endpoint, sewing or knitting does wonders for building creative discipline and patience. It also improves hand-eye coordination and has been found to promote feelings of calm and happiness, as well as higher cognitive function.
Virtually redecorate your home
The DecorMatters app has revolutionized home renovations, allowing people to see and experiment with new layouts, furniture, and styles before committing to physical changes. The app is also a fun and therapeutic way to detach from concerns about COVID-19 and encourage a little artistry in everyone.
With almost five million users, you can socialize and collaborate with the app community, who range from interior design experts to DIY beginners. Meanwhile, features like augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence make the experience more interactive and realistic - for example, the AR ruler helps you measure your room dimensions easily and get an actual sense of what would look great in your space.
You can also do a little window (or more accurately, 'screen') shopping and browse over 30 of the top furniture brands on the app. Be inspired by other users' designs, build new aesthetics, and escape from the confines of quarantine with virtual redecorating.
Write a diary, poetry or novel
In the modern age, it's easy to spend hours typing on a computer and forget how relaxing writing by hand is. Connecting your thoughts to your body can deepen your thinking and unlock ideas you didn't know you had.
At the same time, writing is a great way to develop a narrative around your quarantine experience; it doesn't have to be truthful, you could draft a piece of fiction set in the current pandemic. Don't worry about writer's block either, creative exercises can help - write a letter to yourself when you were younger, describe your surroundings, write a stream of consciousness, or retell a story you have been told.
A novel tends to be a long-term process that requires planning and reiterating; if you prefer something less time-consuming, a diary can be an excuse to reveal your inner feelings, while poetry can be a chance to play with language and test your rhyming abilities.
Practice makes perfect
Creativity is like any skill: the more you practice, the better you are. That said, it requires structure and mindfully making time to foster creative processes.
Scheduling time alone to do meaningful work can help train your creativity - whether that means taking five minutes breaks throughout the day or waking up an hour earlier. Rather than viewing quarantine in a negative light, reframe it as the perfect chance to be inventive, especially as there aren't many distractions and we know we have weeks (maybe months) more to really commit to being creative.