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How To Spend Time By Yourself 101

Apr 14, 2020 | 7 min read
Hi I'm Dylan! Avid traveller, fried chicken connoisseur and self-proclaimed "lord of the memes" are just some of the hats I wear in life. Also love wearing my UCLA bucket hat whenever possible.

Student guide on how to spend time productively when you are home alone.

So…for whatever reason you are housebound. Maybe there’s a thunderstorm outside, maybe your mates cancelled on your weekend roadie at the last minute, or maybe you are even locked inside due to a pandemic sweeping the globe.

Whatever the reason, it helps to look at alone time as an opportunity rather than a punishment. And this guide will hopefully unlock a few ideas to get through that time as enjoyably as possible! 🙂

Learn

Ok so you’re probably learning throughout the week from lecture recordings, textbooks and whatnot, but that doesn’t mean learning new things has to stop at your courses!

Whether you love singing “pasito a pasito” along to Despacito or got addicted to Korean films after watching Parasite, a spell at home could be the perfect opportunity to engage on a deeper level with a new language. Or if your family speaks another language at home, maybe it is finally time to listen to your parents’ cries for you to get better at it?

A great way of learning new things is by listening to podcasts. There are literally thousands of podcasts on topics ranging from science to business, from history to philosophy. The best thing about it, you can integrate it easily within your daily routine, such as listening over breakfast or even in the shower.

And if that’s not enough, there’s always the old fashioned way of reading a good ol’ book. Surely there’s at least one book you got as a present many years ago that needs to be flipped for the first time?

Recommendations:

  • Duolingo – top language learning app with fun and interactive content for languages ranging from Japanese to High Valyrian
  • Coffee Break language series – great podcasts for beginner to intermediate learners of French, Spanish, Italian, German and Mandarin Chinese
  • We Study Billionaires – insightful podcasts on business case studies, the financial world and investment strategies
  • Philosophize This! – podcast series on famous philosophers and some truly intriguing theories

Create

Spare time spent at home can seem like a long and arduous grind if you’re not being particularly active about the things you do. For long periods, it can definitely freshen up your mind by embarking on a new creative endeavour.

There are a whole myriad of ways to create something new. If you’re artistically talented, why not start painting or sketching again? Write a new song or tune if you are musically inclined. Create that food blog you’ve always wanted to start. Or even become a regular contributor to the meme economy, there’s always a need for fresh talent there. Meme creators are the real heroes who don’t wear capes in this modern world.

One of the coolest things I’ve seen is someone recreating a full-blown university campus on Minecraft so that they could hold a virtual graduation ceremony, since the real thing was cancelled.

UCLA-Minecraft

For those that want to get their hands a bit more dirty, why not start whipping up some new recipes in the kitchen? Whether it’s cooking, baking, or mixing up new and wild cocktails, making food is possibly the most rewarding way of creating stuff!

Recommendations:

  • Write a diss rap, create a tune, but do think twice before releasing anything that may damage your reputation!
  • Try imgflip for quick and easy meme creation
  • Follow @balanceyourplate on Instagram and attempt some of the delicious, nutritious recipes on there
  • Yes ok, you have permission to make Tik Toks as it is an essential service

Exercise

So maybe some of us are high-energy freaks. The ones that can’t stay still, ya know? Not everyone is, but being active on a regular basis is a super important part of keeping your physical wellbeing on point.

There are ways of exercising even if you aren’t surrounded by heavy gym equipment or open fields. Bodyweight exercises are a great way to stay active and make progress towards your fitness goals. You could set some personal challenges and even challenge others to do the same.

Recommendations:

A cool challenge could be to pick two of these exercises and aim to do 100 reps of them every single day for 100 days straight. Depending on what you want to achieve, you can modify your personal challenges to whatever suits your lifestyle and schedule. So up that number, decrease it a bit, add other exercises – whatever you do, set a goal for yourself and just do it!

  • Push ups
  • Sit ups
  • Squats
  • Burpees

Reflect

Sometimes life seems to go incredibly fast and before you know it, you’re a boomer and you don’t remember what sports house you were in high school. If you do find yourself at home, try capture certain details in your life you might want to remember later down the line, whether good or bad. Think about the things you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy, or the things you did or didn’t do so well. It helps to be self reflective to improve and become a better version of the awesome human being you already are!

You can use the classic diary format, or there’s many apps that do the same thing.

Recommendations:

  • Frank Stationery has a great range of awesome journals and notebooks
  • Daylio Journal is a simple app allowing you to easily track your daily moods
  • Leap Second allows you to film one second videos of each day in your life to put together in a single video

Organise

Some people are always going to be more organised than others, that’s a fact. If that’s you, congratulations! But surely no one can ever be completely organised 100% of the time…

Everything can be improved, at least I’d like to think anyway. Starting from your room, your wardrobe, your finances, your (Facebook) friends list, the list really does go on and on. Some people have Google calendars with every toilet break planned out, and I’m not saying you should do that but it is an area you could always spend time organising.

Recommendations:

  • Backing up your photos and files to multiple locations can save massive heartache down the road
  • Organise your Spotify playlists and create new ones
  • Have you done your tax return?
  • Update Instagram highlights to your latest and greatest moments

Plan

If nothing exciting is happening right now, it doesn’t mean it has to be like that forever. Chill time alone can be the perfect opportunity to start researching cool things you can take up in the future, based solely on your interests and aspirations.

These could come in the form of new hobbies, like finding the nearest dance or martial arts classes. Or you could look up new destinations around New Zealand for your next roadie.

It could finally be time to look at those emails for the student clubs you paid $100 to join at the start of the year…it’s honestly such a waste of money if you don’t go to anything right? And career wise, you can never be in a bad position if you spend some more time surveying your field for great opportunities in the future, or even other fields if you are so inclined to switch!

“The best part about being alone is that you really don’t have to answer to anybodyYou do what you want.” – Justin Timberlake


Being left to yourself can be a blessing and a curse. The key thing? YOU will be the one who decides your fate. As they say, it’s all in your mind, and with these tips hopefully you’ll be able to carve out a Niesh for yourself.

And if all else fails, you’ve always got your dependable friend Netflix 😉

What do YOU do when you’re alone at home? If you have any awesome ideas to share, feel free to leave a comment below and help your fellow inmates out!