12 Productive Things to Do When You’re Not Working

12 Productive Things to Do When You’re Not Working

Whether you are retired, unemployed, or a homemaker by choice, here are some great ideas for staying productive and active when you’re not working.

Regardless of the reason you are not working, there are plenty of reasons to stay productive. Being active (physically and mentally) keeps your brain sharp. Plus, the sense of accomplishment after completing something worthwhile is well worth the effort.

Not sure what to do? Here are a whole slew of productive things you can do when you’re not working at a job all day.

Productive Things to Do When You’re Not Working

1. Go Through Your Photos (Prints AND Digital)

Whether you have gigs of digital photos or boxes and albums stuffed with physical photos (or both), you’re going to have to go through them at some point. Take this moment to relive old memories and “clean house”.

Digital photos are easy. If they are on a smart phone, often there is functionality to “tag” them with who is in the picture so you can search for photos of specific people. Often, you can add captions that can be searched too.

For physical photos, the first thing is to get all of your albums and boxes of photos in one place. From there, you just need to figure out what to do with them. Here are some ideas…

  • Toss out the duplicates
  • Make envelopes of pictures to send to people
  • If you have access to a scanner, make a pile of photos to digitize
  • Make a scrapbook for you or someone else

2. Work On Your Home

Take advantage of the extra time you have to get some projects done around your home. Depending on your skill level, refreshing a room with new paint or replacing a dripping faucet can make a world of difference. Don’t have money for paint? Try redecorating a room with things you already have. Rearrange the furniture, swap out pictures, and give your space a fresh look.

3. Learn Another Language

Nowadays, it is easier than ever to learn another language. Free language learning apps like Duolingo make it simple to learn a new language in just 5-10 minutes a day. There are plenty of YouTube videos as well. In fact, I often listen to this wonderful series of Spanish videos on headphones while I sleep.

4. Get to Know Your Neighbors

There are a million reasons to get to know your neighbors. This is good from a safety standpoint (think neighborhood watch), but it is also just a fun way to socialize. Get to know the people who live around you, and see what things you can do to be a good neighbor.

5. Get Really Good at Cooking

This one is actually pretty fun (and tasty!). Regardless of how well you currently cook, there is always a way to take it up a notch. Plus, with YouTube and countless online recipes, it is easy to find new recipes and learn new cooking techniques.

Set a goal to try a new recipe every week or master chopping vegetables or try out the air fryer that has been in your cabinet for too long. Feeling adventurous? Try one of our personal cooking challenges!

6. Go on Regular Walks

If the weather permits, going on regular walks around your neighborhood is a great way to get exercise, meet new people, get landscaping ideas, and get some fresh air. Take it a tiny bit further by bringing a disposable grocery bag (and maybe a latex glove) to pick up trash around your neighborhood.

7. Work on Your Yard

If you are not working and have extra time on your hands, working on your yard is a great way to get some fresh air and beautify your property. Plus, your neighbors are certain to appreciate it!

8. Deep Clean Your Home

Deep cleaning your home is a great idea for something to do when you don’t have to work. Start with the nastiest area first and then keep going.

As you go from space to space, keep a tote of cleaning supplies, a trash can, a box for donations, and a box for stuff that you want to keep but needs to go in a different room.

9. Get Some Exercise

Getting a fitness tracker was one of the best things I’ve done for my health. At a bare minimum, every day I try my darnedest to get 10k steps. It’s not a rigorous workout, but it is attainable without too much extra effort, and it is certainly better than nothing.

It basically just means that I park further from the entrance when I go places, I take the stairs instead of the elevator, and I try to get my bottom up out of my chair more often. Be sure to check out our post on how to get more steps in your day while being productive.

10. Learn Something New

What have you always wanted to do? Learn to play an instrument? Become a great cook? Make cheese? Whatever you want to learn, chances are, you can learn it for free on YouTube.

If you have a little extra money, you can also look into local classes for whatever you want to learn. Or, look for a club in your area.

11. Take Advantage of Your Online Library

Discovering the online library was one of the best things in my life. With a regular library card, I am able to download slews of audiobooks that I listen to on headphones throughout the day…For free! Check with your local library about how you can access their online library. You’ll be glad you did!

12. Downsize Your Stuff

If you’re like most of us, you have too much stuff. Downsizing your home does wonders for keeping your place clean and tidy and can even reduce depression.

Start with a closet or under the bed. As I said in the deep cleaning section, keep a tote of cleaning supplies, a trash can, a box for donations, and a box for stuff that you want to keep but needs to go in a different room. Then, purge until everything you decide to keep has a home.

Staying Productive When You’re Not Working is Easy!

I hope you found these ideas for productive things to do when you’re not working useful. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time, try to stay active and healthy!