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5 Ways (with Free Resources) to Stay Productive During the Coronavirus Outbreak

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.
- Albert Einstein

Since you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re one of the lucky ones.

You have met your survival needs, and now you want to know what to do with all the free time.

Let me tell you this; free time is rare. Life before the outbreak was a whirlwind for me, and I’ve been constantly wishing I had more than 24 hours a day.

My wish has come true — in the most unlikely of ways.

But ever the optimist, I’ve made a conscious choice to focus on the bright side. And I think there is no better time to invest in knowledge reserves than right now.

So I’m going on a #NoExcusesLockdown. The goal of this is to make the most out of the lockdown — and lay all excuses to rest.

Are you with me? If yes, sneak a peak at the list of free resources I’ve compiled to help you get started.

1. Read, for free

Reading maketh a full man. Or a woman. Period.

Ever since I cultivated the habit of reading, with deliberate effort, my life has changed drastically. I’ve started thinking ahead of average folks; the group to which I had always belonged.

So if you aren’t a habitual reader, now is the time to change that — and ultimately your life.

Thankfully, many companies and even authors are offering free ebooks and resources to keep people occupied during the lockdown. You can now have your head buried in a screen and read until you drop!

  • Scribd, one of the world’s largest digital libraries of our time, took to social media to announce an incredible offer that had me screaming (literally).

The entire digital collection with millions of books, audiobooks and magazines will be available absolutely free for anyone for 30 days straight!

This, however, is available only through a special link. You can access it here.

  • Apple Books: Apple is offering a selected catalogue of ebooks and audiobooks from romance to graphic novels and old classics for free. This offer, however, is limited only to American users for a limited period of time. If you own an iPad or iPhone in America, you can make use of this offer from Apple Books.

2. Go on a Free Virtual Tour

It sucks to have travel plans cancelled — but guess what? You can still satisfy the wanderer in you and opt in for a virtual tour instead!

I dug up virtual tours catering to the needs of every enthusiast — from Arts to Culture, Religion, History, Science and even nature.

Why not not hop around the world and back for free, right from the comfort of your couch?

  • 2500+ Museum Tours: Google Arts and Culture has partnered with over 2500 museums and galleries to offer a variety of exciting and informative virtual tours. The list even covers some of the most popular and iconic sites such as the British Museum in London and Guggenheim Museum in New York. The tour offered depends on the museum of your choice. Most tours will walk through online exhibits, street views that lead you into the institution itself, and in-depth explorations of galleries and artwork. 10 of the top museums on the list are available here.
  • The Louvre museum: Following the coronavirus outbreak and travel restrictions, the Louvre museum, too, ramped up their efforts to delight the thousands of visitors who had their plans cancelled. It now hosts its own independent virtual tour and you can check it out here.
  • 30 UNESCO World Heritage sites: From The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt to the symbol of love The Taj Mahal in Agra, Google Earth is enabling detailed virtual experiences of 30 astounding UNESCO World Heritage sites. Check them out here.
Domica Cave in Jasov, Slovakia (Source: Google Earth)

3. Workout at home

Worried about the disruption to your workout schedule? Or about the fat that’s settling down in your belly?

Worry no longer. You have both the time — and resources to start a workout regime right at home!

Besides, we live in a capitalist world. So when a company offers something of value for free, with no strings attached, you make use of it. Period.

  • Centr: For six weeks, celebrity Chris Hemsworth is offering his exercise app Centr for free. Centr is both a workout and healthy living app that focuses on meal plans of high nutritional value and mindfulness techniques. The offer will expire by the 31st March for new users, so you might have to check it out soon here.
  • Down Dog: Down Dog, one of the most popular apps among the Yoga community, is offering all its services across five apps namely Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout for free until the 1st of April. The offer is available here.
  • Tone It Up: With a variety of workouts from barre to HIIT and weights, Tone It Up is also offering its app free of charge for all new members. This offer will last throughout the next month, and you can redeem it on their site.

4. Sign up for free online classes

Schools and universities have come to a standstill, but your education doesn’t have to. You can still continue learning — straight from prestigious universities like Harvard, Yale and the University of Pennsylvania itself.

  • Class Central: an online platform offering courses, is opening up nearly 500 Ivy League Courses for free. From business to computer science and social science, there is a course on just about anything you’re interested in. Check them out here.
  • Coursera: Coursera is providing access to a collection of over 3,800 courses from leading universities and companies like Google and Intel. Students can enroll through the institutions that are impacted by the prevailing situation, and complete courses leisurely through September 30, 2020. The form to request free access is available here.
  • FreeCodeCamp: If you’re a developer, the FreeCodeCamp with their coronavirus academy is a dream-come-true. Anybody can sign up and learn everything from HTML to CSS and JavaScriptCheck for free. Check it out here.

5. Write

Now is the time to kick-start the writing projects you’ve been putting off over the years. I told this to myself when I started working on this post. I’m determined to give #NoExcusesLockdown a shot.

I got around it by taking social media breaks. Now, this might not work for all. It works for me because I prefer blocking out noise in social media that threatens my peace of mind. Breaks give me clarity and help me stay focused on the most crucial matters at hand.

Try it. Now is the time to start that blog you’ve always wanted to start, or write that novel that never got past the first chapter.

NOW is the time, because remember, it’s #NoExcusesLockdown!

Note: I’m hoping to update this list as offers expire and new information comes in. Have more free resources to share? I’d like to hear!

When I’m not busy picking up a marketing skill or typing out a blog post, you can find me Googling therapies for abandoned cats.

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