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Whether you’re choosing to self-quarantine or you’re at risk of infecting others and are required to quarantine, having ways to keep busy while in the house will definitely help us all pass the time. If you’re anything like me, I’m definitely going to use this time to check things off on my “get sh*$ done” list.
There certainly are ways to make the best out of staying home for a couple of weeks and getting all that stuff done that you’ve been procrastinating will make you feel a lot better when the time comes that we can leave our homes.
As we mentioned in our previous post 20 Ways to Keep Busy while Social Distancing During COVID-19 Days, if you do need to get out to get some fresh air and clear your head, please keep your distance from others, avoid all indoor spaces if you’re not wearing a mask, and wash your hands frequently.
So you’re fully prepared (if not, read our preparation list for Düsseldorfers), groceries are stocked for the next couple of weeks, and the medication cabinets are full… now it’s time to start building up a quarantine bucket list to help keep you calm, distracted and busy during these uncertain times.
Here are 15 things you’ve probably procrastinated that you can start working on now!
Clean the house!
I think this is where many of us will start! Why not clean your whole house from top to bottom (yes, that means behind the toilet bowl too)!
If you find things that you would like to sell, either put them in a pile and save them until the flea markets in Düsseldorf open back up again or snap some photos and start selling them online. Of course, this should go without saying that whoever is purchasing your used goods online should wait until we are all back in good health. If you would like to donate some items you’ve cleaned out during spring cleaning, there are also a number of second-hand shops and charities where you can leave them (once we are all in good health).
Get your taxes done
Aha! Has anyone else avoided this topic for the last few months as I have? Thankfully, we should all have ample time to get this done now and we don’t need to physically visit an accountant to get it done either. Once you understand the tax system in Germany, it’s actually rather easy.
A. You can either hire someone to do you taxes for you, Fiverr is a great resource for this, or…
B. You can do it yourself online! SteuerGo is an expat favorite as they take you through the tax forms step-by-step (in English) and ask you all the possible required questions (like if you have kids, if you own a house, if you work freelance, etc.) Plus, you can test out the entire system for free and pay 29,95 Euros (which includes 2 tax returns) when you want to submit it to the Finanzamt. If you want another online website to compare to, SmartSteuer is a local favourite (but it’s only offered in German).
Take a German language course
Local German language schools might be shut down, but many of them are offering their courses online too! That means you could start out via Skype, and then transition back into the school when things are looking better. Otherwise, you can also join an online program like Rosetta Stone (who currently offers 50% off), Babbel (an awesome app if you’re on the go), or linguaTV (super affordable).
Cancel those memberships you haven’t used
Sit down and write a list of all the things you pay memberships for both in-person and online.
Most memberships will require you to write a formal email notification letting them know that you would like to cancel your membership at the next available opportunity. Of course, the way you write these emails is also important (you need to make sure you include all the necessary information in order for them to process your request). You can also use a service like Aboalarm which is an online website that allows you to select the exact membership you’d like to cancel from a drop-down menu and then they formulate the email and send it for you for a few Euros.
Find ways to cut down your monthly bills
There are always places where you could be saving a little money, but most of us don’t have the time to sit down and go through all our finances to figure it all out. Here are a few places to look first:
- Your cell phone bill (cancel your current phone plan and look for a better one)
- Your bank account (cancel those monthly fees and look for a cheaper/free one)
- Your internet bill (cancel your flakey internet and compare the alternative options using a price comparison site)
Make sure you’re up to date on all insurances
This is definitely something I need to do! I wrote a post about the 10 different types of insurances you should consider buying, but it wasn’t until now that I realized there are a couple of these that I should have which I currently don’t. You can also use a price comparison website like TARIFCHECK to compare your different insurance options like disability insurance, life insurance, liability insurance, and legal insurance.
Sick of the job you have? You’ve got the time to look for a new job now!
Hopefully, not many of you are in this position, but there are likely a few of you who have been itching to start looking for a new job but have been putting it on the back burner for a rainy day. Whether that’s because of your boss, your colleagues or perhaps your paycheck, it’s never a good feeling going to work unhappy. Now is the time to look for a new job! Get online, search the web, find a company that hires English speakers and compare those salaries and wages!
It’s not too late to start working out at home
Just because we’re in quarantine doesn’t mean we have to stop our workout routines. It’s also a great time to get started, in the comfort of your own home! You’ve got the popular and classic weight loss programs, or you can simply hop on YouTube and get searching!
You’ve been meaning to learn something new for a while? Get on it!
You could literally learn about anything under the sun online! There are online courses offered all over the web, you might even find targeted ads for e-courses on Facebook and Twitter that are perfect for you.
Rearrange your home
It’s normal to want some change, so why not spend some time rearranging furniture and creating a wishlist of new items you’d like to purchase! Wayfair (super stylish designs), OTTO (great discounts on brand name products), and Möbel Höffner (amazing quality) are a few of my favorite online shops to get inspiration from, and of course, all of the second hand furniture shops around town (but we’ll have to wait until those open back up again).
Facetime your loved ones who you haven’t spoken to in a while
Between work and having a social life in your new hometown, sometimes it’s hard to keep up to date with your friends and family back home. I’m sure there are many of you who have a list of people you’ve been meaning to check in on! Why not arrange a few Facetime dates?!
Add all your friends and families emails, addresses, and birthdays to your mobile calendar
This is something I just managed to check off my list, and I’ve been meaning to do it for years. I’m terrible at remembering birthdays and when Christmas comes around and I want to send out all my Christmas cards, I end up having to ask everyone over again for their home address. Now that I’ve added them all into my Google Calendar, I receive reminders every time a birthday pops up and I have all their addresses stored in one handy spot.
Consider booking flights for the future (many airlines now have free rebooking options)
This is something that I’ve found really neat! There are tons of airlines in an effort to still generate a little bit of money, are offering free rebooking on all flights. That means we can book at the low rates now for any given date and even if we aren’t 100% sure, we could always rebook for a later date (but of course, pay the difference). Some are even offering free rebooking on dates and destinations.
Note: I do understand that many people are against the idea of booking travel until we know what will happen next, and I respect that too! Whatever you feel comfortable with is a-ok!
Start online meetups!
I’ve never been to one before, but there’s always a time for everything, right? How cool would it be to start a few local meetups via Skype or Facetime? It’s a great way to still meet new people, keep busy and stay entertained. Perhaps we could theme each online meetup? If you’d like to start one, let me know and I can help!
Update Your Actual Bucketlist
Just because all our trips are being canceled doesn’t mean we can’t start dreaming for the future!
Whether you’re planning vacations, staycations, or creating another “to-do” list for the future, updating your resolution/bucket list is a great way to look forward to the future. If you want to add some local experiences to your list, we published a free downloadable booklet that includes 100+ free things to do in Düsseldorf.
If you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, why not add something crazy to your list like rafting on the Rhine River from Neuss to Düsseldorf or building your own soapbox to race your friends! You can find tons of cool events like this on websites Groupon.
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