With schools and universities closed and gatherings of many people banned in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak many people are working or studying from home. President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a national state of disaster and announced a range of measures to deal with the virus.

Understandably there is a higher degree of panic in many households. But you need to take care of yourself and others, and remember to wash your hands!

Science magazine has put together tips on what people who are at home can be doing with the extra time.

1. Take care of yourself

As a first step, don’t neglect your physical and mental health. Meditate. Do aerobics in the house. Practice yoga. Whatever it is that works for you, do what it takes to care for your body and mind.


2. Learn a new skill

This may be a good opportunity to learn a new skill. Examples being sharpening your cooking skills or learning computer programming. You could also read books.

3. Revisit that long forgotten project

Somewhere in the deep, dark depths of your computer’s file system, do you have an unfinished manuscript or unpublished data? If so, then you might want to use this time to dust off the files and figure out whether what you have is, in fact, publishable.

4. Promote your work online

Consider devoting time to a bit of marketing. Does your personal website need updating? Have you been meaning to set up a Twitter profile and learn what hashtags are? Would you like to write a blog or thought leadership piece or create a YouTube video? The extra time you have at home could be the perfect opportunity to do these things.


5. Apply for funding

You might benefit from spending time scouring the internet for fellowships, grants, and awards. Even if you don’t receive an award, the process of applying will help you master the skill of grant writing.

6. Think about your career plans

Use some of your homebound time to learn more about yourself and your career options. You could read a book about career planning and test out career options with online job simulations. This will help you reflect on the skills you have, brainstorm skills you’d like to develop, and think about where you see yourself headed in the future.


7. Conduct informational interviews

If you have a few ideas about jobs that might interest you, then take this time to reach out to professionals who currently hold those jobs. In the midst of a pandemic, it’s not appropriate to ask them to meet up for coffee. But you can ask them for a quick phone call or Skype chat.