With the internet at our fingertips, it’s easy to waste time by getting lost in the black hole of social media. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good to take a break and relax with memes, gifs, and cat videos. But when you need to be productive or don’t want to spend your day being sucked into a world of cute baby animals and instant gratification, here are some of my favorite things to do online.
Take free courses
The Internet has unlocked opportunities for learning like never before. Check out sites like Coursera, which partners with universities to deliver free courses that you can take at your own pace.
Learn a new language
Improve your job skills
There are plenty of resources for learning technical skills and soft skills that will help you improve at work. Udemy offers a wide variety of paid (but affordable) courses on everything from Excel to public speaking to leadership skills and more.
Stay up to date on current events
There’s no excuse for being uninformed these days — there’s too much good journalism available online for free. Set up
Google Alerts and subscribe to news outlets on social media so you don’t miss important stories while they’re trending.
Read articles from a variety of sources
Reading on the internet can be a great way to learn about what’s going on in the world and beyond. You can read news articles, scientific journals, or even books.
And if you want to know more about something, you’re only a couple of clicks away from finding out. Explore new interests and find out how other people see the world, all without leaving your desk.
Get creative with digital art programs
Drawing and painting aren’t just for professionals anymore — anyone can start creating digital art with free software and a little bit of practice.
All you need is a stylus and tablet, or even just a mouse if you’re feeling ambitious.
And there’s no shortage of places to showcase your work online, so you can share it with friends or get feedback from other artists.
Setup automated backups
Don’t let your hard work disappear! It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so make sure all of your important data is backed up in case your computer goes down.
Whether you use an external hard drive, cloud-based service, or both, automatic backups are a great way to ensure that none of your important files will be lost if something unexpected happens.
You can even set the backup process to run overnight so that it doesn’t take away from productive hours during the day.
Find the best deals online
Whether you’re shopping for a new pair of shoes or want to buy a laptop, there are tons of different websites that can help you save money online.
This is one of the best productive things to do online.
Start a Vlog
If you want to document your life, then start a YouTube channel and share your experiences with others. It’s also a great way to express yourself if you don’t feel comfortable sharing with people in real life.
Create an online course
If you want to share your knowledge with others and make some money in the process, creating an online course is one of the best things to do online in your spare time.
Start a business
You can start an online business from anywhere. You just need a laptop, a few hours of time, and some money to get you going. You can create an e-commerce store, drop ship products, or sell digital services.
Travel the world virtually
Armchair travel is one of the best benefits of the internet. If you’re curious about what other parts of the world look like, search for places on Google Maps or Google Earth, or visit virtual museums and tours online.
Watch educational videos
There are many educational videos online that you can watch to learn new skills or increase your knowledge on certain topics. You could also go back to school and take free online classes through platforms like Coursera and edX.
Grow your skills with YouTube tutorials
If you have a specific skill in mind that you need to learn, YouTube has hundreds of thousands of tutorials uploaded by users all over the world that you can use to learn more about any topic imaginable.
If you’re a writer or want to start writing, blogging is a great way to share your work with the world. It doesn’t have to be anything serious – you could blog about travel, makeup tips, or even just your daily life.
Blogging is a great way of expressing yourself, and people will read it if the content is interesting enough.
Update your resume
Whether you’re currently searching for a job or not, updating your resume should be something you do on a regular basis.
You never know when a new opportunity might pop up – and having an updated resume handy at all times would make applying for it quicker and easier.
Learning digital marketing
You can use this downtime as an opportunity to learn about digital marketing, which is something that comes in handy when you’re starting a business or running an eCommerce store.
There are tons of free resources out there for learning the basics of marketing through social media, email, content, and more.
Play games that improve your brain power
If you want to boost your brainpower with some fun games, there are several websites and apps for that. Lumosity and Elevate are two popular options that offer various games for memory, math, writing, and other skills.
The best part is that these games adjust to your skill level and become more difficult as you get better at them.
Organize your life
The web is here to help you keep track of your schedule, contacts, files, notes, and more. Google Calendar keeps your calendar in sync across devices, Evernote takes notes for you and makes them searchable no matter where you are.
Dropbox syncs your files across multiple devices so that you can access them anywhere with an internet connection, and contact manager FullContact will keep track of all your friends and professional contacts in one place.
Learn how to code
The site walks you through lessons step by step, with little quizzes at the end of each lesson to make sure you’ve learned important concepts.
Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are audio shows that come in episodes, just like TV shows. They can be downloaded and listened to at any time on multiple devices, including computers and smartphones.
Podcasts can be about anything, from music to news. Use them as a way to stay informed or get inspired; there’s something for everyone online.
Research on a topic that interests you
Again, the Internet is a great place to learn new things. Type your topic of interest into Google and explore the results. You may discover something new and interesting that piques your curiosity even more.