It's Time to Do the Things You Keep Putting Off. Here's How

 wired.com  03/25/2020 11:00:00   Lauren Goode

So youre stuck at home. Lets assume, for a brief moment of Best Case Scenario, thats the worst of your problemsthat youre otherwise healthy, just in self-imposed isolation for the foreseeable future while the world tries to stop the spread of Covid-19. You or your family are somehow holding it together; occasionally you have a short reprieve from keeping your kids occupied; and youve already cleaned your home or apartment top to bottom.

Now might be a good time to reset and address some of the personal-life projects you've been putting off. Its one of a few ways to stave off anxiety, feel less stressed about your personal affairs, build community, and maybe even learn a thing or two.

This doesnt mean you have to develop new methods of mathematics or pen Shakespearean masterpieces; its annoying, truly, that a modern society so intent on maximizing human output would default to these suggestions during a pandemic. And a little mental break in the form of Netflix or TikTok is justified when the walls between work and personal life have become so porous and the news is mostly bad. But there are some small things you can do that might help temporarily void feelings of existential despair.

Do Your Taxes

Just kidding, its miserable to lead with that one. But well come back to that. Youre going to have to do it eventually, even if the US deadline for federal tax filings has been pushed.

Smash That Unsubscribe Button

Back when life was normal, you opted into emails from barre studios, your kindergarten alma mater, custom woodworking shops, and every newsletter known to man. Now your inbox is a dumpster fire, only made more evident by the many letters of notice being sent out about how businesses are responding to coronavirus. Time to unsubscribe.

There are apps that offer to unsubscribe you from emails in bulk, but Ive found the best way to tackle this is to just do it one-by-one. Look for the Unsubscribe option that often appears in minuscule text near the footer of an email. Frequently, clicking on that will kick you out to another web page and require you to check Unsubscribe again. Gmail and Outlook also offer List-Unsubscribe options in the header of emails; Google says it does some extra stuff when you use this option, including automatically moving emails from that sender to spam for 30 days since it may take time for the sender to remove you from their list.

Whats frustrating is that, even with those measures, you might still get unwanted marketing emails for a while. Some businesses, like clothing retailer Reformation, have continued to send me emails weeks after I first clicked Unsubscribe. But doing this should eventually put you on the path to a more organized inbox, one that prioritizes personal emails, important news alerts, and updates from services you care about.

Organize Your Photos

The coronavirus generation might not have boxes of physical photos to sort through some day, but a lot of us still have photographic relics from a previous era. Nows a good time to open those boxes, scan your photos, and store them in the cloud.

The WIRED Gear writers are fans of PhotoScan by Google Photos, a free app from Google that works on both iPhones and Android phones. The app does a remarkable job of helping you line up and frame photos and eliminating glare from glossy printouts. And it auto-shares the resulting image to both your phones camera roll and the Google Photos app. Bonus: If your child is old enough to play games or snap their own selfies with your phone, they might be fantastic little helpers with this project.

Wear Out Your Kindle

We all have those friends who post their end-of-year reading lists comprised of the dozen (or 15!) books theyve managed to read that year. This is your chance to join the club, and also, to get off Twitter for a short period. WIRED writers and editors have compiled several great book lists for you to consider, including this list of 13 must-read books for spring and 12 science books you should read right now (along with my colleague Megan Molteni, I can personally recommend the top item on the list, Inheritance by Dani Shapiro). If youre not able to browse the shelves of your local bookstoreand many of us are not right nowyou can download these to your Kindle or Kindle app.

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