One of the ways I keep myself entertained at night before I go to bed, is to look for a few hashtags that I follow and check the “latest” results on Twitter. They are a broader cross-section of posts than the most popular tweets and often contain information that the mainstream media has ignored or deemed less newsworthy. Some of them are quite interesting and I go prospecting to discover more about my chosen topics. Some of the recent posts had to do with things that people are doing to fill their time while in quarantine.
I have my own ideas about things I like to do. I could watch a series of movies like the Marx Brothers. I have good memories of being in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the early 80s during my Junior Year Abroad and seeing some of them with my host family. As an American in Paris, I was the US personal representative for all things American and while I had no special knowledge of les frères Marx, I had quasi-celebrity status just being from the land of Hollywood.
While Marx brothers’ movies might not be your cup of tea, a phone call I got this morning from Think Local President Jeff Ball might be closer to what you had in mind: a physical fitness challenge. Jeff is issuing a push-up challenge and wanted some Facebook advice. I have seen a basement challenge, attic challenges, barn challenges and other such cleaning chores hit social media as first choice topics for the type-A personality, must-be-productive people. There are infinite numbers of Netflix series challenges, diet challenges, and abstinence challenges (appropriate for lent), but it seems like there is still room for more.
People with plenty of time on their hands have made graphs, Venn Diagrams, and work-breakdown structures (WBS) worthy of a professional project manager to spur interest and compete. There are flow charts detailing the different phases of quarantine assimilation: fear, boredom, complacency, learning modes and acceptance. Most of us go through many of these phases daily as we sort out the various current needs, future needs and limitations of living in social isolation and coping with the frightening news of the day.
So what things are important for a good #quarantinechallenge? First, be willing to step out of your comfort zone. If you’re not really challenged, then it’s pointless. Second, recognize that others may not share your enthusiasm for the selected topic. Third, include something reportable.
Here are ten suggestions for #quarantinechallenges:
- #packratchallenge: Pick one drawer or box and divide it into two piles – one you keep, and one you give or throw away. Post your results.
- #youstillmatterchallenge: Pick a friend you have not spoken to in a while and give them a call out of the blue. I had this happen today and was grateful for it. Before the end of the call, challenge them to do the same.
- #dreadedmaintenancechallenge: Do the one thing you hate to do most, whether its cleaning the gutters, “recycling” fertilizer from the dog area, or balancing your checkbook (do people still do that?). Post your accomplishment and how long it took you.
- #challengechallenge: Come up with challenges that other people can do during a quarantine. (Check mine off for today…)
- #deadparrotchallenge: Watch one randomly chosen episode of Monty Python a day and stop when you get to the skit about the dead parrot. Post how many episodes it took you to get there.
- #icansingchallenge: Join the quarantine karaoke public group on Facebook and perform one song.
- #dressforsuccesschallenge: Put on your work clothes and post a photo before you head to the other room to start your day. Kudos to Walter Reynolds and others in my group of friends who have provided the inspiration for this challenge.
- #ifixeditchallenge: Show a novel way to life hack or otherwise repair something that has been bothering you WITHOUT going to the store first. Post the results, preferably with photos.
- #healthychoiceschallenge: Make one New Year’s-style resolution and make a public announcement that you plan to keep it through the quarantine—and longer if you choose.
- #itwasntbrokenuntilIfixeditchallenge: This goes with number 8 for those who did not actually manage to fix anything. Consider it the consolation prize for this stay-at-home game. Photos are required as well as the ability to accept some gentle ribbing from your friends.
So keep calm and stay home. This too shall pass. If you enjoyed these suggestions, please let me know. – Henry.