Take advantage of being stuck at home by focusing on your career.

It’s easy to view being at home as a negative experience because of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. But if you change your mindset you’ll discover that this opportunity can be a blessing in disguise for your career.

Many individuals are experiencing a lull in their standard work schedule. Even if you’re currently working from home, you might find your hours are low because of a reduced workload. You can use this downtime to re-evaluate your career, learn new skills, make new connections, and discover new tricks for productivity.

We’ve put together 4 important things you can focus on to build your career, including a number of online resources and apps to help you get started.

1. Learn a new skill or grow an existing skillset with online courses.

Regardless of what career you’re in, if one thing is for certain it’s that you should never stop learning. Setting aside time to learn new skills or improve your current skills can be really tough under normal circumstances, which is why now is the perfect time to take a couple of courses.

There are a ton of different online learning platforms to choose from. Some of the most popular include:

  • Lynda: Now known as LinkedIn Learning, the quintessential online platform for career-building skills courses.
  • Skillshare: More on the creative side and ideal for careers in media, coding, design, and marketing.
  • Udemy: The world’s largest selection of online courses, with over 100,000 to choose from and more added monthly.
  • Coursera: A free platform designed by Stanford grads. Most courses/classes are free, with a fee only if you want certification.

If you’re not sure what you want to learn, consider starting off with high-demand skills like team management, executive decision-making, mobile app development, and video production. Check out this CNBC article for a list of 25 high-demand skills

2. Build relationships or discover new opportunities for your career.

Not everyone will agree that networking is fun, but one thing we can all agree on is that it’s essential for a successful career. Networking helps you build a name for yourself, gives you an opportunity to assess your qualifications, improves your soft skills and people skills, and opens up doors to new opportunities.

If you’re not a huge fan of networking, you can take a moment to rejoice because social distancing means networking is taking place online right now.

Some ideas for things to do include:

  • Updating your LinkedIn profile and reaching out to others on the site.
  • Scheduling video chat meetings via Zoom or Skype for promising connections.
  • Staying active (and interactive) on your business social media profiles.
  • Keeping in touch with higher-ups and offer your help.
  • Checking in with past connections to see how they’re doing.
  • Taking a look at job boards to see who is currently hiring.

For more ideas on networking during this unusual time, take a moment to read this Forbes article.

3. Sit back and relax with self-help books focused on your career goals.

Taking the time to relax, unwind, and de-stress is really important considering how hectic life is for many people at the moment. You can combine relaxation with building your career and growing your skills by reading books aimed at your own personal or professional goals.

Here are a few specific titles to get you started:

Amazon is a great source for finding books related to your specific career. You can find best-selling lists for Accounting, Human Resources, Business Culture, Real Estate, and more.

If you enjoy listening to audiobooks, check out Audible.com. You can find their business-related library here.

4. Experiment with productivity apps to see what works best for you.

Increasing your productivity is useful for just about every facet of your life, but especially your career.

If you’ve never worked from home before you might be discovering that teleworking can be pretty tough when it comes to keeping distractions at bay and staying productive. This is even truer if you have kids who also happen to be home right now.

The good news is that there is an incredible number of resources available to help you improve your productivity while working from home, and right now is the perfect time to experiment with what works before you head back to the office.

We’ve broken down these productivity boosters into three different categories.

Organization and Planning

Project and Team Management

Time Management

The efficiency of productivity tools really comes down to individual preferences. One app might be a complete life-changer for one person while it flops for another. Take a look at your phone’s app store and see what you can find that catches your interest, and test the system out for a few days to see if it works for you.

Now is a great time to re-evaluate your career and decide where to go next.

The wonderful thing about experiencing a big change in your typical lifestyle is that it gives you an opportunity to reflect on important areas of your life.

You might discover that you’re very happy with your career or you might discover that you want to shift to something different. Even working from home might show you that you love the teleworking lifestyle and want to pursue that full-time when work returns to normal. Maybe working from home even ignites that fire to start a business and be your own boss.

Right now you have a unique chance to really evaluate your career and see how your career is progressing. Whatever you learn will be valuable so keep an open, positive mindset.