5 Productive Things To Do During a Blizzard (or any night stuck at home)

It’s Friday night. You’re stuck at home while a blizzard terrorizes your neighborhood. Instead of vegging out to a “Downton Abbey” marathon or watching Gangnam Style baby dance videos on YouTube (I’m guilty of the latter), here are five productive things you can do as Nemo drops the white stuff—or any night of the week. Oh, and electricity is required.

1. Update your resume: It’s something you never get around to doing but needs to be done. Crack open your laptop and edit away. I actually did this tonight and I’m so glad it’s done. I added that fashion class I took last fall, the Gen J session I co-taught at the Excellence in Journalism conference in September, and I revamped my current job bullets.

2. Check out Ed2010.com: In the WhisperJobs™ section, there are several great gigs listed for entry-level journalists including a couple of paid internships at InStyle magazine in NYC and a freelance editorial assistant position at Parents magazine in NYC. This is a wonderful resource for journalists who are trying to get their feet in the door.

3. Download the language app Duolingo: Last weekend’s WSJ newspaper tipped me off to this cool, free app that helps you learn a language through fun games. I downloaded it on my iPhone earlier this week and I’ve been brushing up on the French that I learned in college. I’m surprised how fast it’s coming back to me. C’est incroyable!

4. Add five new connections on LinkedIn: Find some interesting people that you’d like to know or who work at cool places. When you request to link up with them, tell them why: “we have a mutual friend” or “I love the magazine you write for.” If they accept, you never know where that connection may lead. If they ignore your request, move on and add someone else.

5. Reach out to former co-workers: See how they’re doing in their new job and catch up on any office gossip they might have missed. I caught up with my ex co-worker last night to tell her about all the layoffs at Time Inc. last week (sigh!). Looking for a new job (as so many are now)? Your former co-workers are sometimes the BEST resource for job leads and your next assignment.

Jennifer Nicole Sullivan is a writer at Real Simple, a Time Inc. magazine in New York City. She’s also a fashion, arts and entertainment contributing writer for the weekly paper Newport Mercury in Newport, R.I., and a member of SPJ’s Generation J committee. And she’s still a Dallas girl! Follow her on Twitter @trendyjenny and check out her website jennifernicolesullivan.com.


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  • Jennifer, I’m in the Pacific NW so we don’t get blizzards where I live, but I love your tips! They are great for anytime I am idle, but don’t want to just waste my time idly. I hadn’t heard of Duolingo or Ed2010.com. Thanks for the great ideas.

  • Jennifer Sullivan

    Hi Dana,
    Thanks so much for your note! There’s another free language learning app called Busuu that was also mentioned in last weekend’s WSJ that I downloaded. I haven’t tried it yet because I’m having so much fun with Duolingo. I do quick lessons as I’m watching TV or riding on the bus to work. I highly recommend it! Jennifer

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    “Instead, I offered to help those students launch their own newspaper if they’d stop attacking the one that’s been on campus for nearly 150 years. Alas, I never heard back.”

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