notebook on table

There are some of us who live in places like San Diego, or Las Vegas, or Dallas, and never experience true winter weather. There’s no snow days, no frozen pipes, no downed internet from the snow. These cities may experience extreme heat or even “rain days” at school, but the winter time for them is often the easy months. This isn’t the case in places like New England, the Midwest, or even in some places in the Pacific Northwest. Their winters can reach a blistery cold below 20 degrees, which makes for wonderful White Christmases but also can mean a loss of power and wifi.

As people in these cold areas know, work and life don’t hit pause just because the roads are slick and the internet is down. One day off is okay, but a few days off can become very problematic. But what are you to do if the internet or — God forbid — all of your power is out? How can you keep your productivity up so you don’t come back to work with a mountain of to-dos? Here are four ideas for staying productive during these tough weather days if you’re stuck at home.

1. Brainstorm ideas.

No matter what industry you’re in, there’s always value in giving yourself time to brainstorm new ideas. This could be solutions to a problem your team is facing, a new approach to your business offering, a new system to encourage and collect employee feedback, or whatever else makes sense for your company and your role. Think outside the box and let the lack of online distractions allow you to brainstorm freely.

2. Write — as in, actually write.

If your power is out, your wifi is out. And if your power is out, your computer might be without power too. If this is the case, then you can still use the materials you have to write and be productive. It may feel weird after years of using Word and Google docs, but writing on paper is a way to keep working even while your power is out. What you write will vary depending on your line of work, but whatever it is, you can copy it over into your computer once you’re back online. There’s no excuse to sit around and wait if you have a paper and a pen.

3. Make to-do lists for your days, weeks, or months ahead.

If your job keeps you busy, it can feel like you’re only able to look at what’s on your plate each day and not beyond that. However, it can give you peace of mind and minimize stress to look at the tasks beyond the immediate day. You can make adjustments to your workload to be as efficient as possible, plus when you know what’s coming you won’t be caught off guard when something big comes up that you need to tackle. Use your time stuck inside to look ahead at the work you have coming, as well as map out any personal to-dos that you need to accomplish (e.g. planning a certain trip, ordering a gift for someone, etc.).

4. Read a book.

Sometimes being productive means doing something other than work. That doesn’t mean watching a show on Netflix though. Having no wifi or no power, or just not having access to the materials in your office that you need, is a great opportunity to crack open that book you’ve been meaning to read. Or find a free book. You’ll continue to be productive and may actually learn something valuable that’ll help you in your job. At the very least, it’s a way to do something at home besides just wait for the electricity to return.


  • Rachael is based out of San Diego but grew up in rural Oregon. She loves a SoCal lifestyle, especially because it means reading books at the beach in the evening. She's passionate about women finding success in the workplace and loves to write about her learnings from it.