Our world has been upside down lately. Between working remotely, kids being out of school, and no childcare or housekeeping help, it seems that we might go insane any day. On the one hand, days seem to pass by slowly -mainly because we're looking at several more weeks of staying at home. On the other hand, we don't seem to have enough hours in the day to do what we need to do. How come? Lack of structure.
I wonder, now that we’re engaging in social distancing, do we have more time or less time for the things that matter to us? The short answer is... more time. This isn't apparent when we have to work remotely (not easy by any stretch of the imagination), take care of the kids, and do basic housekeeping.
How can we have more time, then? Well, consider the time you used to spend commuting to and from work, finding a parking spot wherever you went, going out with friends, or running errands on weekends. That's now unfilled space in your schedule. It's time not tied up in work, sleep, or regular household routines. It's open time that can be allocated to activities you couldn't tackle before because they never reached a “priority level.”
The bad news? That newfound time is being mindlessly wasted on low-value behaviors such as scrolling down our screens, taking longer than usual to complete routine tasks, not planning, and not prioritizing the important stuff.
If we start our day with precise goals in mind -family and work goals- our days will end up a lot more productive and feel fuller than if we just wake up wondering what we should do today. By bedtime, we’ll have the awful feeling of a lost day.
Personally, when this pandemic madness started, I was determined not to go to bed at night, feeling that I had squandered a single hour of my day. That doesn't mean I don’t unwind or lounge around during the day, of course not, I definitely do. It means that I handle my downtime mindfully, fully aware of what I'm doing, when, and why.
The COVID-19 pandemic is heartbreaking, no doubt. Yet, for most of us, it's also an opportunity to do what we always wanted to do, however, never prioritize it. Cross items off the "if I only had the time" list, like taking online courses to learn something new, watching TEDTalks on exciting topics, finding a nook to set up a hobby area. There is so much we can do even under stay-at-home orders that's a shame to spend this time passively waiting and wishing for the quarantine to expire.
Socializing is a must, and we should engage in some sort of virtual social activity. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. Virtual “happy hours” are truly social now, without the hassle of making reservations, driving, parking, etc. Curiously, in Before Breakfast -a podcast I love- Laura Vanderkam said that our brains can't discern between seeing someone in person or through a screen. So, even if through a screen, we still get the wonderful and essential feeling that comes from social interaction.
Try a new exercise routine, fun recipes, different make-up styles, research and start that personal project you always wanted to explore, stream a docu-series, or a movie you have heard so much about. Get more sleep! Involve your partner and children for amazing family fun.
There're so many enriching, relaxing, stimulating activities you can engage in now, that you don't want to look back at these weeks in 2020 and have nothing to account for. What exciting stories are you telling your friends in 15 or 20 years about your experience during the pandemic of 2020? This is the time to create those cool stories and to make memories with those closest to you. Don't let it go to waste. Thousands of people are suffering and grieving around the world. Those of us who are lucky enough to just be asked to stay home should be grateful for our health and make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
How are you spending your quarantine days? Have you started a new exciting project? Let us know! I would love to hear from you. If you liked what you read, like and share this post.