Time. It’s the one thing people always want more of. We hear it over and over...
“Oh, I would love to that but I just don’t have the time”
“I meant to do that but I ran out of time”
“It just doesn’t fit in the schedule”
Time is a funny concept. Because it’s one thing you can’t buy but you get to spend it however you want. But more often than not, we find ourselves spending it on things we NEED to do and not leaving any time for the things we WANT to do. I’m sure if you ask most people the things that fill up their schedules are more so obligations and not desires. It’s this “lack of time” problem that often stands in the way between us and our aspirations, goals, and hobbies. It would seem like a dream if someone (let’s say hypothetically the government) told us that we no longer had obligations after work or school. If someone said that all activities and sports were canceled and all your favorite bars and restaurants were closed. Let’s just really stretch our imaginations and say we also shouldn't be within 6 feet of another person. Something tells me if this were the case our schedules would open up a bit more but how would we choose to spend those extra hours?
Okay, nothing really hypothetical here, this is what we are dealing with right now. In Wisconsin, we are experiencing the Safer at Home Order. This is an order from Governor Evers for the general public to stay at home, in hopes to flatten the curve of COVID-19. This order omits the essential workers. So first and foremost GOD BLESS those people that are providing us with the resources we still need. They are the ones that are putting themselves at a higher risk during this pandemic to assure we have the things we need to function... AT HOME. So please do them a favor and stay at home because I’m sure they wish they were in your shoes.
“Time is more value than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” – Jim Rohn
Stop Watching the Clock
My first week of self-quarantine reminded me a lot of grade school when the teachers would save the end of class for work time. My “work time” usually turned into me just staring at the clock, watching the second hand slowly tick. (You never realize how long a minute is until you follow the second hand around a clock) I was killing time and just waiting in anticipation for the bell to ring and class to be over. That’s exactly what I was doing my first week of quarantine. I had been handed this free time and it felt like I was just counting down the days until it was over. As the days passed and I followed the news, I realized that even after my 14 days of self-quarantine, life wasn’t going to resume back to normal for quite some time. So inevitably I had two options: keep staring at the clock or much like my grade school teachers would scold me, “use my time wisely”.
This is a time that honestly we never assumed would be given to us. Choose to see the silver lining in this uncertain, uprooting, scary (or whatever adjective you choose to use) situation. I challenge you to use this free time for the things you normally make excuses for in your everyday life because you never have the time. We have literally been prescribed the order to stay at home. So stop watching the clock. Your schedule just became wide open and for the first time, maybe ever, you can fill it with whatever you want. There’s no practices after school, no raging house party to attend this weekend, or no work gathering you HAVE to go to. Those after school and work obligations currently are on pause and you are left with the challenge of staying motivated and filling your time with things you want.
Define Your Own Productivity
Maybe it’s just me but I have this odd fear of not being productive or wasting a day. I don’t know when this mindset was instilled in me but I think it has a lot to do with being a college athlete. If you weren’t “productive” every day you were probably falling behind on something. Whether that be your fitness, your school work, your social life, or your goals. Because of this, I learned that every single day mattered and I never wanted to waste a day. I thoroughly enjoy being busy with a full schedule. I love running here and there and then going to grab coffee with a friend and making it right on time for this and that. Well, given the current circumstances there are some clear obstacles with my normal “productive day” routines. The first one being I shouldn’t even walk out my front door. It took me a while to accept the fact that this is the situation we are in and I now had all this unexpected free time. So finally, I made a schedule with things I wanted to do and some things I needed to do but most importantly I redefined what it meant for me to be productive.
When I sat down and thought about what it meant for me to have a “productive day” it was clear that my definition of productivity went hand in hand with my values and goals. If my values include being the best daughter/sister/aunt/friend I can be, continuously learning, building a career, and staying fit, then anything that correlates with those values will make me feel productive. You need to find your own definition of “productive”. What is it that you’re going to do to fill this time? Everyone’s definition of productivity is SO different.
For example, I don’t view it as wasted time if I sit down and watch a movie with my family at night or if I get curious about the act of forming a habit and find myself 8 tabs deep on Google learning all about the basal ganglia part of the brain or if I spend a significant part of my day prepping meals or exercising. I feel productive. To some, those things could seem like a total waste of time, but for me they aren’t because I’m investing time into the things I value. Family, learning, and my health.
So after accepting the things I couldn't do and started looking at all the things I could still do, I started creating my daily routine. I’m not saying this is the tell all but for me it is what I needed to assure I wasn’t just staring at the clock watching it tick. I wanted to make sure that I was filling my days with things that I enjoyed but yet hold onto the satisfaction of being productive. I guess that’s my challenge for you. Redefine productivity during this unique time of our lives. Have your productivity be directly correlated with your values and your goals, meaning that you take some of your free time and fill it with things you enjoy. Pick up a good book, call an old friend, have family dinners, try a new diet, try a fitness challenge, binge Netflix with your significant other, learn a new language, play with your kids, really pick anything that seems to “never fit in the schedule”.
We now have the time. We are all out of excuses. That’s the exact reason I finally found myself cleaning and unpacking my boxes from college that were stacked high in my parent’s basement… (I moved out of college a year ago) Clearly, I was great at making excuses delaying this task but now I was out of excuses. I now had the time, as most of us do. It will just depend how you choose to spend this time. Be productive but your definition of productive. Be a little selfish and make sure you save some time for something you enjoy. In the end, no day will feel wasted if you are doing the things you value.
Every day won’t be perfect. There might be days you’re bored, you don’t feel motivated, or you feel unproductive. Remember, that everyday that you stay home, you are actually playing a huge role in stopping this pandemic and you are showing your thanks to the essential workers all around the country. So enjoy your free time, define productivity however the hell you want, and even if you decide to watch all 9 seasons of The Office in one week… Thank you for doing your part.
Click LOG IN at the bottom to subscribe to my page... THEN comment below with how you define productive? What new things are you doing during this time? How are you staying motivated?