Redefining How We Use Our Time

Monday Author: Susanne Skinner

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time,
for that is the stuff life is made of.
 ~ Ben Franklin

I’ll do it when I have time ~ Everybody

The world is going through a lot right now. COVID-19 is overwhelming us, with worldwide infections topping one million. Unemployment is at a record 6.6 million, with a projected loss of 20 million jobs. The financial impact to individuals and businesses is staggering.

antique clock, time, timelessFlorida’s governor delayed his entrance to the stay-at-home party. I’m embarrassed, because his failure jeopardized the collective ability to flatten the curve. Our state has over 12,300 diagnosed cases and deaths stand at 221.

Despite the G-man’s lack of leadership, a large number of businesses, offices and residents opted to shelter in place without a directive. Quarantined in our homes, we’re redefining the gift of time and the ways we use it. We’re doing things differently.

Time to Stay at Home

Finding time—an odd way to describe the twenty-four hours we’re gifted every day of our lives. We use it without really thinking about it. How often do we wish for more of it, claiming we’ll invest it wisely and save some for things that matter?

Time is something we manage, compartmentalizing hours for work, family, social events and a million other things. Most of them involve leaving the house—going somewhere to accomplish our tasks. Now we work from home, shop from home, and we sit at home. It’s the new world order.

I live in paradise, and am mostly retired. I don’t mind staying home but because I have to stay, I am restless and think about leaving. It’s the way my mind works, so I’m re-imagining my use of time, because a lot of it is unclaimed. Within the boundaries of my home and yard, I’m learning to appreciate the time this isolation creates. Perhaps, when this is over, I will know new ways to enjoy it. 

Doing the Same Thing Differently

foosball, ballerina, differentI still do the things I love, using new resources and ways of execution. The British say needs must, meaning a course of action you prefer to avoid is forced upon you. That pretty much describes my current situation, so I’m making the most of it.

I’m doing many of the same things, just a bit differently:

  • Reading: My library card gets a weekly workout, but libraries are closed. I enjoy the way a book feels and had no desire to explore other options—until now. The library app for audio books is free and I read on my tablet.
  • Daily Walks: These still happen. I make sure to get myself outside for a walk or bike ride. Fresh air and a change of scenery will never be undervalued again.
  • Daily Interactions: Zoom and FaceTime check-ins keep us connected and we see each other. I took these services for granted until I began using them for non-work communications. Since we can’t be together, getting on a group Zoom call is the next best thing.
  • Research and Writing: Still a regular practice, but I dedicate time each day so   projects aren’t rushed and time does not run out. The result is a better product.
  • Craft Projects: These keep my hands and mind engaged. By choosing projects slightly above my skill level, I challenge myself. They take longer but hey—plenty of time here! I pace myself so there is less frustration and time to learn new techniques.
  • Cooking and Baking: Cookbooks sitting on a shelf are rediscovered.    Bookmarked recipes for future efforts beckon me to the kitchen.  I’ve always wanted to make authentic Pad Thai from scratch. To that end, I purchased shelf stable ingredients months ago and…they were still on the shelf.  I launched myself into it. The result was delicious and, as it turns out, I don’t ever want to make it again. The same goes for puff pastry. I earned the bragging rights and I’m moving on.

More of the Same

  • Resting: I don’t take naps and find it impossible to sleep during the day. Resting though, shows me the value of doing nothing. I have time to waste, except this new knowledge assures me resting is a valuable way to spend an hour of my time.
  • Nature: Staying home reveals what you miss when you are away or too busy to notice. We’re enjoying an extended stay in Puerto Backa Yarda, discovering how our garden grows and who lives in the water.
  • Television: Watching a good TV series or movie is another way to spend time together and appreciate that you can. I avoid the news channels and have a new appreciation for Netflix.
  • Event Management: I occasionally do contract work for favorite clients. I mindfully chose the work I accept. Re-balancing my time includes projects for meaningful use of my time and skills. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I am glad to be out of the full-time workforce. My thoughts are with colleagues feeling the burn of a broken economy.

It’s Only Temporary

Our sense of time is skewed by this isolation. Days tend to blur, life according to the clock and calendar is suspended. The threat of boredom is real; things we have to accomplish seem less urgent because there is always tomorrow. This new world order challenges us to establish a cadence that values time in meaningful ways.

Wallace Shawn, Vizzini, It's only Wednesday, Inconceivable, The Princess Bride, Social media, IMHO, is a politically charged landscape usually not worth the investment. Mandated isolation means it’s also a good way of letting one another know we’re OK. The garbage is still there, but people are tapping into kindness and caring, using social time to stay connected.

This will pass. We’ll be smarter and value time differently. Stay safe, say healthy, stay home. You have all the time you need.

PSA:

  • The American Red Cross needs blood donations. You can schedule a donation time here.
  • Information on filing for unemployment is here.

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