If you’ve been visiting this site for a while, you’ll know that one of my favorite themes is being mindful of how we use our time. This is an important skill during “peace” and I believe it’s even more vital, now we find ourselves effectively “at war”.
One thing that’s clear during the current COVID-19 pandemic is there are myriad experiences of it, all deeply personal:
- Some of us are in grave fear of catching the virus, while some of us are more acutely concerned for others.
- Some of us have seen our regular workload explode, while others are experiencing economic drought.
- Some of us are attempting to navigate the needs of multiple generations locked down in a small space. Others are experiencing bitter isolation.
Our tactics should be personal
And just as our experiences are different, so too are our tactics. Our practical and emotional needs, combined with personality types, mean that one person’s answer is to watch 16 hours of Netflix a day, while another cleans a closet. One person might be glued to the news, while another avoids it. For every writer who is forging ahead with their novel, there’s one who can’t get a single fresh word down. For every client of mine who’s eager now to begin their website project, there’s another who’s gone radio silent.
So, I’m not here to suggest a one-size-fits-all strategy. Each one of us is facing different tangible and emotional challenges, and I believe our actions need to respect both our natural tendencies, and the conditions in which we find ourselves.
However, I strongly encourage you to:
- Notice how you’ve spent time in recent days, and
- Decide if this mix is right for you.
Specifically, ask yourself this simple question:
What’s your mix right now of doing, worrying, and resting?
- “Doing” : This is any useful, productive work, paid or unpaid, which serves a goal that’s important to you, or a need in others. Examples for me: writing this article, working on a client’s website, buying groceries.
- “Worrying” : Non-productive time where you don’t achieve anything and you don’t feel better as a result. Examples for me: Scrolling through Facebook, obsessive news checking, researching rumors, stalking elusive grocery delivery slots for my parents.
- “Resting” : Any activity which soothes you, is good for your health, and helps you recover. Note that chores & errands you undertake for others are doing, not resting. Examples for me: running, sleeping, doing a jigsaw, having a Zoom chat with a friend (with conversation topics beyond you-know-what).
We all need a proportion of worry time. But I suggest most of us would benefit from diverting some of that time to resting or doing.
Your first step, therefore, is to simply notice. What has your mix been, in recent days? What are your worrying activities, which deplete your resilience, versus resting, which boosts it? How could you nudge your use of time to a little more action or self-care, instead?