Time is a commodity that you get for free and yet is the most precious one we have.
Time is a commodity that you get for free and yet is the most precious one we have. Seneca said the following in regards to time.
“People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”
“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”
“But life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.”
Seneca and most other early philosophers had a keen understanding of time and just how precious it was for them.
As the current Covin-19 epidemic unfolds I am sure everyone will learn a lot about themselves and the people that they are sequestered with. How we make use of this time will say a lot about us and what will come for us later.
With the reduction of travel, and businesses of all sizes and scope closing or asking their employees to work from home, this gives most of us an opportunity. The opportunity lies in the fact we will have more time “for us” on our hands. Routines will change and what time was once used for a commute or preparing children for school or daycare will now be ours to use more judiciously. The time some people would spend performing a job will have to be filled with other things. For some people, this will be a large financial burden to suffer from the temporary loss of income while others will just be asked to perform their job from the confinement of their home.
The stress that will be caused by a lack of movement will be great for some while others will be happy with the new normal. Some will find that they lack the sense of meaning and responsibility that the job they did provided and will search for something else to fill the void. While others will quickly fall into sloth and choose to do nothing. There lies the opportunity, what do we do with all of the time we have been given back.
The inclination for most of us will be to binge on Netflix and Amazon Prime shows or mindlessly surf the web, looking at this time like we would if we were snowed in or our plane had been delayed.
If we choose to take that route we will come out the other side of this no better than we came in it. To coin a phrase from Eminem “Look if you had one shot, or one opportunity To seize everything you ever wanted, one moment would you capture it or just let it slip” I know it seems dramatic but if the opportunity can be recognized by a young rapper from Detroit then I think we all have that opportunity.
So how can we make good use of this time we have been given? First thing is to recognize it as a gift regardless of the circumstance, which will change your perception of it to one of an imposition to one of opportunity.
Second I recommend making a list if you don’t already have one of the things that need your attention. For most of us, our lists will look something like this
List of things to do
Clean out garage
Teach daughter how to play chess
Read a few books
Talk with a partner about “ “
Lists are great for arranging your thoughts and getting them out of your head so you have an opportunity to get them accomplished. I use what I call a capture list and add and subtract from it every morning. I use it to get things out of my head and onto the page where I can prioritize and measure my progress on projects. Some will be easy to get done others I need to develop a plan for. For me it allows to free up my headspace to concentrate on other tasks I am working on at the moment, allowing me the rest assured I have them written down in one place so I won’t forget any of them.
After you have worked your way through some of your lists you will start to feel a sense of accomplishment and will ask yourself why it has taken so long to get some of these things done. Once this has been done you will start to wonder what else could I get done and perhaps you will turn your attention to self-improvement of some sort. Perhaps you will start to cultivate a contemplative practice or work on some self-reflection.
You may even start some daily rituals given the time you have. Whatever it is that you are working on or towards rest assured with a list just like a map you will be able to mark your progress as you move forward.