There are few things in life that are more important than time. The amount of time that we have might seem vast, but tomorrow is never guaranteed. This is a perspective on life that I have hammered into myself within the past year as a result of both personal experiences and books that I have read. With this newly found perspective, I have realized that when given back time otherwise spent on specific obligations in our busy life, there is no better way to utilize it than to focus on personal development and family. This is important to realize with the recent pandemic forcing lockdowns all over the world, freeing up more time than we know what to do with it and most of that spent fighting off boredom in unproductive ways. Contrary to how most view productivity, it is actually the best way to fight boredom during this time and can help you in various ways like learning a new skill, finding a new passion or interest, or connecting with family and friends. I have stayed happy and sane during this time by keeping productive and hope that some of my reflection will help you in maximizing your time during this time of isolation.
The first thing to remember during this time in lockdown is that this isn’t going to end in the near term. While I, like everyone else, remain optimistic about the proposed end dates to the lockdown by our local governments, the reality is that experts believe the impacts of COVID-19 will last for two years. This isn’t to say that we will be under lockdown for the whole time, but what it does say is that life in the near future will not operate anywhere close to how it was before the pandemic occurred. Unfortunately, this means that time typically spent on social activities we loved and cherished before the lockdown will remain in a holding pattern for the time being leaving us with free time and limited ways to spend it. This is an environment perfect for your productive mind to thrive in and should be spent improving your well-being.
Pick up a new skill to develop your career, find a new interest or passion and improve your communication with family and friends during this time. These three areas might not have been of much interest to you prior to COVID-19, but improving in at least one or all of these areas will improve your well-being. Career development should be a no brainer because in uncertain economic times like today, job security and advancement should be top of mind for everyone. Finding a new interest and passion should fulfill the serotonin levels typically generated by the social activities we miss the most and getting in touch with your family is something that is incredibly important in life because family and friends are the most reliable support system we will ever have. Ideally spread your free time among each of these areas, but do it in chunks of time because there is no way that you can focus on all at once and stay consistent in the long run.
With your mind now focused on these areas and a strategy in place, the question remains of what resources are required to execute successfully. The best part about answering this question is that each of these activities are free or inexpensive with the help of technology. With career development or the pursuit of a new passion, there are limitless free resources that can be found and accessed by a simple Google search. You can find numerous authoritative blogs on the topic you want to explore or improve in, utilize your public library for its free digital library and even access otherwise paid services that are being offered for free or at discounted prices during quarantine from companies like Coursera, Udacity and Udemy. Do your research and find out which resources will be best suited to execute your strategy.
When getting in touch with friends and family the choices are even simpler. Give them a call or if you want a more personal interaction then there are endless free video choices like Zoom, which offers 45 minutes of free video calls to any user, Google Hangouts which is offered to every Google account for free or built in video call functions for both iOS and Android devices. All of the resources I listed make it inexcusable to not be able to reach out to friends and family!
There has never been a better time to be productive than during this pandemic. Eventually life will go back to normal and we will lose this free time so consider that when you wake up tomorrow and think about what you will do today. Quit making excuses and come up with a strategy to improve your well-being. Block out your distractions and make solid personal progress today!