Updated: Apr 14, 2020
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By: Daniel Gomez | @dagomesco
Let me start by saying that the first thing we need to kill is the concept that time needs to be “killed” at all. On the contrary, time needs to be “invested”, and when it comes to cultivating a mindset of positivity and growth, language matters, so let's shift our mindset and actions from "killers” to “investors". I would go even further and say that there is no better time than NOW to make that shift.
We are all living through unprecedented times. The physical distancing required to slow down the spread of COVID-19 has forced us to stay in our homes for way more time than we are used to. This creates the false perception that the mobility restrictions have put a limit to the number of options we have when trying to figure out what to do with our time. When in reality, the set of options is practically infinite, especially considering we have access to nearly all human knowledge and creativity at our fingertips, and in an instant.
But don’t get me wrong, I will be the first to acknowledge that not being able to leave our homes makes a lot of really good options suddenly unavailable, but this just highlights the need to shift our focus from a restriction based mentality to a possibility based mentality. Instead of thinking of all the things you can NOT do right now, start thinking of all the things you CAN.
Even better, remember all those things you have been wanting to do for a while and didn’t seem to have the time for? Now is the time to do them. Doing many of those things has suddenly become possible, simply because a significant portion of our day has been freed up by not having to commute as often.
Because let’s be clear, we don’t have any “extra time” compared to what we had before. Our allotment of time hasn’t changed, we still all have the same 24 hours in a day, all of us. We have simply freed up time which was previously committed to other activities.
So now that we have more “free time”, how do we invest it well? I would start by pointing out that making “good” use of your time is a matter of perspective, only you know what makes your time investments worthwhile, and as such, only you can determine what activities qualify as good time investments.
And the reason I say all of this is because one of the things that has surprised me the most in these trying times is how many people seem to be struggling to make “good” use of all the “extra time” they now have under quarantine. It surprised me, because I have the complete opposite problem, I never seem to have enough time to do all the things that I want to do.
This made me reflect on the WHY behind this difference, and as I mentioned at the beginning, I think it’s a matter of mindset. I have been cultivating and practicing what I consider “good time investment techniques” for years now, but my awareness of the importance of this practice has increased significantly since I decided to buy myself an entire year of my time to do whatever I wanted.
As a result of having complete ownership of how I invest my time every single day for over a year now, I have been able to identify some habits and mindsets that make the value that I get from all the time investments I do, skyrocket, regardless of mobility restrictions.
Let me share some of them with you.
Remain curious and nourish your creativity. All that extra time you wish you had, now you have it. Indulge your mind and explore new things. Let yourself be amazed. Tackle big projects, they will give you a great sense of satisfaction when completed.
Get cooking. Having a choice and contributing (even if a little), in creating what keeps you alive and well, is an investment worth making.
Connect with others, even if only through digital means for now. Give out lots of love. To your pet, friends, family, plants, and most importantly to yourself. Be your own best friend.
Smile. Go ahead, hold that smile for a few more seconds. Can you feel the sense of happiness yet?
Cultivate a mindset of Gratitude. It is easy to take for granted all the things that we enjoy every day, as they seem intrinsic to our way of life, but every single thing we use, own, or eat, had to be first created and transported to you with the help of many hands. Value the things that you can do instead of regretting the things you can’t.
Slow down the pace of life. Be present. Be mindful. Enjoy being. You have nowhere else to be than the HERE and NOW.
Go into airplane mode every once in a while. Unplug to recharge. Connect with, and enjoy, the small things in your day. Savour your cup of coffee. That song you love, listen to it attentively.
Tame the need of your brain to want to be everywhere at once, this is especially important with the overflow of online activity screaming for our attention right now. Be mindful of what constitutes being informed.
Cherish the feeling of freedom and liberation that comes from owning your time. Don't count days, make every day count. Being able to do the things we want comes with responsibility and empowerment. Embrace it.
Maximize the value you get out of doing chores and cultivate conscious habits. Plan ahead and multiply the return of your time investments. You can listen to audiobooks, podcasts, or long winded voice notes while you wash the dishes, or exercise while you clean. Do squats, lunges, or any position that works your muscles safely, even a one leg stand when you are brushing your teeth will help. Build and enjoy your rituals.
I hope these learnings and practices help you through these difficult times. We are all in this together and need to support each other.
Subscribe, follow us, and leave us a comment on what other habits or mindsets you have developed that help you get the most out of your life.
Thank you for your time investment.