You are in a queue at the bank, anxious. You are using your lunch break to solve a problem and your head is far away, wondering if you remembered to put the children’s snack in their backpack before running to work. When unexpectedly (well, not so much), the cashier asks for your card.
You blame yourself mentally for not having kept your wallet in your hand waiting and start the quest to find it in your purse. Spend the first two minutes groping inside that scary black hole, one minute trying to see something inside, with low or no visibility, and two more, untangling the charger cable from the house keys that had passed inside the keyring that you had hung on the wallet, exactly to find it faster when you needed it.
Phew, got it.
Then you go down and pick up the lipstick that fell when you took everything out of the bag, to try to organize it outside. Slowly, you lift your head, while everyone in the queue lined up behind you — most of them hurried at their lunch break as well — looks at you menacingly.
Your boss, who is in his office with a potential client, calls you. He wants you to show that service you did a few weeks ago and that you photographed with your private cell phone.
You say, of course, already sweating, cold.
Five minutes pass and nothing. The silence starts to get embarrassing as you run your fingers restlessly on the cell phone screen, going up and down the gallery, having no idea if it was taken before your cousin’s son’s birthday, or after that wonderful barbecue where your friend fell off the chair.
Once again the credit card bill arrives with a charge that you have no idea why you have been paying for at least six months. You curse the card operator out loud, then fold the invoice in half and place it in the sideboard drawer.
You are leaving home late, but you have to pick up your breakfast to eat on the way, so you open the left door of the cupboard in search of a simple plastic bowl to put your sandwich when suddenly you are half-buried by an avalanche of pots and caps, which had been unsteadily balancing there for a long time.
Oh! There is also that little mess room, which at best is just a drawer, but when you need to enter or open it, looking for something that you need, you equip yourself with a baseball bat, because you no longer know what species are living there.
I could stay here giving you examples for hours, but what all these situations have in common, and I can bet that you have identified with at least one of them so far, is that in each of these moments we invariably repeat to ourselves:
As soon as I have some time I will [insert here any verb as to do, solve, arrange, fix, provide, organize or clean] this!
I imagine that like me, you also have tons of things going through your head every day, things to solve, resolutions to make, an organization to do, people to contact, but you are always so involved in the turmoil of events that is your life, that you never find an ideal time to perform these tasks. You keep repeating to yourself: When I have a little time, I’ll do it!
And do you know when this moment appears? Never.
At least, not until now. The new reality that many of us are experiencing is, at best, being isolated at home. And if this is your situation, even though you still doing remote work, you have just recovered a little bit of something that was probably missing for a long time in your life. I mean, TIME.
And what are you doing with it? Huh?
There’s no point in disguising or looking around because your Netflix history doesn’t lie!
So how about getting up from the place you have been sitting and starting these tasks that you’ve been putting off all this time and maybe even having fun in the middle of this process? In the worst case, at least you will be less bored and in the best, you will be getting rid of a lot of daily problems that hinder your life!
Well, shall we start?
Sit down right now and put on paper all I HAVE TO… that you keep repeating to yourself every day and that has never been solved.
I know that many of these things are swirling in a mental limbo, which we only access in that immediate moment when the pendency appears beeping during our already exhausting routine, but please make an effort.
“We must use time creatively .” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
And here are some examples to try to help you remember!
Organization and Cleaning
- Decluttering of each room
- Detailed cleaning also by room (after decluttering, because we can’t organize mess!)
- Organize your cloud (OneDrive, Drive or other)
- Discard and rearrange all old gadgets (plus cables, batteries, memory sticks)
- Delete mobile applications that are no longer used
- Organize the mobile gallery (creating an album for each moment and also making backups if necessary)
- Organize the old photographs (and maybe separate some to reveal, after the quarantine, huh!)
Measures to be Taken
- Review the fees charged by for all your credit cards and your banks as well
- Make calls to your phone/internet/cable TV company to renegotiate fees
- Put your accounts on direct debit
- Organize your passwords in Google Wallet (or similar)
- Make important backups of external hard drives and flash drives
- Make sure all measures are taken to avoid problems in case your phone or notebook is stolen (this particularly always makes me mentally curse myself for not having resolved it yet when I am somewhere where I feel insecure)
- Separate all broken or damaged items that you do not want to donate, to take them all to repair (when the quarantine is over, remember?)
- Make that herbs garden at home, to eat better
- Get in touch with old friends and take the opportunity to strengthen ties in this moment of physical distance (special attention for friends with a historic of diseases such as depression)
Skills to Develop
- Update your resume (and Linkedin also included here)
- Try to learn a new language
- Try to develop some musical skill
- Try a new hobby
Now maybe the time for you to take a more distant view of your entire life planning as well. What is working? What is worth rethinking?
- Plan a daily routine
- Maybe also includes making meal planning
- Do a solid financial plan
Remember your home is a sanctuary and even more now, that you will spend a lot of time in it, so treat it with affection.
Take the opportunity to rethink, review, realign the route.
Take the opportunity to build habits, new routines, new goals because this is a process and this is a chance for you to achieve your goals with more calm and commitment.
Have you ever imagined how wonderful it will be when all this passes (AND WILL pass), you will look around you with that peace of mind of having done all those minimal things that bothered you daily?
And also being able to start a healthy, organized and more coherent routine?
We don’t need to be perfect, but it’s so nice to have an easy life and the feeling that we can have at least some things under our control since the vast majority of them are invariably out of it.
Finally, just to finish, I need to make an essential observation here.
Don’t do all of this that I wrote about because of guilt or anxiety, or as an escape to avoid having to deal with the concerns arising from these times of crisis. Don’t let your need to keep moving — because the feeling of standing still sounds like time wasted for you — confuse you and make you believe that we always have to be doing things. We don’t.
It’s awesome to be active and a doer, but we always need to have balance in everything.
And this situation also seems like a great opportunity to quieten ourselves and to perceive everything in a new way.
So, you can add CONTEMPLATION to your list too.