How to make the most of a global pandemic.

Some background:

A couple of months ago, I realized that my schedule had slowly become tightly packed. Although I enjoyed my life, I felt both busy and unproductive. Sometimes it seemed like the daily responsibilities of life kept me from working on what was truly important.

There is a dark side to running on all four cylinders for months on end. When designing a life, there are infinitely many activities to sign up for: infinitely many ways to fill your time. The tricky part is not filling up your life with commitments, but instead deciding exactly what you should spend your time on. What does a perfect day look like for you? This is a question that no one asks. The answer might surprise you, and it might reveal ways to improve your experience while social distancing. If we put our minds to it, we can still find ways to have fun. Once you define your ideal activities and goals, a near-perfect day is probably within your grasp. Here are a few ideas of what to work on during your period of extra time.

Exercise daily:

Past me always used the excuse of “No time today,” every time he was lazy. Now, every day contains plenty of time; blocks to be used however I choose. I’m not planning on hardcore anaerobic training (yet), but I’m always aiming for around 45 minutes of aerobic exercise. This is the crucial medicine that helps me to continue functioning at the highest level I can.

Prioritize Focused Work:

After exercise in the morning, I launch straight into my Spanish class. I’m slowly beginning to comprehend and speak this beautiful language. Much of the value is in listening.

Perhaps you’re working or learning from home. Whatever work means for you, you now have more ability to carve out longer blocks of work. With fewer distractions (places to go, people to see), you have a better chance of entering the flow state.

Keep on learning:

After a family meal at noon, I will usually begin an afternoon of reading. Even though the library is closed, the apps provided by our library allows me to take advantage of my old-school Kindle. Most days I read a mix of fiction and nonfiction books, then finish off with a course from Yale, The Science of Well-Being.

Family Time:

Most notably in the form of ping pong matches, jokes and stories shared after dinner, and endless rounds of the Jackbox Party Pack.

The importance of sleep:

Logically, this is the most important metric for good health. Incidentally, it’s where I struggle the most. On a perfect day, I’ll have lights out every night by 12:30; my morning self will be glad.

Resting:

Right now, we’re in a season of resting your mind. Want to play Mario Kart 8? Go for it. Want to watch YouTube videos? It’s all yours. New book caught your eye? Download it, I’ll wait. Work hard to finish the day’s work, then enjoy life, guilt free.

Bonus tip: A low information diet:

Go easy on the news. At a certain point, staring at a map with moving dots will only hurt you.

Conclusion:

Many people will have their health, mind, and skills deteriorated. If there’s one thing to remember, it’s the concept of coming out of this season better than you started. My parting advice is to avoid useless worrying, and to especially avoid the horrors of non-actionable news. That’s all I can do, and it’s all you can do too. We’ve got this.

Thanks for reading! I enjoy writing, and I’m glad when I have time to write. I’d recommend you subscribe via RSS but I don’t think the young kids know what RSS is. What is this, 1999?