Undoubtedly you have seen social media posts that call you to action even while you’re on lockdown. It goes something like this: “If you don’t come out of this situation with a new skill, hobby, etc., then you have wasted your time.”

Yes, if you are working from home for the first time, there may be some extra time available. Many companies have reduced staff to save money and/or match lower demand. People are working reduced hours or are unemployed. For Virtual Assistants, the shutdown has left other business owners in less of a need for VA help. (Fortunately, I have found a new client with loads of potential for a great, ongoing partnership.) But why do these “Time Police” feel the need to demand that you do new things?

Maximum Overdrive

In the Western world, we have been married to the concept of maximizing productivity for about 200 years. With this mindset, there is always room to be more productive. You must scrutinize every second of every day and eliminate every inefficiency.

There’s obviously nothing wrong with making the most of your time. Many of us at-home business owners went this route out of frustration with the bloated bureaucracy of corporate work. You seem to get little done navigating rolls of red tape to get anything approved. Being free to innovate is a great benefit of working for yourself.

But is moving 1,000 MPH every second of every day truly necessary? Some, like my blogger friend Maris, do not think so. She wrote while sitting on her unfinished terrace, which is “another unfinished house project the Internet tells me I should be tackling with my “free time” … I find it wildly amusing how averse people are to simply be sitting with themselves, even with the background of a pandemic.” Ain’t that the truth!

I don’t mean to blow off the madness of the working parent. These days, having to keep working job duties from home, while homeschooling kids, has to be a nightmare. But for those that do have an increase in more idle time than before the plague broke out, it is OK to sit still for a little bit.

Good Ways to Slow Down

Here are some things that are not “go full speed all the time” activities that will nourish your mind and soul.

Bible Study – I use the YouVersion app every day. It contains 2,058 Bible versions in 1,372 languages, along with a dizzying array of reading plans. I’m currently going through a number of study series authored by Joyce Meyer that train your mind to think spiritually.

Prayer – Well, if I’m going to promote Bible study, I’m going to promote prayer as well. I don’t really believe in luck. Instead, I believe in providence. I believe everything that happens to me happens because God causes it or allows it (in the case of bad things). I heard a certain religious lunatic say recently that COVID-19 is God’s punishment for humans’ deviant sexual practices. Biggest pile of nonsense I’ve heard in years.

Service – I believe it’s possible that God allowed this plague to remind people to love each other more and to provide an avenue to display it. Consider companies like Goodr, which is using the current crisis to showcase their activities in turning wasted food into provisions for the poor and hungry. The company is led by a millennial woman – helping to bust that “all millennials are selfish” stereotype.

Self-evaluation – Take a few minutes to consider your interaction with people in the months prior to the lockdown. You will likely recall some examples where you treated someone poorly, promoted yourself a little too fervently, or weren’t very pleasant to be around. The point is not to self-hate. You simply want to recognize some areas to improve and resolve/plan to do better in the future. Again, you only need to do this for a few minutes, just finding a few adjustments to make.

Make the World Better

In my next post, I’m going to focus on the political atmosphere of the shutdown. A major theme will be that too many people are using the plague to air their political grievances. They fervently hate people who believe differently and strive to demonize, silence or eliminate any different opinions. Perhaps we should use the current lockdown to plan how we can accept people. There are a lot of people out there that are different from you in ideology, theology and every other “ology” you can think of. It’s a very lonely world if you hate all of them. We need a drastic increase in kindness.

We don’t have to wait for the plague to end to do that.