“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15).
Nearly half the world is shut indoors right now with nothing but free time on their hands. If you’re one of these people and you don’t want this time to go to waste, this is an incredible opportunity to create habits that help you use your free time intentionally.
Schedule your day by the hour
At first, this sounds a bit over-the-top, but I promise it’s not as stressful as it sounds. The key to scheduling out your day by the hour is to have your priorities in mind and schedule the rest of your time around those things.
What are the things you need to accomplish at a certain time? Write those down in your schedule. Now take a look at the hours before and after those items. What can you do in those hours to help you with those prioritized tasks?
After you have scheduled your priorities and the hours immediately before and after them, think about the best way to spend the remaining hours. Quality time with family, reading helpful books or blogs, watching helpful videos, spending an hour or so resting, doing chores around the house, etc.
Sticking to an hourly (or close to hourly) schedule will help you avoid finding yourself walking around with nothing to do.
Point and call
The train drivers in Japan have a simple yet effective system that helps them avoid accidents on the railway. At key points during their job, they will point at important indicators and verbally call out its status. By engaging all of their senses and their mind at the same time, they are hyper-aware of their surroundings and the things that are happening around them.
According to a 1994 study by the Railway Technical Research Institute, this pointing and calling system reduced mistakes by nearly 85 percent when doing a simple task.
The great thing about this system is we can use it in our daily lives. Now, I’m not suggesting we start walking around gesturing wildly at everything and yelling. No one would be helped by that. But we can do the same thing quietly to ourselves.
As many times as you think of it, point and call to yourself what is going on around you and what you are doing. This will help you become more situationally aware and also aware of how your time is being spent.
Set realistic, attainable goals
Many people are using this newfound free time to accomplish goals, whether it is reading books or exercising. One thing to look out for is setting a goal for yourself that is just impossible, or so hard that you quickly get discouraged and give up. Instead, set good small goals that you can realistically meet. Over time, these small steps will add up to large strides, and you will find that you have accomplished a lot during this time of being shut in.