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2020 & the Concept of Time (or lack thereof)

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with friends that go something like this, “It was like, I don’t know… two weeks ago? No wait, maybe a month or so ago??” Only to conclude that whatever “it” was happened back in the Spring. I just don’t have any concept of time anymore, what day of the week it is, what month it is or why it even matters.

This year has done this to so many of us, right?

If it wasn’t for my daughter, I would be completely unaware about the days of the week and the months of the year. But, even with her, time is crazy. I saw a picture of her on my husbands watch (so it was pretty tiny), and I asked him whose baby that was, his response was, “Um, yours?” No kidding. She was a month old. Now she is 18 months old. And it seems like yesterday that she was born but years ago that she was that small.

But, now that we are entering Fall things are going to change for us again. Our kids are virtually learning or homeschooling. Parents will be navigating working, teaching, cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping – ALL. THE. THINGS. It is a lot. The potential for a meltdown is imminent. How can we prevent a meltdown, or at least minimize the blow?

Get to know yourself and your concept of time.

To start, it is important to know when you are the most productive during the day. Here is a great article to help you determine your morningness or eveningness (yes, these are real words) and what to get done when. VITAL to getting better control on your concept of time.

I am the most productive in the morning. My workout is better in the morning and more likely to get done at that time. My brain can process difficult tasks and focus on more complex issues first thing in the morning. I was taught to get all of the “things” done first, starting with my least favorite “thing.” This also taught me about procrastination, which is now my least favorite characteristic in human beings. It makes sense, why spend time dreading things and then rushing to get them done? I feel anxiety and stress just thinking about it. Here are some tips to help you overcome procrastination.

For parents who are becoming homeschoolers, I recommend sitting down with your kids and finding this out about them as well. And just as a quick vent, I never understood why my guidance counselors didn’t do this with me. Wouldn’t it have been better to have my difficult subjects like math and science classes in the morning when I am the most sharp? They were ALWAYS in the afternoon and I always struggled, got frustrated and wanted to quit.

Establish a Routine

Routines are so important, all of the time, but especially in 2020. A routine can help you recognize the concept of time by identifying what time it is based on an activity. For example, I eat lunch in the 12 o’clock hour. Simple routine. The New York Times just published this article discussing the how-to’s and benefits of establishing a routine. I concur, NYT.

I live and die by routine. My daughter thrives with routine. As a single parent, it is how life gets done without meltdowns, for her and me. While living through 2020: the quarantine, the unemployment and the perpetual summer, routine allowed us few surprises, more structure and less stress on a day-to-day basis.

Yes, it is easier to have a routine when you are physically going to work, or the kids are physically going to school. But just because you aren’t going into an office doesn’t mean that you should stop the routine of getting up, getting ready and starting as you would. And just because our kids aren’t getting on the bus doesn’t mean they shouldn’t brush their teeth.

When you are establishing your own routine, consider your morningness and eveningness – those peak times of productivity. If morning is your productive time, create a routine that supports what you need to get accomplish in that time. Don’t schedule your grocery pick up at 9 a.m. when you need to be focusing on completing an important task. I don’t think I need to provide additional examples, but if you are still struggling, please reach out to me and I will help you.

All of these actions require a time to start and stop them. Thus, helping you in your search for the concept of time.

Set Goals.

Typically went I set a goal, it is to be met by a particular date or time. These are the goals that I set and most consistently achieve. Because of that deadline, I become more sensitive to the time that is passing as it approaches my goal – establishing a…. you guessed, concept of time.

I’ve learned not to set loose goals like, “by January 2021 I want to be a millionaire,” that’s wrong on several levels. One, I already established, it is too broad, the other, it is unrealistic. If you are not used to setting goals, or sticking to them, start small and make them realistic and achievable. Connie Stemmle wrote an article on goal setting/achieving for developgoodhabits.com, it is lengthy, but worth it.

To clarify, the goals we are talking about here are not weight loss goals, or monetary goals, but productivity goals that will help you gain structure in your day/weeks/months.

Be Productive

So how do you do all of the things that we just went over and regain your concept of time? You become productive. Sounds simple enough, right? For some yes, for others, not so much. I think everyone has experienced a moment in their life when they said, “It is just too much. I don’t even know where to start.” If they hadn’t before 2020, I am sure that have now.

Nothing gets done by doing nothing, am I right? While you are figuring out your morningness and eveningness, learning to set achievable goals, we might as well figure out how productive you are (I scored a 53, share your score with me in the comments). This quiz is great because you can go back to the questions that you scored low on and find specific solutions for them. Genius.

Some of us are not into making lists and checking them twice. My experience would tell me that people who do make lists are more productive than those who do not. But, shoulder-shrug. Maybe you like post-its everywhere. Or color-coordinating calendars. Of course, there is an app for that too. Bottom line, find your method, start using it and notice how life becomes a little easier and a little less stressful.

In Conclusion

The concept of time in 2020 is unlike anything most of us have ever experienced. But that doesn’t make it impossible, it just makes it new. It is ok to get overwhelmed, but don’t let that feeling keep you from moving forward. I promise that if you take some time to work on time, you’ll have more of it and enjoy life more.

You can visit my Time Management Pinterest page for other helpful hints or reach out to me directly and we will figure it out together!

“And suddenly, you know, it is time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings.”

-Drake.

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