The COVID-19 Timesink

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You’ve noticed that I’m not blogging as much since the COVID-19 lockdown. I do apologize, but in going over why, I had a valuable insight. So I’m blogging about it – ironically.

We’re all at home, with less to do, but everything takes longer because of COVID-19.

Obviously, the sheer stress of fear and concern is draining. We have less time and energy because of our concerns. But that’s the obvious answer – there are many other ways COVID-19 is draining our time outside of the emotional toll.

First, many normal things take longer. That trip to the gas station means having to clean up first and after. Buying something at a store may require you to find which store has it. A surprising amount of extra effort comes into our everyday lives.

Secondly, we have to preplan a lot more. We’re not supposed to go out much, so when we take that trip to the store, we have to get everything. If someone is going to drop something off for us, we have to work out a way to avoid inappropriate contact. Simple activities require strategy.

Third, we have to do extra things. I wasn’t exactly cleaning off every important surface in the house each day before, but now here we are.

Fourth, we’re dealing with shortages, access, etc. Things we could get easy aren’t as available. This means planning ahead, doing without, and strategizing. That takes time.

Fifth, we’re doing things differently. Yes, its great to find I can order so much online – but now I have to for things I’d normally grab spontaneously. We’re learning to shop, interact, etc. in ways we haven’t had to before.

Sixth, none of us are used to this. We’re all learning or relearning habits to live differently. In short, we keep screwing up everything else and have to start over, course-correct, etc. This is a giant mind-shift.

For many of us, our entire lives are disrupted and everyday things are being done differently. This sheer difference is a giant timesink, even outside of the fear and concern. All this supposed free time is being used to figure how to live in a way we didn’t have to.

So, look, give yourself a break. It’s not easy. We’ve got a scary virus on the loose. Were learning to live differently. That means this supposed free time from no commute, etc. is not as free as it seems.

In fact, it doesn’t feel very free at all.

Steven Savage