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HONORING MY MOTHER: Spending and wasting time

FOR everyone under this pandemic cloud, the conditions dictated by both the quarantine and social distancing protocols almost make us feel as though one were frozen in time and living under a bell jar. Not that anyone has ever experienced such, but you get the drift. We now all live under a very controlled environment, as though suddenly sentenced with jail time and a limited space to move about. As such the social animal within all of us is in a quandary, understandably threatened with a lot of time and little else to go.

Zoo animals or orcas and dolphins in aquariums behave in a similar manner, pacing or swimming around the whole expanse of their cages, as if to fill the time. As an aside, how is that for a case of poetic justice?

In case one missed it, the time construct in all these situations might as well serve as a common denom, so that rightly so, as the title suggests, how well does one manage all the “time” that has been given us in this age of covid?

Of course, there’s wasting time. That’s the spirit, it’s free anyway. Unless one really needs it, it will always just be like the extra water you let flow seconds longer whenever you brush your teeth. Wasting time may be understandable if you’re a kid, belonging to those rugrats with the eternally “I’m bored” frame of mind.

On the other hand, while wasting time might mean a state of idleness or not doing anything, it could also mean ab-using and devaluing it. There are some I know at work for example, who could just run through the motions of writing a report in order to kill time and be free of other tasks until lunch comes.

Admittedly, I have done it too, and although sinful as it may have been, there’s always a certain amount of satisfaction that could be had. Promise. However, when the so-called pressure deadlines come, reminiscing those lax writing times to lunch will seem like luxurious moments, because now you are suddenly wishing that you could squeeze every second just to make it through with a worthy output.

Now, with more than a half-year of COVID-19, the new rules of the playing field is just about set. Quarantine-imposed school and office scenarios are in play, so that now, it’s study from home, and work from home as the new arrangements for most people. In this new environment, changes in time management may have obviously taken root already, but it would of course be equally interesting to know how well people will manage their time.

For one, employees who “run through the motions” of working will still measure and equate it and the word “busy” in terms of the amount of zoom meetings and phone calls made. Covid or not, that’s not about to change. They might even divert longer hours doing other things beside work while at home. Meanwhile, others who have long equated work with more tangible outputs during the old setup, will flourish in this new work-from-home atmosphere. Already, some sociologists maintain that the flexible environs of home may actually take office dynamics off the equation, so that productivity might improve for some. Just the same, time will be the constant for all the actors.

In the end, it will all depend on everyone’s level of satisfaction, how one views accomplishment, and how honest one is with oneself.

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