‘Oh my God! how am I going to spend all this time at home?’ was my first reaction when I heard my place is being locked out in response to the pandemic. My firm quickly granted me work from home with all the required instructions. I called my family and we made all the (un)necessary purchases.
I went home and locked the door. The house arrest was complete. My home suddenly transformed into a prison and we became the inmates. The future looked quite grim from my vantage point.
Nevertheless, it dawned on me that working from home means I save a lot of time. The time of commute, getting dressed, getting undressed, preparing for the day, relaxing after the day and like. Making some rough calculations I came to the conclusion that I got almost 4 additional hours a day.
Now what to do with the excess time. After all time is the only thing you get in abundance during a lockdown. So if not managed properly, it could wake up the boredom monster and everything goes haywire.
Coming up with a plan
I went to drawing board to make a routine. God knows whether the lockout will continue for a year, maybe a decade. I meticulously mapped out a daily routine where I can work, work out and work my brains and get some entertainment.
I made a list of things I wanted to do. It looked something like this : office job, Karate practice, strength building exercise, reading, gardening, talking to family and friends, entertainment activities to keep myself sane, and so on and so forth. Then everything was arranged according to priority.
At last, my 24 hours time was split up into many parts with perfect understanding of what to do each hour. Then came the hard part : following it.
Making it happen
I may not be so bad in sticking to a routine as many. I used to keep a sketch of what to do and when. So I was not completely hopeless. I prioritize well and work accordingly. But occasionally, would cut myself lax. Recently these occasions came more frequently.
I knew this well. And for sure was frustrated about it. But that little evil called laziness could not be exorcised from me.
But now, I said to myself, is the time to prove myself that I can be disciplined. I started the very day, because the ‘next day’ usually has a tendency to extend infinitely into the future.
Aftermath of the discipline
I have to say I am proud. Never before have I been disciplined enough to strictly follow a routine. The results would proclaim my dedication.
After more than a month of following my routine, I am much fitter, stronger, my skills in Karate improved, worked better than expected, read 2 books, the seeds which I planted grew and started flowering, my relationship with family and friends improved, saw more than 40 movies and finished a Netflix series. I even had time to start playing chess again after so many years; this time online.
All this improved my happiness index too. I now find myself more relaxed and less irritated. I can focus more and get distracted less. Though my salary was cut to 80% of the original, who cares. I still have a job and as a minimalist I will survive.
The results of my little experiment kept me thinking. If a little discipline of 45 or so days can do such wonders, what can it do for a lifetime?
We constantly lament the shortness of time. But in reality we are really bad at managing it. We get distracted by trifles or carried away with impulses. In simple terms we are indisciplined and clumsy folk. This lead me to an understanding:
There is no such thing as the lack of time, only lack of discipline.
The value of discipline
How great it would be if we can discipline our self! It is a sure shot to more freedom, more time and subsequently more satisfaction.
I am not saying it is easy. The past few days were not a walk in the park (oh.. how I would love to walk in the city park; the damned virus!). Living by the clock is sometimes overwhelming. I always felt the want to continue doing what I am doing without having to stop it midway.
But once that results starts showing, when your plants sway in the wind, when you can run without getting dizzy, when you know more about Spinozian philosophy; you can find the energy to endure the difficulty.
Though I am not a result-oriented, success-obsessed millennial, these simple things have surely made me happy. I am now seeing the value of discipline much more clearly.
Grateful to the lockdown
Despite the frustration and sorrow of the suffering thousands due to the lockdown, I cannot help but feel grateful for the time. It took a invisibly minuscule microbe to teach me the value of discipline.
With the increasing toll of deaths, frustrating isolations and economic standstills COVID is surely a great catastrophe. But it taught me that any crisis can be made into a time for learning and experiencing, provided we have the discipline to pursue undeterred.
Discipline gave me a much needed revelation. Hope it stays with me for good. So I am grateful for the lockdown and hopeful about the future.
Thank you for reading. Post your opinions in the comment box below.