It seems like a paltry list of achievements, but the amount of time and emotional energy unspent (not saved) has helped me focus on other pursuits.
I would have had a lot more time were it not for Whatsapp though. Ever since COVID-19 became a thing, my time spent on Whatsapp has increased by nearly a factor of 2. This is probably the one aspect of the detox where I feel I could have done better. Here are my Whatsapp stats for the last 3 weeks:
3 weeks ago — Not a bad average time!
This might seem like a lot, but in my defence, I do use whatsapp quite a bit to communicate with work colleagues. This was also the time that we realised some members of the family were (and still are :\) at a high risk of contracting this infection we still don’t understand.
2 weeks ago — ouch! What happened here?!
You can see how Whatsapp usage jumped in this week. Mainly because of a COVID related scare in the family, a lot of time was spent chatting with family in all parts of the world.
Last week — ahhh! More like it
As you can see, my normal whatsapp usage is in the region of about an hour and a half. This is still a lot, and my aim in the next couple of weeks is to bring it down to under an hour. Of course, this comes with the caveat that it is my only source of interaction with the outside world, and given I am cooped up at home, and have been for nearly a month now, I shouldn’t chide myself for feeling the need to touch base with people!
As is often the case, this increase in Whatsapp usage does have a benefit. Given we have had the luxury of staying home for a few weeks now, I have used it as an opportunity to reach out to friends and family and chat with them. This really does feel good and I hope we can keep this going even after things return to normal.
In no order of importance:
I suspect that had I not started teaching online, I would have had a tough time keeping boredom at bay. Online classes have helped give structure to my day, and also given me plenty of ideas for content and courses I would love to teach in the future. Assuming schools are not going to open for at least a couple of months, I hope I can continue to create and bring these ideas into the world.
It is also worth mentioning that I seem to have gotten used to being home. My day has an uncanny regularity to it, almost monotonous. The result being that I have been extremely productive on most days. The lack of a commute means I have more time and more energy, with the freedom to sit down and work whenever I want to.
The lockdown seems to have simplified life in more ways than one. It has certainly helped bring more routine into life, which I consider a good thing. A few years ago, I was the first one to run from routine. Now however, I realise that routine brings extreme productivity. Without needing an alarm, I have tended to get up within a twenty minute interval. I sit down to work at the same time. I eat the same breakfast after two cups of coffee. I work until about 4 pm, at which time I nap if I feel the need to. I exercise at exactly the same time on the same days of the week.
In his book Stillness is The Key, Ryan Holiday talks about how so many of the world’s greatest thinkers and doers have stuck to a routine for years. Over the last month or so, I have experienced this for myself. Once the body and mind get used to a routine, there is very little willpower required to actually do what you have planned to do. Productivity almost seems to be the natural by product of routine.
I feel like there is a lot more to explore on minimalism, so I shall leave that for another post.
How have you been coping the last few weeks? Let me know!
Ryan is an entrepreneur based in Bangalore who believes that the most rewarding learning experiences are driven by curiosity. He runs a school in Bangalore called Jigyasa The School, where the emphasis is on allowing children ample opportunity to learn by doing, making and collaborating in an environment which nurtures the freedom of movement and expression. Additionally, he is one of the lead instructors at The Crypto University, an online school where he teaches people from all over the world about the various quirks and innovations in the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. He holds a BSc from Loughborough University, MFIN from University of Cambridge and has passed the CFA exams.