Using your time productively
Stoics are big believers in taking action and working hard. It’s a similar concept to the first habit from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. First things first. Being proactive. Being responsible and accountable for your actions.
Imagine you are at the end of your life and you’re looking back. Do you wish that you had spent more time watching TV or scrolling through social media? Or are you proud of your accomplishments; crafts or arts you created, skills you learned, or where you made a positive impact on the lives of others? Which do you think you’ll wish you had done more of?
It’s not at all that we have too short a time to live, but that we squander a great deal of it. Life is long enough, and it’s given in sufficient measure to do many great things if we spend it well. But when it’s poured down the drain of luxury and neglect, when it’s employed to no good end, we’re finally driven to see that it has passed by before we even recognised it passing. And so it is - we don’t receive a short life, we make it so. — Seneca
Throughout Stoicism, there is an ethic of hard work and purpose. To achieve anything, from personal mastery to career success, we cannot be afraid of putting in hard work.
In the current crisis, since we are asked to stay at home, you now have the opportunity of having more time readily available. You can pursue topics which interest you or prepare yourself better for whatever comes next. If you’re just discovering Stoicism, then you have an opportunity to study more. Robert Greene describes your choice as Alive Time vs Dead time.
Dead time is when you’re passive and waiting vs Alive time when you’re learning and acting, and utilising every second you have. Again, it’s a matter of perception and choice. You get to choose. Many others have chosen Dead time, treading water, waiting for someone else or something else to change so they can resume their lives.
Remember how long you have been putting this off, how many times you have been given a period of grace by the gods and not used it… there is a limit circumscribed to your time- if you do not use it to clear away your clouds, it will be gone, and you will be gone, and the opportunity will not return. — Marcus Aurelius
With fewer commitments, there has never been a better time to start building new positive habits or beginning the thing you have been putting off. Whether that’s learning a new skill, or learning more about a topic you are interested or passionate about, now is the time.
What are you waiting for? Get to work.
If you have found the idea in this article useful or helpful, then please share it with your friends and family so they too can see if they would find it beneficial in their own lives.