Productive in Quarantine


In this quarantine period, it is easy to lounge around, do nothing but eat, watch Netflix, and eat some more. 

Time is time, whether we are in quarantine or not.  Time has not lengthened just because we have nothing to do, and time seems long. As Christians, we need to be more on guard of our time. It is still 24 hours, no more, no less. 

The key to leading ourselves is self-management, according to John Maxwell in his book, Leadership Gold. Taking some lessons from that book, we can lead ourselves to be productive even in this quarantine period. Obstacles are many. But first we need to decide to be productive and then follow-through with that decision by managing ourselves. Here are some tips from John Maxwell which we can apply in this quarantine period.

What we should manage:

1)    Manage our emotions. According to Maxwell, people with emotional problems are  144% more likely to meet an accident.  When we stay in our house for weeks, our emotional issues spike-up.  As Christians, we should be exhibit temperance – know when to display emotions and when to keep our feelings to ourselves. Know the timing of telling others what we feel. Sometimes, we are so eager to vent all our emotions to a friend, yet we forgot to think of the other person – will she like what I will tell her? We forgot that the other person might also be emotionally upset. We only think of our feelings. We should always seek the interest of others. Ask: ‘What does the other person need? Not what will make me feel better?

2)    Manage our time.  Time is valuable, M. Scott Peck said, “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time, until you value your time, you won’t do anything with it.” Charles Spezzano said, “people don’t pay for things with money, they pay them with time.” The phrase “spending your time” is not a metaphor; it is how life works. Instead of thinking about what you buy in terms of money, think about it in terms of time. We bought a phone, and it can be inexpensive, but the amount of time we spend on that phone determines its total price. How many things are left undone because we are mostly spending time on that phone?

3)    Manage our priorities. “If you chase two rabbits, both will escape”. Manage our roles and responsibilities and focus our time in this manner: 

Analyze first what is our priority in life. As a mother, our obligation is for our family, church, others, and ourselves, last. 

In terms of skills, we have to identify where we are good at and spend more time on it than trying a new skill. The only way to improve and be productive is to shift from being a generalist to a specialist gradually. Our goal is not to be someone who does many things well to someone who does a few things but does them exceptionally well. If we want to be effective, we should be wise in judging what we should do and what we should not do. 

4)    Manage our energy.  Apportion our power.  Don’t give so much time to the nonessentials with less time for doing what is essential (Ex. More time watching TV less time of Bible reading.) Identify the Big One in our lives and spend more time with it (Ex. God (spiritual) family, church, friendship). 

5)    Manage our thinking. –  James Joyce said: “Your mind will give back to you exactly what you put into it.” The greatest enemy of good thinking is a preoccupation with what is junk, instead of nutritious food for the mind (ex. Feeding our thoughts on what we see on TV, movies, or FB, rather than feeding on the Word or good books). Think of strategies we can do to enrich our thinking. 

6)    Manage our words. “The power of words is immense.  Well-chosen words can stop a war or start a war. If you want your words to carry weight, then weigh them well”. 

We err most often when we don’t have control with our words. When we do not have kind words to say, stop it. Don’t let lead our words lead us to hurt the emotions of others. If we have something worthwhile to say, we should say it briefly and well. If we don’t, sometimes the best thing to do is to remain silent. 

7)    Manage our personal life.  It will be  misfortune if we spend so much time at work and less time for family. We can have too much time in the ministry and less time for meditation and prayer. Make sure that our score at work or in the ministry is the same as our score at home. Yet we must not forget ourselves. Allotting time for our hobbies and meeting up with friends (now online) will enliven our spirits and will make us more effective at home. It will remove the boredom of being confined in our home for weeks. 

If we want to have productive quarantine, we have to manage ourselves well. The better we are in managing ourselves,  the more productive we will be, and we can even influence other people to be productive as well. Then we can spread good cheer to lessen the gloom that this pandemic brings. 

Reference: Management Gold by John Maxwell. Prepared by Haydee D. Lasco for TBC Women’s Fellowship. April 9, 2020.

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