A Guide To Disaster Preparedness — Coronavirus Edition: Time Management

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A few months back, I wrote two guides to disaster preparedness. They were meant as general references, assuming you may someday face a natural disaster or acute emergency. To many readers, they probably seemed abstract since there was no imminent danger at the time. But here we are, in the midst of a global emergency. In general, you want to prepare before an emergency situation arises, but that ship has already sailed. Just the same, there is still a lot the can still be done.

We will be publishing the full Coronavirus Survival Guide over the next few days covering a comprehensive range of topics including:

Coronavirus Survival Guide – Basic Supplies

Coronavirus Survival Guide- Time Management

Coronavirus Survival Guide – Money

Coronavirus Survival Guide – Final Thoughts

The original guides were not COVID-19 proof, but are still packed with relevant content:

A Guide To Disaster Preparedness — Part One

A Guide To Disaster Preparedness — Part Two

Disclaimer: This series is only a guide. Nothing posted here is gospel, it is only a basis for further research. Take everything posted with a grain of salt. Feel free to personalize any advice to your own unique circumstances and neither the author nor CleanTechnica take any responsibility for any omissions, oversights, or errors.

Time on your hands

One of the more prominent effects of spending most of your time at home is that your daily routines and what you have to do each day will change. Many people will still have accept the risk of going out into public just to go to work and many others will be able to work from home, which is a juggling act. Many of those same people will have children or pets or loved ones to care for, along with managing or creating new routines for them. These changes include kids being out of school, family members getting on our nerves from being in close proximity for long durations of time, or conversely, being stuck far away with no option to travel to see them.

When it comes to working at home, it is hard to give specific advice, since everyone’s situation will be different. Do the best you can and don’t be afraid of asking for accommodations for your specific circumstances, even if your boss is a jerk. Here is some advice from Ask A Manager for those newly working at home thanks to the coronavirus.

When you have kids at home and not at school, it can change things a great deal. Juggling them while working may prove impossible and you may be able to take time off. Don’t be afraid to do this if the situation calls for it.

Image courtesy: Voltaic

There is a very good possibility you’re going to find you have extra time on your hands that you don’t know what to do with. This likely represents a paradigm shift from the fast pace of life most of us are used to as we transition from the usual work and commuting time, meal prep, running errands, spending time with friends, and so on. In a very short amount of time, all of that can be gone, and with little warning. It’s even different than an acute emergency situation, as is envisioned in most emergencies such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes etc, because your home is fully intact. There is no uncertainty about your possessions or in most cases, no physical loss at all. You’re just stuck at home with an unknown number of days being locked in. The financial worries that are often caused by forced time off work are very real and can drastically ramp up the stress in shelter-in-place situations. We will talk about this more below.

It’s natural to feel a bit helpless because of the restrictions, but here are some ideas to pass the time. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm more of your own, which in itself is a way to spend time. Also, there are many guides sprinkled across the internet that cover things I may have missed and will be written after this article is published, feel free to share them in the comments, links can be posted by enclosing them like this: <code>http://link here.com/article.html</code>

Spend time with your loved ones at home and reconnect. Kids grow up so quickly and this is an opportunity to slow things down a bit.

Kid-specific entertainment includes board games, video games, cell phone or tablet games, homework if assigned, and so forth. Take this opportunity to teach your kids about life. They need to learn skills like money management, cooking, cleaning, how the world works, social issues, fighting climate change, what you do for a living, and careers they might consider when they get older.

This is an opportunity to not only build emotional bonds but to teach your children your values, how to think for themselves, and how to be the best people they can be. School teaches its curriculum of math, science, and technical skills but does not teach life skills, critical thinking, understanding whats going on in the world, social issues, or many of the non book smart skills and knowledge that go into living a happy and successful life.

What better way to pass the time! Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

Do a deep house cleaning. You have the time and the extra manpower. Organize the basement, garage, and everywhere else and go on a purging binge to put aside and sell your unneeded items on eBay/Craigslist etc when this passes.

If you have any home repairs that need doing this is a good opportunity to tackle them as you now have a surplus of time. If you need additional supplies, that’s a trip to the hardware store, which now represents a risk that must be balanced. Anything you can’t do now, you can plan out in equipment and the time required to complete them. If they are things you’re not familiar with, some YouTube videos can help fill the gap.

Put together a to do list of all the big and little things you need to get done in your life. Start knocking them off and making plans for ones you can’t knock off at home.

Make decisions that you have been putting off. Think about why you have been putting them off and figure out how to not do this in the future. If applicable, speak with your spouse/significant other and figure out if there are things you need to address in your relationship that either of you have been avoiding. This can be a very sensitive subject so use your discretion.

Make plans for the future, whether they be travel, savings goals, or a new career. Don’t just think about this year or next year, think 5 years from now, 10 years, 20 years, the rest of your life. Some goals are decades long and can be started immediately (such as saving and investing for retirement).

Take an online course, whether its continuing education for the career you’re in, a career you want to train for or an interest you never had the opportunity to pursue. There are many free and low cost options available.

Write your memoirs or that book you always thought about writing.

Take up a hobby you always wanted to try but have been putting off. Of course, this assumes the hobbies don’t require social contact or additional equipment.

Develop new theories to explain how the universe works. There is precedent for this.

The majority of people do not have a final will and testament, healthcare directives, power of attorney, or written decisions regarding resuscitation or organ donation. These things can be remedied, and even though most of us will not die from Coronavirus, these pieces of the puzzle are worth putting pen to paper to make our wishes clear. They remind us of our mortality which is something most people don’t want to face, but they also represent exerting control over the future, making sure those we care about are taken care of, and that those who know us best can help take care of us if the need arises. Make sure that when you put pen to paper, the final result carries full legal force.

Develop ideas for side gigs that could net you extra income, starting now or after coronavirus shelter in place restrictions have lifted.

Binge read some websites. Personally I could spend countless hours reading Lifehacker but there are countless websites that have archives of interesting and/or useful information. Also CleanTechnica currently has about 40,700 articles (wink, wink).

Binge watch some TV shows (assuming you have a streaming service). YouTubing is also an option. Enjoy some free streaming options. These are second to last ideas, because the others are things that you probably never had the time to do.

Play video games. The reason that this is last is that it does not accomplish much, it’s simply mindless entertainment. That’s not a bad thing, but you should get things done first that need doing, even if you don’t really want to do the unpleasant stuff. If you go with video games make sure everything else is done first, otherwise you will never get them done even if you tell yourself that you will only do one more day or two of bingeing TV/YouTube/gaming.

Use birth control. Just saying.

When spending this much time together has never happened before, you may find there is new or buried friction in relationships with roommates, significant others, kids, and other family and friends. Try to remember that you’re all in this together. It might be a good idea to air any grievances and work on solving them to everyone’s mutual benefit (a very important caveat). This can actually be an opportunity or end up being a disaster, depending how how well everyone can make things go.

Finally, you might also notice that things you don’t typically think about start coming to you. It’s a common coping mechanism to stay busy, and this prevents you from thinking about things you would rather not have to deal with. This time on our hands can be a blessing and a curse. Typically you want to deal with buried issues, but they can be overwhelming and you can’t exactly do anything about them that involves leaving the house. Having said that, it can be worth exploring them to see if you can come up with solutions or resolutions. If it gets overwhelming, there are resources available even with Coronavirus, from telephone helplines to internet resources to video conferencing. After the crisis passes, it may be worth looking into counseling, if necessary, since repression does not solve the underlying issues. This is not a weakness, it is to liberate you from emotional pain so that you can live the best life possible.

We will be publishing the full Coronavirus Survival Guide over the next few days covering a comprehensive range of topics including:

Coronavirus Survival Guide – Basic Supplies

Coronavirus Survival Guide- Time Management

Coronavirus Survival Guide – Money

Coronavirus Survival Guide – Final Thoughts

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Barry A.F.

I've had an interest in renewable energy and EVs since the days of deep cycle lead acid conversions and repurposed drive motors (and $10/watt solar panels). How things have changed. Also I have an interest in systems thinking (or first principles as some call it), digging into how things work from the ground up. Did you know that 97% of all Wikipedia articles link to Philosophy? A very small percentage link to Pragmatism. And in order to put my money where my mouth is I own one (3x split) Tesla share.   A link to all my articles

Barry A.F. has 68 posts and counting. See all posts by Barry A.F.