‘What day is it?’
‘I’m not sure really. I think it’s Friday.’
‘And the date?’
‘I have absolutely no idea of that one, let me check my phone’
The above exchange is something that would have been unlikely only about six months ago, but now regularly takes place between me and my mother. If there’s any gift (?) the lockdown has brought, it would be one of understanding that our entire perception and measurement of time is an abstract activity that we solely construct to give our general lives structure. I question whether or not this is a gift because for some us, the realization has simply led to a certain level of helplessness and also lack of will towards activities. It leaves many of us wondering: ‘If there isn’t really a deadline, do I really need to do it?’ I was running on this question until yesterday, when I managed to do more work in 24 hours than I had done in all the past weeks put together and all because new deadlines had been applied to tasks I had put off almost indefinitely. The fact that it was possible to go from complete inactivity to consuming energy and drive simply because activities now had a ‘do-by’ date was amusing and interesting to consider.
Whether or not creating a schedule is a quick fix for this depends on how easy it is for anyone to convince/trick their own brain into disregarding the current confusion and carrying on with their work and other activities. One thing however remains clear: that if we taught the imposition of time and deadlines made daily life chaotic, the absence of them makes it almost impossible to get anything done at all.
featured image credit: Jordan Benton