Reverse Engineering our next few months
I first want to acknowledge that all of us are struggling during this tough time. My heart goes out to many of you who are presenting or soon to be facing being laid off. Many others from emergency services, health care, transit, food and delivery services are expected to go to work but are swamped from extra workloads and stressed about their own health safety. Many people are able to work from home but this comes with isolation and less than ideal work conditions. In these seasons, we can just take one day at a time and try to be kinder to ourselves and others.
I have seen this week 100’s of people on social media talking about what series to binge-watch on Netflix, Crave, HBO or Disney +. While I do agree we will all spend a little more time this season watching shows, I want to encourage you to look at the “long game” in this. I do think we may have at least a number of months where life will be dramatically changed so let’s plan on using this time wisely.
Reverse engineering is a process to look at where you want to be in the future and then look at what daily things you will need to do to get there. It then gives you a roadmap to where you want to end up. So, if we are going to be home and have extra time on our hands, I would encourage you to be very strategic on what you do with that time. Where do you want to be when we come out of this whether it be in a month, 2 months or more?
I like the idea that we need to have “long obedience in the same direction” over the next few months
The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living. — Friedrich Nietzsche
Body – Eat better, sleep more, exercise daily. For us, we are being more intentional about meal planning and taking the time to plan and cook different recipes. We have found this to be an enjoyable activity and it also contributes to healthy eating. Our teenagers have timed in with meals that they would like to eat too and we will take turns cooking. About sleep, keep a normal rhythm in your day. I have heard of people who are staying up gaming and watching screens until the morning and then sleeping all day. I would suggest using this downtime to replenish yourself. This could mean getting more restful sleep by going to bed early say before midnight. This will help you mentally and physically as being rested helps maintain your immune system and your mood and resilience. If you have more time with no place to go, like many of us, you can take this time too walk, run or bike outside, do online workouts and do stretching.
Mind – Inspire yourself by reading books, watching TED talks, watching online sermons and listening to podcasts. If you were to read even a chapter a day you might read a book every 2 weeks. You can easily do an hour or more each day doing these things. I would encourage you to not fill your days with news. This can cause you to be stuck in fear. Rather keep informed but keep a balance by filling your mind with other things that inspire, encourage, educate and motivate.
Soul – This time is the perfect opportunity to be intentional with your soul care. Do something in this category a few times a day. I’m using an app called Read Scripture ( by the Bible Project). This is a daily bible reading that includes videos that help to explain books of the bible. My wife finds inspiration in playing worship music during the day when she is working from home. I think we need to experience daily some sort of community. Make a list of people you want to stay connected with then each day call, Skype or Facetime them even for 10 min to keep connected. Texting is ok but hearing their voice and talking will meet both of your needs for connection that texting cannot give you in the same way.
Some of these things can be combined. These days, I am walking 5-10 km a day. Some days I walk and just enjoy the silence and solitude while other days I listen to a podcast or music. As a family, we are taking this opportunity to watch different preachers/teachers online and then talking about their message. This has been a rewarding experience to broader our exposure to other Christian voices and to spend more time sharing with and hearing from our teenagers.
I encourage you as individuals and as families to sit down and talk about these ideas in how to make good use of your time at home. Do something for your body, mind, and soul daily. Plan it out each morning and then complete all you need to do each day. Then do this again tomorrow. When life begins to return to normal you will be thankful for where you are as we re-enter life, work, school, etc.
What is your plan for this time?
How will you make sure you reach this goal?