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More Hours in the Day

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • April 01, 2020

A World of Possibilities

"All I need is just a few more hours in the day." We've all said this kind of thing jokingly in the past, but the reality for many of us is that we actually do have that. The silver lining of this pandemic cloud could be that we are finally getting that elusive, seemingly impossible thing—more time. The difficulty is pushing through the existential crisis of it all and finding the project that will bring you joy. Is it a relationship that needs fostering? Perhaps you have just been wishing for more fun in your life. Here are some ideas that we've been mulling over.

Learn a New Skill

In Julie and Julia, author Julie Powell tells the story of how she changed her life over the course of a year by cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. This is a perfect example of what we're talking about here. We may not have a year (hopefully!), but now could be the time to get the ball rolling on something like this, or other similar projects you may have been considering. Here are some of our ideas.

Make conversation: Intimidating as it may sound, learning a new language is possible in just a few months. In Fluent Forever, Gabriel Wyner applies neuroscience and linguistics to create an efficient and enjoyable approach to learning (and retaining) a foreign language. Fluent in Three Months by Benny Lewis is another option. Lewis also offers several language-specific volumes.

Make music: Do you have a musical instrument in your house that's gathering dust? Like, maybe you bought a guitar ten years ago, but it's been in your closet since then (just a hypothetical example, really!). Try Hal Leonard Guitar Method by Greg Koch and Will Schmid for a solid music education with quick access to easy songs. Or maybe it's the family piano sitting unplayed and taking up space in your abode. The Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course Lesson Book by Willard A. Palmer offers a friendly and informative guide for learning to tickle those ivories in style.

Make other stuff: There are a plethora of options for wannabe makers. And we probably have books for all of them, so take a look. But just a few more that have come up around here are:

Work on Yourself

Remember those New Year's resolutions that you didn't have time for back in January. Now you do. Take those hours you would have been spending on your commute and invest them in your own self-improvement project.

Strengthen your body: Can you get in shape by reading a book? Not exactly, but finding fitness can be as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Christopher McDougal's Born to Run will inspire both beginning and experienced runners to lace up their shoes and hit the road. In The 4-Hour Body by bestselling optimizer Timothy Ferriss, readers learn how to reach their peak physical potential through a series of small, incremental changes. Promising immediate results, the book offers strategies for improving all things physical, including strength, endurance, appearance, and even sex.

Strengthen your mind: Meditation is shown to have a host of benefits including reducing stress, fighting addiction, and improving concentration. From Andy Puddicombe, former Buddhist monk and cofounder of Headspace, comes The Headspace Guide to Meditation & Mindfulness. The slim, unassuming volume promises life-changing techniques that take only ten minutes a day. In the funny, illuminating Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, therapist Lori Gottlieb shares her own story of seeking help and, in the process, making new discoveries about what it means to be human and our power for change.

Strengthen your relationships: This could be a good time to focus on issues that may be coming between you and loved ones, especially if you're stuck in the same house with them! The Relationship Cure by Dr. John Gottman presents a powerful five-step program for improving all the relationships in your life. For a surprisingly simple approach to better communication with your family and friends, try I Hear You by relationship coach Michael S. Sorensen.

Or Just Have More Fun

During this time of elevated anxiety and worry, perhaps the thing you need most of all is some playtime. Let off steam and relax with some of these fun diversions.

Active entertainment:

Passive entertainment:

It can be hard to move past the frustration and worry we are all feeling and use that energy for something more positive and peaceful. Hopefully some of these suggestions will help. And please let us know if you've come up with some ideas of your own. What are you doing to make the most of this strange time?

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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athome | Cookbooks | Crafting | Self_Help
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