What to Do With Nothing to Do

By Matthew Hussey

As I was about to write this piece, I instinctively reached for my shoes. I would normally walk to grab a coffee from my local before starting. I promptly remembered it’s closed for the next 2 weeks.

It’s particularly strange, this global crisis. Not just because most – if not all of us – have no way of relating to it from any other period in our lives, but because we don’t actually know when it will end. That’s just weird. 

I live in Los Angeles, where everything has pretty much shut down. I won’t pretend this means wholesale changes to my entire routine. It doesn’t. I’m a homebody. I work from home. I regularly refuse invitations to go out – so it would be pretty childish of me to mourn the loss of these events now – and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mildly excited by having a cosmological excuse for staying in my underpants all day.

I currently get to say no to things with complete impunity whilst taking zero responsibility for being the recluse that I sort of am anyway. I can hear the quiet war cry from my introverted brothers and sisters already: “This is it brothers and sisters! We’ve trained for this! This is our time!”

My normal routines that take place outside the house mostly involve driving to Jiu jitsu, running to the gym, and walking to coffee. The occasional visit to the movies. This may not sound like a lot, but they are still my routines. And when our routines get taken from us, we get a bit, well, strange. We find ourselves doing laps around the house, looking out of windows for a bit longer than normal, investigating drawers and cupboards we haven’t had the time nor the boredom to look inside for a very long time (so that’s where I left that iPhone charger). 

And then we realize it’s only day 2, and we’ve been told we have at least 2 more weeks like this. Maybe more. Likely more. That’s when we begin to extrapolate just how weird we might get by the end of the month.

I also appreciate how extraordinarily hard this must all be for people who are finding themselves adjusting to working from home for the first time (or no longer working, as the case may be), many of whom have children who are also ‘working’ from home for the first time. 

The great irony of all this unexpected time we are finding ourselves with, is that it seems disproportionately difficult to concentrate for long enough to get anything done with it. Some of this is simply our coming to terms with how badly our phone addictions have eroded our ability to focus for longer than 5 minutes. We are functioning novelty-addicts.

But there’s also the low level anxiety many are feeling right now. We are scared, and completely in the dark as to when this will end. We feed our fears by being glued to a news cycle that looks more like a post-apocalyptic movie everyday. Is that an empty WholeFoods I see on CNN or did I accidentally switch the channel to The Walking Dead? I’m really not sure. 

Not to mention the ‘high’-level anxiety that so many people are experiencing from the imminent loss of jobs, worrying about their parents, providing for their children (who are now swinging from the rafters) and even from having a family member or friend suffering with the virus. 

The loneliness compounds it. We turn to social media for connection, but ah, there it is again, the news. Or at the very least, our friends opinions about the news. These factors combined are a winning combination for wasting time, and ignoring the very actions that might help us feel better in this situation.

It’s as if some ingenious little procrastination demon tried to think of the most vile combination he possibly could: “Ok my little cherub…you been complaining all this time you haven’t had enough time for the things you really want to do…well here…have as much time as you want. When will it end? Who knows! Will you get horribly sick at some point along the way? Maybe! So you better not get too close to anyone. Good luuuuuuck.” 

It’s a horrible feeling to have something you’ve been telling yourself you wish you had the time for, only to find you now have oodles of time but the wrong state of mind to do it. 

Then there’s these inspirational Instagram quotes going around politely reminding us what the brilliant people that preceded us did in their isolated time. Did you know that Isaac Newton invented Calculus while he was forced to stay home during the Great Plague of London? Well? Did you? 

But we must remember, Sir Isaac didn’t face the challenges we face. Take me for example. I’ve been distracted by at least 5 hilarious memes just in the last two hours. He never knew such struggle. And if there is a modern day Isaac Newton, I have a feeling he or she is the one creating all these memes. I mean some of them really are brilliant. Didn’t you ever stop to wonder what genius is making them? 

We may not be about to do anything as ground breaking as inventing calculus. At least I’m not. But we may want to consider the possibility that there is an alternative to spending several weeks merely forwarding the funniest corona-memes to our friends. Or panicking.

And before you think I’m preaching, I’m not. This is really a letter to myself. While my self-development peers have been posting about controlling your focus and sticking to your positive habits, I just spent the entire weekend eating chocolate, cheeseburgers, and binge-watching the amazon series Hunters. Everyone has their process. 

And yet if, like me, you’d like to adapt to occasionally using this time for something meaningful – in spite of yourself – I have an idea brewing that I’ll tell you about later today.

(That’s a corona cliffhanger right there.)

Love you all

Matthew x

P.S. Speaking of brewing, my tea tutorial is a must watch for anyone with way too much time on their hands. And for everyone who saw it, stop looking for the deeper meaning. It’s about tea.

P.P.S. Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

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72 Replies to “What to Do With Nothing to Do”

  • I started working from home this week and may last over more than two weeks. I didn’t feel the anxiety and stress that everyone else is feeling. I am an introvert and I love staying home after work and over the weekend.

    I said “after work” and “over the weekend”. The every day-24/7 didn’t kick in to my routine until the second day working from home. It hit me hard that I lost track of what day it was or what time it was during the day.

    I may be able to last long but I think I will end up reorganizing my apartment every day and end up donating more stuff at the end of this quarantine period. I guess that’s a good thing!

    Good luck to all of us! If you do like wasting but valued the time wasted, try French press coffee… that 4 min wait is worth it!

  • Your a sweet heart Matthew thank you for your positive attitude and i have to admit and I’m not sorry about it I am one of those tea drinkers like Jameson
    You are the one who is weird with this little drop of nothing milc! You use not enough to even call it coffee with milk
    But It’s ok because it’s you and I like you

  • Hi Matthew :)

    I love reading your thoughts! Always interesting, and wise!
    And i had to smile when you mentioned the part of how good it feels not to make excuses for saying no to invitations…or that staying home whitout feeling bad about it actually is really nice. I think many of us feel this way…finally we can breath, take a break…also if it feels strange.

    This situation is really strange and gives me a weird feeling.
    I work at the airport in Stavanger Norway, and it feels like its Easter holiday everyday now.

    Its bitter sweet somehow, because what now happens on our planet is so powerfull…we are all forced to live the same “lifestyle”, rich or poor. If it is in little Stavanger (Norway) or in LA (Usa) it doesn’t matter…Kim Kardashian or the lady at our airport that is cleaning the toilette’s.

    And also if it is really scary, i think its a sign from the universe to tell us all to STOP and look at our self’s…see what is really important, can we do better

    But of course my heart bleeds for all the people that have lost someone, or that are sick. And most of all the ones that are alone, that don’t have anyone at home :(

    I was single for a few years and i was always really depressed around Easter holidays…Christmas etc…i was scared of the empty feeling i felt when i was at home. Thank god i finally found the love of my life…and he came with 2 awesome boys <3 So im so blessed to have this family to come home to.

    But i feel so bad for everyone that is all alone in this Virus time and is isolated alone at home.

    I really really apreappreciate you Matthew Hussey <3 You have done so so much good whit your work! For me as well :D So never stop! Aspecially in this time we are in now <3

    Looking forward to you next post :)

    Lets pray something good will come out of this Corona time… and lets hope it wount last for to long <3

    Lots of kisses all the way from Norway to La :)


  • I already loved you from your YouTube videos about dating (dating is now definitely last on my priority list), but now i love you even more! This was comforting for some reason and even brought a smile to my face a couple times :) Thank you!

  • according to the title , article was suppose to give ideas/examples of what to do with boredom. There are none on article .

  • Your just awesome and this post brought calm and normalcy to my day knowing you and others feel similar ways to what I feel. Unfortunately I’m in healthcare -Medical Social Worker so I still am going into work which I’m thankful for but also nervous. Also as a Social Worker I’m absorbing all the fears and concerns of my patients. It’s tough. But again thanks for my great read during my brief breakyour amazing

  • Hi Matthew, could you please put your video streams anywhere where we can watch them later if we don’t have time at 5pm GMT ?? I am working at this time but I would love to see the videos too!! Much love and THANK YOU in advance

  • I loved this read, Matthew! I am a fellow introvert and completely relate to everything you mentioned, especially the part about being mildly excited (maybe in my case incredibly excited!) to have a cosmological excuse to stay in pajamas all day and getting to take zero responsibility for being a homebody. I found this read very relatable and, at times, it made me laugh out loud at how complex and funny we are as human beings. Thank you for sharing this insight into how you are doing during this period of self isolation. And it’s really nice to know that I’m not the only one who finds herself with loads of time on her hands, but is easily distracted by brilliant (and hilarious) memes. Eventually, I surmise that I’ll snap out of it and do something more productive…Hopefully. Ha! Much love and gratitude for all that you do, Matthew.

  • If only I could meet u but, Id probably screw it up! Ur a gem truly! Wonder why there arn’t any guys like you in Michigan??

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