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 People encountering the 2020-21 pandemic restrictions may have ‘entered a time warp’, with distortion of familiar values, especially money and time. Finding a way back through unfamiliar financial terrain could be important.

Covid has created uncertainty and anxiety for many people. They have abandoned, slowed or deferred usual activities. There has been a timeout, allowing relaxation from stressful routines but restrictions may have brought complacency and slack inactivity. With insufficient stimuli, time may have dragged.

Without the usual referent of work days and social meetings, personal time may have become disoriented. Personal goals, such as exercising, dieting, studying, writing, may have been abandoned. Social activities may have been stopped. Some people may have enjoyed their freedom but others may have become relatively inactive.

Deadlines that structured activity, such as grocery shopping, may be cast in a new mould. Spending habits may have been limited by the money supply and when that changes, activities such as clothes shopping, may stop. Many people have adopted emptier more relaxed time schedules. 

Reduced consumption may cause money to accumulate and new activities become possible, such as shopping online, investment in home appliances, furniture, autos or moving house. Acquisitions can seem more momentous during pandemic restriction, because although money is cheaply available, there can be fewer than usual investment opportunities and at higher prices. Time horizons are pushed back by restriction delays and low interest rates may stimulate big item spending. Costs of delaying are tolerable and borrowing over longer periods accepted.

Recovery of participation in high risk activities, such as travel and audience events, may be tentative, with empirical results revealing any remaining hazard. To recover, individuals may set goals to revert to previous activities, or they may want to continue elements of their restricted lifestyle. Resetting of goals with new time and money constraints could bring a more purposeful lifestyle.

Sufficient personal time is available for careful planning. 

Conscious resetting of living parameters affected by pandemic restrictions could enable a brave new start, with goals for relationships, employment, residence, motoring, holidays, health, exercise, diet and education. These could provide structure for taking up the reins of a life that may have been partially surrendered in a previous treadmill-like existence. Pandemic restrictions may have brought new experiences that are wanted to continue. There could be a new awareness of the uncertainty of living, a need for patience and a new sense of owning personal time.

My writing about personal time is at 


Leonard Bernstein said ‘to achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.’ Do you get more done before a deadline? To perform your best, you need deadlines you can tackle in a series so you hurry all the way. The benefits of hurrying are several including time dilation, according to Einstein. With your mind fully engaged, you can stretch your personal time in its faster frame, finish earlier and stay younger. This theory of Extreme Flow is explained in my new novel, Time is Gold, available on Amazon, for anyone who wants to get more done in their performance time: musicians; writers; runners and others


A 3-min read.

People are of different types, from high achievers to vague drifters. They all benefit from purposeful government, because without purpose and goals, often little of real value results. Goals motivate achievement. Motivated humans can achieve greatness. 

The Egyptian pyramids are evidence of unequalled human accomplishment. The pyramid builders probably valued the pyramid as a cultural icon. NASA’s Apollo programme had a man-on-the-Moon goal. The work meant more than collecting one’s pay. Humans can strive in cooperation if goals are well-defined, their challenge is accepted and achievement is by overcoming difficulties, not by winning.

Happiness is the main purpose we have. We need it for our health and well-being. Suppose a government could make a new beginning and wanted happiness for its people. What types of happiness should that government seek? There are four kinds of happiness according to The Happiness Alliance they are: eudaimonic help to others (making a difference; community; altruism; levelling); psychological flow (existentialism; freedom); hedonistic consumption (sociality; acquisition; travel; sport; arts); or spiritual escape and religion.

Although these types of happiness can be produced by government actions, they are too embedded and indeterminate to be planned and budgeted. This is a problem, because precise a priori happiness goals are needed to inspire achievement. Neither wealth nor GDP growth promote the happiness of enough individuals for surrogacy.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper ‘A Theory of Human Motivation,’ identified many types of satisfaction: physical; emotional; social; psychological and spiritual in a hierarchy cumulating satisfaction from provision. For example, a person won’t be able to satisfy self-esteem needs while they are starving. It is proposed that a government should plan and budget for its people to achieve satisfaction of the needs categorized by Maslow, beginning with basic physical needs, then progressively higher needs, which would be satisfied with cumulating happiness.

What if each of safety, belonging, esteem and cognition was adopted as a programme goal? Could elaboration of Maslow’s goals inspire and prioritise government spending? Please tell someone who could use this approach.

If the donkey knows what is required and the carrot inspires it, no stick is necessary. Sticks don’t drive us these days. Goals are carrots when they achieve happiness.

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