Too Many Voices

Zachary Styles
4 min readApr 23, 2020

There are only so many “22 Tips For Working From Home” and” Things You Can Now Do To Reach Your Personal Goals” that one can read before wanting to throw a brick at the wall, and by brick I mean your head.

Content Galore

Lockdown wasn’t something any of us really considered for a length of time, I mean, not in South Africa, right? Wrong, oh boy, were we wrong. There are lots of opinions out there as to whether we should have done it sooner or not, whether it’s necessary or not, but more importantly at the moment, what we should be doing in it.

With the IoT (internet of things) as globally connected as it is, with all the social media and content providers we have access to, as soon as everyone around the world went into lockdown people went on overdrive in generating content telling people all the things they can do now with all the time on their hands. Most of this went over my head (as I intended them to) because we weren’t in lockdown in South Africa. It was still early days for us and we were still working and carrying on as usual — albeit washing our hands far more often now.

So, what was I going to do with all of my new time? Nothing, I was still working, and until we went on lockdown ourselves, that wasn’t going to change. As soon as that announcement was made, however, all that changed.

Too Many Voices

Now that we were officially going into lockdown, the content generation stepped up a notch. Now, on top of the international to-do’s and tips and tricks for working from home and what to do while being isolated with all this time on our hands, we had local ones. I thought I had enough of them, but apparently there was much more to come.

Personally, I didn’t enjoy the bombardment of information; mostly because there are only so many 22 Tips For Working From Home and Things You Can Now Do To Reach Your Personal Goals that one can read before wanting to throw a brick at the wall, and by brick I mean your head. There’s just too much information out there. Analysis paralysis starts to set in and you actually can’t do anything anymore, because you could very well be doing something else. Why not wake up with your kids and play board games all day? How about reading those 38 books that have been on your bookshelf for 12 years? Or, why not catch up on all the series you’ve been bookmarking? Wait, even better, why not sleep 12 hours and meditate for the remaining 12?

Don’t get me wrong, here, any one of those things can be great, and I’m sure people are enjoying their lockdowns doing them right now, but what I’m trying to say is that there are too many recommendations out there. Now that the IoT has given everyone a voice, it’s hard to pay attention to the one that really matters. Your own.

Pay Attention To Yourself

We don’t always get to do what we want, and sometimes that’s not a bad thing. Some days I want to be a potato, and I wouldn’t blame someone else for wanting the same. As it stands, however, unless you’re a potato farmer, potatoes don’t put food on the table. Have I said potato too many times? Probably.

What I’m getting at is that I don’t like sitting and doing nothing for too long. Idle hands make for idle minds and too much of an idle mind makes one go insane. I prefer to be productive, where I can be, and rest productively as well. Now that my routine was about to change, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to keep doing that, though.

I had a few options, then. I could do nothing and relax (which many people advocate for). The problem with that as I still have to work, albeit from home, but the work still needs to be done. That ruled out option 1. The next option was to read 17 of those articles about what to do with my time to be productive (according to the author) and do all of those things until I became a superhero. But, the idea of weighing all of those different things as to their proposed usefulness and virtue seemed too daunting a task. That ruled out option 2. What was I left with after that? Doing what I felt was right. Option 3 was a winner. I was going to use this time as an experiment in figuring out what really works for me if I got to choose my own schedule. I’m still figuring it out, but let me tell you something: so far, it isn’t at all what I expected.

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Zachary Styles

Full-time designer, illustrator and lettering artist. Part time lecturer. Part time student. Experiencing the world through words, both written and drawn.