Life in the time of Covid-19

So it’s been my first full week working from home and just being at home. The previous week I don’t feel really counts as I was in Bristol for some of that time. So how did my first full week go? Not too bad. Not as great as I expected, and there was definitely some room for improvement, so here’s hoping I do better this upcoming week. Here is how I managed to keep a little sane this past week, both work-wise and home-wise.

Work

Work space

We already have a desk set up in the corridor (it is a very wide corridor) and hubby has taken that space as it is a small desk. I have now set up two laptops on the dining table, which is now my designated desk space. Having our own separate spaces works quite well, especially when there are phone calls and conference calls/ meetings happening. I have now gotten used to the disembodied “hello” when I walk through the corridor past the hubby’s laptop on my way to the bathroom every now and then, just momentarily walking through a virtual meeting.

Work schedule

Every day is the same, or at least we try to make it the same. We get up at the same time each day, lunch is around the same time each day, and we try to end work the same time each day. Starting work is generally ok as we still treat working as if we are going to the office, which means not working in PJs (as tempting as it is), though we aren’t suiting up either. I actually find getting washed and dressed helps me get into the working mode in the morning.

I must admit though, it is harder to stop work at the end of the day especially when there are looming deadlines. Work creep is a real thing that I feel I need to manage more effectively. What I might start doing is planning the laundry to end when the working day should end. As I despise the laundry stewing in the washing machine gaining more creases, it should compel me to stop working and hang the laundry. Another thing I might try is taking the bins out in our designated one hour window as a sign to stop working.

Breaks

Breaks isn’t really something I usually make myself have in the office. Of course I do go to make tea and go to the kitchen every now and then, but I feel I’ve been having more breaks when working from home. This week I have actually uninstalled Instagram to try and make myself more productive, as well as to prevent myself seeing triggering news, yet I am still glued to my phone. I have now reinstalled the Insta so I’m going to try and make my breaks more productive. For example if something needs tidying up or a quick chore needs doing, to use my break from work to get that done instead of unlocking my phone. We have a decking and the hubby has recently been going out there in the afternoons, I imagine during a non-productive work time, so I may join him.

My backup plan is to revert back to my revision days when I would play a song or two on the ukulele as a break. It was simple and stimulating enough to serve as a proper break from revision, but also short enough that I could quickly get back into revision. I feel it could work quite well here too. Perhaps scheduling breaks would be ideal too, as I’ve been finding the hubby comes to chat with me when I’m in the middle of something or vice versa, so timing breaks may improve productivity for the both of us so that we distract each other less.

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Music and atmosphere

In my office music isn’t played and I feel I work better in silence and I know I definitely used to revise better in silence. Depending on the type of work I’m doing from home I actually find some music helps me get things done, especially if it is something repetitive. The hubby’s office plays music, but what he has been doing this week is listening to audio books on Scribd as it reproduces the noise of chatter in the office to him. Thankfully the hubby listens to this with headphones, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to concentrate at all with an audio book or background chatter playing in the flat.

Keeping busy

Exercise and keeping active

Recently we have been playing Just Dance and it is great. It gets us up first thing in the morning, is so colourful and fun, and the music is pretty decent. Using a game to exercise has made exercising more competitive and enjoyable, for sure. It has actually energised us in preparation for the rest of the day. I find for us exercising in the mornings works out best, as we would literally be too lazy to do it any other time in the day!

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Friends have said Joe Wick’s 9am PE workouts for kids, which started earlier this week on YouTube, have been helping them keep busy and active. Other people have been doing yoga, HIIT, and weights in their living rooms, or cycling and jogging around their neighbourhoods. Previously I have seen people walking their dogs around our neighbourhood too, which is exercise for both dog and human.

We have a decking but no plants or anything. However I know some friends have been doing gardening and DIY, though I feel that may be more for home improvement than for keeping physically active during this time – whatever works, I guess.

Sunshine

We are lucky that the sun streams into many places in our flat and the weather this past week has been absolutely amazing. We have yet to set up a work space outside on the decking, as we are both secretly vampires and have fair/ sunburn-heavy skin, but perhaps something to think about. I’m quite pleased to be able to work nearish the windows/ doors and feel the warmth from the sun.

Playing games

This weekend we finally played Ticket to Ride. I love it! We first played it last year when we went to Edinburgh and visited a board game café and got it for Christmas last year too. It is colourful, fun, and easy to play – also you can play with just two players. I imagine this period of working from home and staying home means that we will be playing a lot more board games and I imagine some video games too. Friends have sent me pictures of the puzzles they are doing and it is impressive how quickly they’ve been doing them. The hubby also managed a work team building session on Teams playing Jackbox, which was quite impressive. I’ve also heard that Discord is a good alternative to playing games online with friends too.

Entertainment

This week we started our free trial of Disney Plus and have already seen a gazillion episodes of The Simpsons (one of the hubby’s faves) and a couple of Disney/ Pixar films. We also have Netflix and Amazon Prime so already have a long list of TV shows to work through on those. It has been a good opportunity to wade through all the things we’ve been wanting to see but haven’t had the time to sit down and watch.

Staying connected

Yesterday we had a Zoom party with some friends. It was lovely catching up and chatting with them and just staying in touch. A couple of people we only saw just earlier this month but a couple we haven’t seen since January I think so it was nice to see and hear that they are doing ok. I think we are planning on doing the same again next weekend, so that is something virtually social to look forward to. I’ve also heard that Houseparty is a decent app to use too. I have also been Whatsapping friends and Facebook messaging family and staying in contact, making sure people are doing ok and checking in on them, and some people have been doing the same for me too. As social creatures, and with the advancement of technology, it’s great that we are able to stay connected so easily.

Being productive

Now this isn’t exactly something I’ve started yet, but definitely something I’m determined to do. We’ve already physically Marie Kondo’ed our flat back in January and now I want to digitally Marie Kondo everything. We recently got a scanner so I want to scan every birthday and Christmas card I ever kept and then recycle them, I just want to dehoard and declutter everything in the flat, and what a perfect time to do it.

Tea

We have been drinking a lot of tea, as is the standard British way. For calming effects the hubby has been drinking camomile tea, whilst I have been drinking loose leaf green tea, and of course for the extra boost to the immune system good old fashioned vitamin C tea.

So that is what we’ve been doing this past week to get through each day, and it has been ok. We’re managing to get work done and meet deadlines as well as spend some quality time together. It’s not perfect but I think it might be enough to get us through. The hubby has been doing other things to keep occupied too, such as playing video games and reading books, whilst I’ve been listening to music and blogging. What works for us might not work for other people, for instance we don’t have kids so that’s something we haven’t had to factor in, and whilst we don’t have a garden we do have a decking that allows us some outdoor space.

I’m aware that other people might not be as fortunate to feel safe at home and might not be able to work from home so have more time to while away. If it’s not safe to stay home, please do seek help:

There is other help out there too:

It’s easy to feel cabin feverish, and when cooped up with people in a small space, tensions can rise. I feel it is ideal for everyone to have their own private space to process things in your own time and in your own safe space, but of course not everyone can. And for those who can’t, from my past experience, I found that writing things down helped me process. I have recently blogged about other tips regarding mental health too. Stay safe people, we are in this together. These are trying times, but this too shall pass, and we can grow through what we go through.

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