Week 8 of lockdown – sanity is adjusting to this new base level. I have forgotten what my friends feel like when I squish them. I miss wandering around the town centre aimlessly, a Costa iced coffee in hand because I felt like spending £2.80. What does 7000 daily steps feel like again? Will I have to relearn how to walk in platform heels?
The 9-to-5 grind is still happening, and I think I’ve finally figured out how to work best from home. It’s taken me a lil while, but I’ve got here eventually.
Like with everything and everyone in life, it’s important to set boundaries. Now that a lot of us don’t have very clear cut ones, like arriving at or leaving the office, we have to make new ones. I try keep to the same hours I would work if I was back in the office (9am – 6pm), but if there’s a big task I need to finish or emergency, I’ll work until that’s completed. As soon as I set my status on our internal messaging system to “Away” at the end of my day, I am truly away. My laptop is closed, I get up, and leave my workspace to spend time with my parents. At the weekends, I avoid going on work messaging apps or checking my emails (unless I’m expecting anything) so I can 100% enjoy my free time.
Separate your workspace from your living space
I was really bad at this at the beginning. The first few days I worked from home, I set myself and my laptop up on the dining room table. Thing is, you have to walk through the dinning room to get to the kitchen and downstairs loo in my house, so it wasn’t exactly a peaceful working environment with people going back and forth, or Dad turning on the BBC’s daily briefing at 5pm with the volume at 65.
So, I decided to start working in my room. It’s at the back of the house, away from everywhere else my parents would need to go, and quiet. I was working from my bed initially, but after a few weeks my legs were screaming to see a physio from being constantly crossed and my piss-poor attempts at morning yoga. Now, I work from my dressing table, which I only ever use when I’m doing my hair, so there is a degree of separation for me between being comfy in bed and working upright at some kind of desk. It’s not perfect, but it’s working.
Keep to a routine
I think we’ve all heard this one way too much by this point, but it’s true! Routines are pretty much ingrained into the human psyche at this point in human history. In uncertain times, routines are an important way of keeping motivated and staying sane.
I wake up at the same time every day, go to bed at the same time, and eat lunch at the same time. At the weekends, I clean and shoot/write content for here and Instagram, and sometimes I bake. It sounds kinda boring, but I’m still kinda sane, so..? Even tiny things like going to sit on the sofa with Mum straight after work helps keep me centred.
Treat yourself like you would at work
Working in London has so many perks; it’s a beautiful city, it’s full of interesting shops and delicious cafes and restaurants, and you’re always within a short walk of something historical (my office is slap bang in the middle of Jack the Ripper’s kill zone AND is a half-hour walk from my Mum’s childhood home in the East End – how ’bout that?!)
I have a serious sweet tooth, and it gets quite bad in the afternoons. Some days, I’ll take a short break and go for a wander to get a sugar fix. Sometimes its just popping to the Tesco Express on the corner, but other days I’ll make my way to Spitalfields market and indulge in a Crosstown doughnut.
I can’t get a hold of these guys in Bedfordshire, but there are plenty of home delivery bakery businesses in my area that are feeding my sweet tooth (Crumbs Kitchen is my fave!)
Have frequent contact with co-workers
In PR and marketing, communication is the bread and butter of the industry. You literally can’t work without staying in contact with people. The agency I work in is relatively small and close-knit, so I talk to my colleagues at least once an hour. Even though it’s normally business talk, we do have twice-daily relaxed, non-work chats in the morning and afternoon. Just little messages to each other throughout the day keeps us on-track and motivated.
Hiding my phone
I’m a terrible procrastinator, and my attention span can last for seconds. I’ll be halfway through typing an email, and my brain will just shut off mid-word and I have the compulsion to go do something else. Normally, that’s to go on my phone and scroll through Insta for a while until I quickly get bored of that and go back to the email. This is just the way I am, annoyingly. I’ve tried every revision and focus trick in the book. I’ve been keeping my phone on the other side of my room because I am a lazy shit and won’t get up to exclusively go get it, and so I’m kinda forcing myself to finish a task entirely before I can touch it. Success rate – about 75%?
Fresh air is a must
My commute into London involves a fair bit of walking around, and although you can’t really call the air in central London “fresh”, it’s still important to go outside and feel the breeze on your cheeks. My outdoor activity is pretty limited now, so I keep my bedroom window open all day to keep the air in the room moving and cool. If it’s a super busy day, and I don’t have time to take my full hour’s lunch break, I’ll sometimes just go stand in the garden for a bit, take in the sunshine and inevitably going back inside too quickly because there’s too many goddamn bugs for my liking.
However, if I can take my full lunch break, I’ll go for a full hour’s walk around the river and park nearby, and then eat my lunch while I continue working after I get back.
None of us are really sure how long we’re going to have to keep WFH, and we don’t know what will be the “new normal” in the working world when we get back. All I can say is that I can’t wait to see all my colleagues’ lovely faces again, and that my savings account is very happy to receive my monthly travel card money for now. Also, can’t wait to get dressed for an actual purpose – this “dressing up for myself today” shit isn’t cutting it with me.
Talk to you later,