This is going to be a more of a personal blog in this difficult times. I’m hoping that some of the strategies I am implementing might be helpful and supportive for other people in the same situation.
Some contextual information first. I live alone in a small four room flat (bedroom, kitchen, living room and bathroom) with no outside space – my front door opens onto the street. I am well set up for working from home virtually, mainly due to my second career as a content creator on YouTube and Twitch. I really like routines since these keep my anxiety at bay and generally just make the world appear a better place.
So, to answer the question posed in the title of this blog post – how am I coping?
Coping by creating a routine
A routine is so important for me, but I would say that it is helpful for anyone who is working from home with or without people in the same house as well. I needed to some how separate my work life from my home life within my flat. If I didn’t then I know that I would just work all the time and not have breaks. So this what I have implemented.
Walking to work
Obviously this is not possible within the current lock down, but I have recreated it combining it with my daily walking exercise. I get up at the usual ‘work-time’ have breakfast and then set out for my walk. You might be shuddering at the thought of getting up at the usual time when you are working from home but I am finding it very beneficial. When it gets to the weekend I can say – ‘oh its the weekend, let’s have a lie in!’ If you are not a morning person, then I would suggest that once you finish your working day, you go for your daily exercise. This will make a definite switch from work to homelife.
Using all the available space
I mentioned at the start that I have limited space in my small flat but despite not having space I can utilise it effectively.
I have decided that I will do certain tasks in certain places around the flat. I usually write blog posts at the local Costa or the outlet at work. My kitchen is my new blog writing place. I leave my main computers, make a mug of coffee, put my AirPods in and type the blog post on my MacBook Pro – exactly how I would do before the lockdown. This not only gives me a change of scenery but also gets my creative juices flowing.
Following on this idea, I sit in one chair in the living room when I am reading my academic book (my routine is to try to read one chapter every day while I am at work) with the sofa becoming the chill-out zone to watch TV and eat food (yes I know – ‘Get a table!’).
Change of clothes
I’m actually someone who works at university and still has ‘work clothes’. In order to recognise the start and the end of the day, I actually get changed into my work clothes at the start of the day and change out of them at the end of the day. This seems minor but it really helps me identify the working day. It also helps me get out of the wearing trackkies or joggers all day!
I’m a bit of a Google fan using Chrome on my main computer. I wanted to make a clear distinction between my work stuff and my content creator sites.
When using Chrome you can actually have two different versions of the software on your computer. So I have my work account and then my ‘other/home’ account. This allows me to make a conscious effort to move between the two accounts. Between office hours I work on the work version of my browser – the same one which is logged into on my office computer – and once work has finished I close that version of Chrome down and open my ‘home one’.
This really allows me to recognise the ‘switch’ to my ‘at home’ mode
I’m sure there are numerous of other ways which people are coping with the current situation so, if you have any other ideas, then please do add them in the comments below.
Also, remember, that as an ex primary school teacher I am providing weekly activities for children to engage with. Hopefully they are both fun and practical, just what they need.
Hope this has been helpful and please stay safe and healthy.