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It’s hard to believe that we find ourselves again in lockdown 12 months after what seemed like the height of the pandemic. Things were looking good here in Sydney: we were back in the office, the city was getting its groove back and we reunited with family and friends. When news broke of a couple of local cases of the Delta strain here, we took some time putting the necessary precautions in place. And with the time it took to shift gears (and coming to terms with the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant), we once again find ourselves in lockdown – news that is frustrating and disheartening. In some ways, it feels like we haven’t moved very far beyond March 2020!
With over two weeks of lockdown now done and dusted (and at least a few more weeks to go), I thought I’d check in to share how I’ve been finding motivation while WFH this time round. And boy, have things changed around here since last year. No more piling on the guilt or setting unrealistic goals… heck, even the Bunnings trestle table has been replaced for a proper desk to work from! So if you’re in need of a refresh of your current work-from-home routine, stick with me – I’ve got you…
Last August, I shared how a typical day plays out for me in this post as I know there are a lot of you out there wearing a few hats. To give you a refresher, my husband and I are both lawyers and we have four boys at home – the older two (11 and 9) are in Years 6 and 4 at school and the younger two (4 and 2) attend a local day care centre. The older two boys share their time between our place and their mum’s place. For the purposes of this post, I’m running you through how a typical day plays out when the older two boys are spending time with their mum.
Keep your rituals
What are the core rituals that you can still incorporate into your day/week that make you feel balanced? For me it’s ensuring I stop mid-morning for a break. I always start off my morning by clearing my inbox and preparing my plan of attack for the day. By around 10 to 10:30, I pause, make a cup of tea and gear myself up for my most productive working blocks. For me they are the mid-morning period before lunch, and the hours after lunch before I pick up the kids from daycare. My mid-morning ritual of taking a break is easy to maintain and not going anywhere anytime soon.
It’s all about the little things
Motivation is an elusive thing right now and I mean, we all have our own methods when trying to harness it. Of course there are the classics – take a break, go for a walk, start a new task if your current one feels stale – I’m sure you’ve applied these methods with varying degrees of success. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this but I get a bit stir crazy being at home, and even get stir crazy just sitting at my desk. I typically work from a desk that I’ve set up in my son’s bedroom and sometimes feel boxed in if I’ve been there for most of the day. When I start to feel like that, I’ll grab the laptop (and all more wireless bits and bobs) and head to the dining table for a change of scenery. It’s the little changes that can make a lot of difference, and they can have a huge impact in light of the current challenges we’re facing.
This one took a bit of work on my part. I’m a huge fan of a to-do list, but I was really hard on myself last year when I couldn’t get through the bulk of it. Now, rather than prepare exhaustive to-do lists like I did in the past, I take the pressure off myself by preparing realistic task lists in light of the constraints that we’re currently under (a reminder that it’s totally okay and understandable not to be operating at your usual capacity!). The realism means that I stay productive throughout the day and feel a sense of achievement come 5pm when I step away from the desk to pick up the kids.
Prioritise your happy time
Whether it’s me time, time with your partner or time to dabble in a hobby or something that makes you happy – make sure you prioritise that as much as you possibly can. My husband and I cherish our time together once the kids have gone to bed. The evening routine that we have with getting our boys fed, bathed and ready for bed can be really intense so it’s always a sense of relief when we wind down together from the flurry of activity that our boys bring. When I’m taking time out for myself, I’ll get stuck into a good book or go for a walk with a podcast keeping me company.
My Current WFH Routine
7:00am – Wake up, scroll on my phone (and filter through the fun news headlines… let’s face it, it’s a bit doom and gloom at the mo’!)
7:30 – 8:30am – Get the kids up, dressed, breakfasted and take them to day care (thank God for daycare)
8:30 – 9:00am – Eat breakfast, get ready for the day
9:00 – 10ish – Morning work sesh (go through emails, prepare to-do list and plan of attach for the day)
10ish – Quick morning tea break with the husband
10:30am – 1:00pm – Productive mid-morning work sesh (focussing on the tasks that need more brain power, concentration and are high priority)
1:00 – 2:00pm – Break for lunch
2:00 – 5:00pm – Afternoon work session (another power session checking off tasks that need focus)
5:00 – 7:30pm – Hit pause on work, pick up kids from day care, prepare and eat dinner, get the boys through the bath, books, FaceTime with brothers and then bed, breathe a sigh of relief
7:30 – 9:00pm – Log on to finish any outstanding tasks
9:00pm onwards – Evening routine of winding down, watch TV with the husband, catch up on other tasks and get ready for bed
As always, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’re all staying positive and healthy.