Let’s face it, 2020 has been a bit of a fizzler of a year.
Travel back in time with us to 2019 when many of us were planning adventures overseas, weddings and more. But alas, 2020 has brought us catastrophic fires, a worldwide pandemic and for us Victorians, home isolation/lockdown.
For many of us, life in lockdown (and/or life with restrictions) is a challenging new norm to accept after being able to brunch, frequent the gym and socialise to our hearts content. Humans are most definitely social animals so being constrained to four walls, an hourly window for exercise and limited access to pasta (oh Mumma Mia!) is an adjustment.
After the January fires we decided to move our office to South East Melbourne from our leafy base in Warburton (regional and very fire-prone Victoria). We count our lucky stars every day knowing we can still safely operate our business from another office whilst many other businesses have been forced to close their doors due to government restrictions.
Lets face it though, working from home is both a blessing and a curse. What do I mean by this? While working with our furry friends all day is an obvious bonus, the switch to a home-office working environment comes with it’s own challenges. As we work from a home, here are the pitfalls we’ve fallen into and what we’ve learnt about ourselves/ how we’ve overcome them.
- Ciao office, hello home - yikes!
Working from home has many challenges and we find working longer hours is an easy trap to fall into. For many who’ve been accustomed to a 9-5 office-style work environment, the move to the spare room or kitchen table to work via distance is a shock to the system. The designated lunch breaks, water-cooler chats with co-workers and structure of a formal office environment are replaced by the chaos of the home with kids, barking pets and loads of washing screaming for your attention. The worst part: loss of a routine. Routine… what was that again?
We’ve felt all of these emotions both one at a time and then all together potentially on a daily basis! It’s not easy and it’s important to be kind to yourself on this particular point as it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. This leads us into how we’ve learnt to balance working from home whist working for the man/ woman:
Create a routine for yourself. Routine is so powerful and can be a great tool to keep you accountable to yourself. Start your day like you usually would, wear your work uniform (even if not required), pop on your perfume like you usually would and present yourself as you usually would if you were off to the office. You may not be physically off to the office, but mentally you’re in the mindset to work and be productive. It’s also a way to signal or offer a visual que to your family that you’re in ‘work mode’ and mumma’s got to bring home the bacon so leave her to get her work done.
It’s so easy to live in your activewear , let your exercise routine fade away and fall into a bit of a blahhh… mentality whilst you working from home, but if you make a routine that keeps your mind and day organised, you’ll feel like you’ve achieved a little win and your mood will be boosted.
- Create a space that is productive:
This is a bit of a hard one for those living in smaller apartments or weren’t expecting to be making the switch to Zoom calling from the kitchen table. I feel the environment that you create for yourself is so important – mayhem and pandemonium are not the best spaces to foster productivity, so finding a little space or areas that is designated to work is so important. I’m not saying you need to build another room to your house or evict cousin Kevin from the spare room; even if it is the kitchen table, making a space both physically and mentally that is for work alone is very rewarding to both productivity and your efficiency. Let’s go with a working from the kitchen table scenario: get rid of any random clutter and create a clean/clear space that you do your work from. Differentiate this space mentally from being a personal family table to ‘my place to be productive and get the job done’. This way when you sit down your mind shifts to ‘work mode’. Once work is completed for the day, put back the placements and salt / pepper shakers and enjoy your evening. I know this sounds simple, but in the busyness of our lives, the simple things are sometimes forgotten. Give it a try and see how you go J
- Like sand through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives!
After the shock of isolation settles, it’s down to business. Zoom calls, corporate targets waiting to be met, emails, deadlines and KPI’s wait for no man or woman! As you work away, it’s easy to feel like the days become a blur.
During what feels like a life-time in lockdown (a little dramatic I know..) we’ve felt this ‘blur’ and made a real conscious effort to mark a few days a week special as either date night ( at home of course ), family dinner via distance or take-out night. We’ve needed something to break the monotony of wake-up, work, sleep, repeat – so we’ve labelled a day for a particular event or activity.
-What fun ways could you change up your week? Could you do an Italian themed restaurant at home night? Could you organise themed zoom calls with all your girlfriends? Whatever it is, have fun with it and be creative.
So there you have it, that’s our first instalment of how we’ve been traveling during Melbourne’s lockdowns, Our next post will explore The black hole of social media, what self-care that’s kept us sane and when to reach out for help.
Lots of love from lockdown,