Thoughts on Lockdown Working-From-Home during Schooling-from-Home
These are strange times indeed.
At least, I thought, I’m used to working from home – I’m a business and transformation consultant and I do a lot of that from home.
And I’m not a big socialiser, so I thought that would be fine too.
But I hadn’t counted on the strange mental impact of being locked down, the additional workload of ensuring everyone eats three times a day, the emotional and mental load of helping with school work and the physical effects of being indoors. The first weeks were far from fine.
6 weeks later, here’s what I’ve learned works for me. I didn’t invent them, I pulled many of them from ideas shared by others - and an important realisation was that, although this is different, I do have experiences that are relevant, strengths to draw on and processes I can use.
Different things will work for different people, but maybe some of these will be useful to others:
Keep the routine – I’m a lover of structure, so are children, and it means we all have “break time” and lunchtime together
Plan the meals the night before – I don’t do “winging it” normally, so why did I think I could manage it now?
Get outdoors once a day – I enjoy what the plants in the garden are doing, breathe the air and remember that years ago, being home with a newborn gave me cabin fever, so this matters
Exercise daily – without this, I don’t sleep. My regular walk to the station to travel to meetings was taking 10,000 steps a day, now I do an online dance class, follow an online yoga video and run about the garden doing crazy things with the kids at “break time”
Work out how much work fits and just do that – more than 2 one hour calls a day causes family tension, working “after school” or for a bit on Saturday morning whilst everyone else watches TV is peaceful. I’m probably working at about 40-50% of my usual capacity.
Work out how much school fits and just do that – some days the school work is too much, too hard, too much stress but other days it’s fine
Plan adult contact – both at home and outside online, plan it, do it, I need it
Try to understand the psychology of what’s going on and use it– many behaviours just now are ways of playing out bigger emotions and I try not to just react.
Keep my nicely-structured work environment – monitor at the right height, proper chair, tidy it away for family time. I wondered why Zoom gave me back ache until I realised that for some reason I was balancing the laptop on my knee.
Not too much Zoom – it makes me tired
Get a decent night’s sleep – normally I can handle a bit of late-night-early-morning impact, but not just now, so I’m in bed early with a great book.
Write a journal – this helps me reflect, practice gratitude and realise that my anger about the primary school maths questions was really about lack of fresh air! I’m taking photos for a visual record too, perhaps this is as close as I’ll ever get to an artistic project.