My typical day (Pre-Covid 19)
Pre-covid, I would wake up at 5.30am, perform my morning activities and get ready to catch the 6.38am train to work. As soon as I boarded the train and found a seat, I would either start to read on my Kindle, or close my eyes and listen to my books on Audible – this is my own way of unwinding and just relaxing. I usually arrive at my work station at 7.40am (the station is just about 10 minutes walk to my office).
In-between the train station and workplace, I would call my children in school to discuss their plans for the day and support with any issues they may have. I would normally take my time to talk to them as I can’t call them on the train because there is no signal; I pick up a toast and a cuppa from the canteen and then arrive at my desk around 8am. As soon as I get in to the office, I go to the kitchen to top up my waterbottle, I then settle down to read & respond to urgent emails before I go in to meetings, facilitate workshops etc. I go everywhere with my waterbottle.
My role entails a lot of engagement with stakeholders and third party providers so I am a super-organised individual and I like to be ready for my day before other people come in.
I normally finish work at 4pm but isn’t always possible, so I ensure to leave the office no later than 5pm so that I can catch the fast train and be able to get back home for 7.00pm. The journey back home can sometimes be crazy with train delays, or if I manage to miss the fast trains (last one at 5.13pm) and end up taking any of the slow trains, I wouldn’t get home until about 9pm and all plans will be messed up. I always sleep as soon as I board the train going home. I don’t snore 😊 so I sleep quietly in a corner.
Myself and my family have a few activities lined up for the week i.e.Mondays are study days; Tuesdays we attend the evening service at our local church between 7pm – 9pm; on Wednesdays, we’re at the Hockey club to watch our daughter play at 7pm – 8.30pm and we then go to swim before we go to bed; Thursday evenings I go to choir practice and return home at about 9.30pm. I work from home on Fridays – I pick my daughter from school at 4.30pm – we go to the park, hang out with friends and neighbours sometimes and then pick up groceries etc. I try to be in bed before 12am most days.
My typical day now
As I worked from home once or twice a week pre-covid; what has really changed for me is the fact that I now work from home everyday, and all the children are now home with lots of work they require support with.
My day starts at 6am with all my morning activities completed to get ready for work. I am at my desk at 8.30am, and log in to check my itinerary and plan the day – I write a lot so I usually go through my notebook to ensure that I have not missed out anything that isn’t in my Outlook diary. Once this is complete, I go downstairs to make myself a toast & a cuppa, wash my bottle and fill it with water, add fresh lemon & ginger for the day and I top it up throughout the day.
I get back to my desk and start to work on the day’s tasks, attend meetings, huddles, presentations etc.
As a diabetic, my meal times are super organised so my lunch time is never booked for meetings. I leave my desk to prepare meals for the family at 12.30pm, have my lunch and leave the rest in the warmer (everyone has different lunch time due to school work at different stages). I will do a 5-minute activity such as dancing or skipping (jumping over a rope); and return to my desk at 1.30pm to finish at 5pm.
Since the gym has been taken away from us by Covid-19, I try to do a few other activities like walking (my target is 7,000 to 10,000 steps daily) if the weather permits, or skipping and dancing depending on my mood. I enjoy playing indoor games like Ludo with the children too but I would have to ask for a couple of days before it can happen.
Once I’m satisfied that I’ve had a bit of exercise, I go on social media – WhatsApp to respond to my messages, Facebook or Instagram to check what’s going on in the society, and connect with my family and friends whilst preparing dinner for the family.
We try our hands on new delicacies by searching on YouTube for recipes – this is just to make us stay together otherwise the children would always say they are busy – one of my sons paints and draws so all his artwork is found around the house. I constantly try new things to take the children away from their desks and to get us to be together as a family.
During the lockdown, I have found it extremely difficult to go to bed early – I’m usually not in bed till about 1am.
My best (remote working) tools
I use Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, and WebEx for my work meetings. These tools work really well for me and my teams – we collaborate and share documents on our screens and save to the meeting files. I use MS Outlook calendar to plan my day-to-day activities and send emails via Outlook. I utilise other tools to design my work and I must commend my organisation for ensuring that everything required to work from home is available for staff members during this lockdown. Personally, I have not missed much work apart from the face-to-face collaboration/workshops and lunch catch ups but all these including brainstorming can be achieved virtually now.
One other tool I have been using to support my mentees is Zoom. It helps me to be able to see their reactions when we are discussing, and to be able to share my screen or video to support their individual needs. Zoom is a great tool for collaboration.
How I stay motivated
It is such a difficult time for everyone and it is absolutely important that as individuals, we find whatever works for us. My brain works better if things are organised. Yes, I get easily confused when my routine changes abruptly so I still wake up at about the same time as I would when I travel to work and my morning routine stays the same.
However, because I am now in the house everyday, I decided to move my work space to the guest room so that I still have to get myself ready in my bedroom as if I’m going to work, and walk to my workroom which makes it easy for me to maintain the same work hours. I still plan my daily tasks (this is important if I must achieve anything) and I still check tasks off my to-do list 😊
A few other things that I have been doing since lockdown are:
- Attending free online trainings – there are so many available now so I just search to see which ones add value to me.
- Supporting my children in their school works and personal interests.
- Mentoring and coaching others.
- Connecting with family and friends regularly.
- Providing help and support to those who are in need during this lockdown – groceries or any other home essentials.
- Engaging with other mums online to discuss how they are keeping the children sane and engaged during this lockdown
- Investing in Rain nutritional products and encouraging my family and friends to do the same. Seed based nutrients and multivitamins give our body immunity to fight diseases.
I just engage in all of the above to constantly keep my brain busy whilst I try to reduce the amount of time I spend listening to the news as this only affects me adversely with the current pandemic.