As I write this we’re in the weird transition stage of lockdown. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just set the rule of six, so groups of more than six can’t meet up anymore. I won’t go into this any further because the rules change depending on where you are, and right now it seems to be new rules every week.
Lockdown definitely isn’t what it used to be, but I thought I’d chime back to those days where socialising was all gone, I was with my family 24/7, and the weekly shop was something I actually looked forward to doing.
Many people started working from home, and with that caused a lot of changes to routine. Another thing that came out of it was trying to maintain motivation, and if you’re someone lacking in this, or just fancy a look at my lockdown schedule, then look no further.
I make a weekly list on the stickies application of my laptop. I used to write everything down physically, but having it on my desktop means I can move things around as and when plans change. Having a bigger list allows me to make sure everything I need to get done in that specific week is in one place.
Then I make a written daily list the night before. So take it off your weekly list, and add more detail to the smaller daily one. By having specific tasks, you can finish the day knowing you’ve done everything you wanted.
For example, rather than putting ‘Media Law’ I would put ‘Media Law – Complete one paper and mark it’. This way I can crack on with a task much quicker because I already know what I need to do.
Don’t aim too high
If you set yourself too many tasks, you’re only going to lose motivation. You’ll either end up extending your working hours to get the jobs done, in which case you lose relaxation time, or you move tasks over to the next day, which puts you in an endless cycle of incomplete to-do lists.
You know what is possible for you to achieve in a typical seven-hour working day. Push yourself to work well, but don’t be too adventurous – you’re not superman.
Although I swear by lists, I don’t find that timetables are the best for me personally. If you’re splitting the day hour by hour you’re never going to stick to it. Some things take more time than expected, and vice versa – that’s fine. Make the list, but work through it in whatever order you want.
Work out what type of worker you are – morning or afternoon (or maybe a night owl?) – then you can tackle the tasks in the order that works best for you depending on when you’re most motivated.
You may be on a timetable at school, but that doesn’t need to be the case at home.
You may be working from home, but that doesn’t mean working from bed in your PJs. This may have been a novelty for the first month, but you’ll soon realise that it isn’t the most productive way to work.
I’m not saying get into a full-on suit and tie, but getting showered and dressed makes a big difference. This is your way of telling your body it is time to work, and then you can get back into you PJs in the evening, making it easier for you to know when to switch off again.
A home office isn’t possible for everyone, but I found working at a desk (or dining table, whatever you’ve got) really helps too. Sitting in a structured work-zone means that you know when you are there, it is work time. Plus, just like you arrive for work, you can leave it for your lunch break, and again at the end of your day – separating work and home life.
My desk is right next to my bed, but I know that if I’m at the desk it’s time to be productive. If I ever attempt to work from bed (the ‘soft office’ as some call it) I can guarantee, I’ll be asleep within half an hour.
MY LOCKDOWN ROUTINE
7:30 AM – Get up and do a workout/Go for a run
I found it so much better to get this done first thing. If I was leaving it to later in the day or the evenings, I really struggled to actually find the energy – I would end up dreading it all day. Getting it done first meant I could tick it off my list and feel great by 9 AM!
This was the case for five (and sometimes six on a good week) mornings a week, then if it was a day off I would give myself a lie-in until 8:15 ish.
9:00 AM-10:00 AM – Breakfast, showing and get ready for the day, and scroll on my phone
I’m going to be honest here, having a look through Instagram stories became part of my routine.
10:00 AM-1:00 PM – Morning work session
By work, I mean I was studying for my journalism exams. I definitely work better in the morning, so chose to do work that needed more brain power first.
1:00PM-1:45PM – Lunch
Always a good part of the day.
1:45 PM-5:00 PM – Afternoon work session
I always get into a bit of a slump straight after lunch, so until about 2:30 PM I always take a bit longer to get back to the same level, this is where I’d do tasks that were less taxing.
5:00 PM-5:45 PM – Dog walk
My dog, a mini sausage dog called Luis, knew when it was getting to this time. He would always wait by my door when he knew I was finishing off, so I didn’t even need to say anything and he knew it was time for a walk.
5:45 PM onwards – Relax
I like cooking anyway, but found I was cooking much more over lockdown because I was actually in for the evenings rather than working shifts at the restaurant. This time was for cooking and eating tea (dinner if you’re from the south, or just posh) and then watching TV, catching up on social media, and reading.