Let’s take a poll: how many people are already tired of those articles with the 10 things you MUST do to survive working from home/social distancing/etc.?
I thought so.
Probably most of you have seen this sample COVID-19 daily schedule for families trying to work, study, exercise, eat, rest, play and sleep at home together:
There may be people who run on schedules like this one, pandemic or no pandemic. Frankly, I’m skeptical. My sister home-schools her kids, and one of the virtues and vices of home-schooling is the flexibility and flow of their activities. For them, the educational and the utilitarian and the recreational sometimes overlap. As long as they meet the goals my sister (and her state home schooling association) set for the kids, it seems fine. All roads may not lead to Rome, but many do, including theirs.
Let me put this out there (for the five of you on the planet that don’t already know this): I’m not a scheduler. I try to make schedules to plan out my day or week (month? oh no…) . I make to-do lists, clustering tasks into categories, prioritizing them, marking them off when completed. Sometimes that works a little. I do keep an accurate appointment calendar on my phone. And yet, I’ve never kept to a dedicated routine for managing my time at home.
I get up in the morning (early, late, whenever my plans for the day tell me I must). I make coffee (obvs), and sit down right away at my computer. No, I don’t:
- get dressed right away
- do morning yoga
- clean anything
- go for a a run, walk, bike ride
I just work. What work I do first depends on what’s most pressing and then move down the priority list. I know, you’re not supposed to do the pressing work all the time, or you’ll miss out on doing the important work.
The thing is, I’ve always been very, uh, “flexible” about my work-from-home style. I interrupt my work flow to talk with friends on the phone mid-morning sometimes. I do mid-morning or afternoon yoga often to clear my head. My work day doesn’t end early/at the same time every day; I happen to be writing this blog post at 11:47pm. That’s me.
(sidebar: I use the Be Focused app with the Pomodoro technique– 25 minutes work, 5 minutes break, repeat– to help me get up out of my chair and move around. I often do small household chores during the breaks, and it works for me. Tracy introduced me to this method and has blogged about it here, and Cate recently blogged about it here).
This informal way of working seemed more or less fine. But then life changed, and now I do everything from home. Maybe it’s now time to start scheduling my time in a more focused, disciplined, regular, accountable way.
There there… It’s going to be okay.
The fact is, my work life from home has changed a lot. Now that I’m home everyday, I do a lot of things differently:
- I’m cooking every day
- I’m doing a lot more dishes and kitchen cleaning!
- My sleep hours are more grad student-y: 1:30am to 10am (if left to my own devices)
- I’m doing more live yoga classes, courtesy of Zoom, and I love it
- I’m doing more emailing with individual students, soothing and reassuring them
- Technology competence is more important, so I’m working on that
- My friends and family need soothing, as do I– we vent and reassure each other daily
- I want more outside exercise, which is still a work in progress
- I want to think and write and read
That’s a lot of change to roll with.
So I hope I can be forgiven (by whom? myself, I guess) for not scheduling all these activities by the hour or half-hour in a daily planner.
Here’s an idea, dear readers: I’ll forgive myself for not scheduling all the hours of my day, if you’ll forgive yourself for something you’ve been chastising yourself about since the world went topsy-turvy. Anyone want to share what’s come up for you in the course of all this change? I’d love to hear it, and I will be soothing and reassuring.