A friend sent me this photo from Groundhog Day, the 1993 comedy starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowel, when we got into a discussion about the days all blurring into one. I laughed so much I pulled a muscle.
Actually, it’s not so funny – I am used to wildly varied and unpredictable days, with week days and weekends clearly divided, and I love it. My week days have become incredibly structured, partly because I need that. You see, in the past, I found working at home really hard. My family understood the ‘at home’ bit, but tended to ignore the ‘working’ bit, so I was called on to do small errands and tasks, and was much interrupted.
Working at home with every member of the family is completely different. Everyone is in the same situation, and understands.
To combat the tendency of days to slide by in trivial tasks, I have a structure:
Mornings are for writing, editing and the more casual conversations with the team, such as discussing specific tasks. I also try to clear messages, although that is getting harder as the volume increases. Initially messages just stopped, but I am increasingly reaching out – and people are now very responsive.
After lunch, I schedule calls – generally three or four, at hourly intervals. I am getting better at keeping these to 30-40 minutes, unless we get into a substantive discussion.
In between calls, I catch up on messages and prepare for the team Zoom meeting at the end of the day, which we all look forward to. It balances a relaxed atmosphere with brisk summaries and decision-making.
After that, I follow up from the team meeting, and the afternoon’s calls, and plan the next day.
We are eating dinner earlier these days (no commute), so the evening is longer. We generally watch a film or play a board game, as a family (Catan is the current favourite). Once the children are in bed, I usually read a novel to unwind.
This a productive routine, but feels like a treadmill. I think the main reason is that I am not going anywhere, and not physically meeting people – and these are activities that energise me.
So…time to shake it up…but how?
Swap the calls to the morning?!
Write in the evening?
Turn video calls around 180o?
It’s not so easy…what are you doing to vary the routine?
Stay safe and keep it fresh.