Paul’s reflections on lockdown
A few weeks ago I was in my back garden with a coffee before I started another day of homeworking. It was lovely, the sun was shining and we were watching a couple of blackbirds fetching twigs for their new nest in our tree.
Next door my neighbours were circuit training, punching each other (with boxing gloves), skipping and doing all sorts active stuff. It made me feel really lazy with how I was dealing with lockdown.
Then I read this tweet – I won’t say who wrote it because I’m sure they’re a nice person and were just trying to be inspiring, but I found it incredibly unhelpful
“If you don’t come out of this quarantine with
1) a new skill,
2) your side hustle started
3) more knowledge
— you never lacked time. You lacked discipline.”
Well I for one haven’t been learning any new skills, my family will tell me I’ve not stopped (decorating, sorting stuff out, fixing things, reading more, gardening etc) but these are all just things I’d be doing anyway, just not with such intensity. I can’t stop moving because I’ve found it so incredibly hard to focus. So why would I want to focus on something new to learn as well?
When we shut the office for the last time before lockdown I grabbed the pile of ‘rainy day’ jobs that sit in a tray next to my desk, shoved them in my bag and went off to the pub for a drink with some friends. (Do you remember those days when you could walk in to pub?!)
I assumed that after a few weeks I’d be scratching around looking for new things to do.
In fact I’ve never been busier and the ‘rainy day’ pile now sits as untouched and unloved as did when it lived at the office.
The process of taking our work totally online has thrown up all sorts of things that need sorting out, researching and getting support on as well as redesigning our project deliver to work in new ways, my inbox exploded and we also had a new team member start.
It’s been a mammoth team effort and what they have done has been amazing.
(Read more about how we’ve taken Gig Buddies online here – ‘Turning the knobs up to 11’)
Then I read this article in the Huffington Post It’s Okay If You’re Not Being Productive During The Coronavirus Pandemic
It was so much more helpful than the shaming tweet that I started this post with. Me watching blackbirds building their home is as valid as my neighbours running laps round their garden. We’re all dealing with this differently.
I wanted to share how I was feeling with my team, how I was feeling overwhelmed, jittery, unfocussed and a little bit hyperactive, and shared the Huffington Post article.
They all replied with similar experiences and how the current crisis has made us all stop, take stock, think about what is important in life and live in the moment.
There are no rules for how we deal with this, knowing we’re all right will be mean we’ll be alright.
Considering how the team had also been feeling the same way as mine I’ve been blown over by their positivity, creativity, thoughtfulness and care. They truly are a great bunch to work for and I look forward to our regular team video calls.
One of my team replied with this in their email:
“The unknown is a welcome space to dream up what would be a better way as things change.”
I am of course looking forward to seeing my colleagues and friends again and going for a long walk on the downs followed by a lovely pint in a downland pub.
But it’s also made me appreciate the things I do have now, and I can still enjoy a short evening walk with my dog on the downs, listen to the deafening bird song and breathe in the air.
(I’m also fortunate to live close to the Sussex downs where I can take in this view every evening).
One thing I know is that I’m not going to come out of lockdown with is a long list of ‘should have done this and should have done thats’.
I am confident I am doing exactly what I need to and I’m reassured to know that my team feel the same way about themselves too.
We’re all dealing with this the best way we can.
And that’s ok.
Incidentally as I write this I’ve realised I have 3 fewer emails in my inbox than I did at the same point last week.
That’s slow progress, and that’s ok too.