Thank you for everyone that commented or shared my post about working from home. It was good to know that my little bit of experience has been helpful to some.
However, looking back it strikes me that I may have inadvertently allowed you all to think that I’ve got it sorted and that I’m finding working from home a breeze. Can I be very honest with you right now? Week one of lockdown was not my best week.
Let me explain a little about why.
I lead a team of people spread across the Globe. I’m used to being available at different times and on a variety of social media. WhatsApp is installed on my computer (you didn’t know that you could do that did you?) and my team are now making more and more use of Workplace which is Facebook’s app for businesses (you didn’t know that there was one of those either did you?). I’ve been using Zoom for a few years now and we’ve had a paid-for subscription for a number of months meaning that conversations aren’t limited to 40 minutes. Like many people, a lot of my day is punctuated by online meetings. Then there’s this underused blog that I occasionally write on, Twitter that I’ve been appreciating more and more, and don’t forget email.
I love them all (for different reasons) and in normal circumstances, I manage my online time quite well. That was until last week.
Last week everything went online, including my parents! My phone was beeping every few seconds. There were family and friends connecting to see how we were doing. I joined a global prayer group that would update regularly with the prayers of people from all around the world. Church went online and there were emails about Sunday school resources – these have been really helpful. Then there were the online meetings.
At home we were trying to find a new routine. Breakfast, feed the rabbits, PE with Joe, then Tany would take them for school and I’d try to find a place to work.
Only, I was getting all these messages during the day and paying too much attention to the news and Facebook. I would barely go 15 minutes until my phone would beep with an update or a message.
Last Saturday morning I was doing some painting. The kids, who had helped for a while, got bored and went off to watch a film, and for the first time that week I had silence and space to reflect.
I noted that during the week I had been overcome by noise. I’d allowed news, people, even good things like family and friends to invade all of my space. In my genuine attempt to help others and be supportive, I’d not done myself any good at all. My work had suffered because, feeling pressured by all the messages that were coming in, I’d become distracted and I wasn’t thinking. I was just reacting to everything.
So, this week I have tried to make some changes. Mornings are still mostly the same. Breakfast, rabbits, PE with Joe, but I’m getting up a little earlier (before the kids) to read, pray and be silent. I’ll then check messages and reply to what I need to but then the media goes off and I can get some things done before lunch. Afternoons are still disjointed to some degree but I still make the effort to craft out some space. It hasn’t fixed everything, moods still go up and down, but not to the extreme they were. I’ve stopped listening to the news so much and muted messages until I’m ready to look at them.
I wanted to share this because you’ve maybe assumed that I have it all sorted. But the truth is we are all learning how to do this. We need to discover the patterns that work for us.
Hopefully, I’ll find space next weekend to think again. I trust I’ll see more balance in my life but I know that there will still be things to work at. That’s just the journey of life, I’m a work in progress.