My time during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
What to do when you suddenly stopped travelling for work?
One of the things I’ve learned from COVID-19 pandemic is that I don’t have any time management skills. My time management was dictated by my flight and travel schedule and me trying to avoid bringing work home. Now all of a sudden, I have all this free time saved from travel but at the same time businesses to chase which would require me to travel. I’ve been trying to do my best and apply some methods I’ve read about earlier in my career.
Here is some stuff that works for me:
- Habits: Human is a habitual animal. Keeping at some trivial repetitive stuff can give a structure to a day. For me having a structure is important, like appearing two hours prior to a flight at the airport, habits are like anchors to attach my other activities to. I walk my dog around the compound where we live twice a day. I brew a coffee three times. These help me segment my day and give me some structure which otherwise would be given by my travel itinerary.
- Keeping businesslike: I came to learn that now I am at home; my wife thinks that I am not working. I had to set boundaries without hurting her feelings while staying functional. We are in a very small summer house, so I don’t have a separate room to work in. I figured our bedroom is free during the day, so I walk in there and close the door whenever I am working. That helped us to separate two worlds. Which brings me to the next point.
- No one lives life all businesses concluded: There is very small fraction of work that can’t be done tomorrow. It is a continuous balancing act between private and work life and it is very easy to lose this balance when confined at home in both ways. When I draw the line about being busy by closing the bedroom door, I also made clear when I am around the house, I am not working. I still keep checking stuff on my phone to some degree because I may need to respond to something in some other time zone, but I keep it limited.
- Clearing the head: One thing I miss is my semi-sleep state of mind I had during travels. This gave me the opportunity to clear my head and let my subconscious ponder about stuff life and work related. Similarly, I hear people missing their commutes between work and home. I found the solution at walking. I am lucky that I live in a place with heavenly natural scenery and the shore is just a few minutes of walk. It is not sports training for me, rather a quiet time away from computer, home and everything to wind down and listen to myself.
- Keeping in shape: Who knew luggage pulling was the one thing keeping me athletic? I am a lazy person by nature, but when I finally understood that this confinement is going to take a while, I made the decision to eat healthier, move a bit more and limit my alcohol consume to a minimum. Binge eating is one thing I can slip into very easily, so I tasked my wife to take care of our daily menu and keep all her snacks away from me. As a natural night owl, I had to force myself to get into bed the same time every night and get up at the same time in the morning. Knowing your own nature helps a lot, when you know what can make you slip away become an issue over time all you need is to work against it consciously.
- Getting informed and staying oblivious: I am usually very particular about how I digest my news and get informed about stuff. With the pandemic I choose to stay oblivious to any pandemic related news. If there is a vaccine or a cure, or the end of the world comes, I’ll surely hear about it. But until then getting all kinds of depressing news about things I can’t change will only make me depressed, which won’t help anybody. I have a list of work-related news sites and a few technology sites I follow. When I find something interesting, like spearfishing at the moment, I read anything I can get my hands on about it. But that is it. We don’t have a television receiver at home, just a monitor connected to the Internet where we watch movies and series from Netflix.
- This will pass, so be prepared: When we travel for business, we go to visit people who expect us for some business purpose. This means, now is the best time to created those purposes so that we have some place to go and some people to visit after travel limitations are lifted. Remember Joe you never had the time to catch up with? Call him.
- Housekeeping: We all say “if I had time, I’d sort those files and write those reports and create a framework for this and that purpose”. Well we won’t find any better opportunity, are we?
- One last thing: No one performs well every day. You are not Tiger Woods.