This week didn’t turn out to be the week I had planned it to be. It really has been a struggle to find my stride and speaking to colleagues and friends I don’t think I’m alone in this. Pandemic fatigue has definitely set in.
In the run up to Christmas I’d been careful to tidy up loose ends on a number of projects and review their status and I put on my ‘out of office’ feeling like things were in a good place and I knew what needed to be done when work started up again.
The first day back was hard going trying to get back into my stride [let’s be honest here – part of that is remembering what was actually happening and how I left things!]. But I got through that and then the curve balls started. Usually, I’ve got the stamina and reserves to deal with the curve balls, and generally I expect them in some guise or other and I can do something about them.
But this week they were bigger, and they were outside my sphere of control. Firstly, lockdown and a swift pivot to school from home – it is not and will never be home schooling. As I will NEVER be my boys’ teacher.
Next, a freelance team member is suddenly down at a crucial moment, add in some complex IT issues and the adrenaline is really pumping. And it’s only Tuesday lunchtime. Already I’m in survival mode which I know will last the week.
My original To Do list for the week was concentrate on prepping a series of upcoming presentations and proposals, but that has gone out of the window. How can I concentrate when I’ve got an ear on each boy’s schooling? The youngest I’ve situated just outside my office on the landing so I can keep close tabs on him. If I can’t hear him, my brain starts whirring – has he sloped off somewhere more interesting? Whilst at the same time trying to concentrate on a Zoom meeting and not interrupt the flow of conversation to check.
It’s not even like I am solo parenting, we are both working full throttle at home, running a tag team to cover when one of us has a COMPLETELY UNINTERRUPTABLE meeting. That’s another part of this lockdown that has changed, my definition of uninterruptable. Back in March it meant pretty much all meetings, now I reserve this request for webinars and workshops only.
Mentally, I’ve had to reconcile myself to a gruelling couple of months ahead. My traditional schedules are out of the window for now. It’s going to be survival mode. Simple operations and responses only during school hours. I’m going to have to use the early mornings, evenings and weekends to do my more focussed work (of which there is a lot). I know it’s going to be intense and stressful, as well as seriously hard core. I’m trying to focus on what I can control and can do and set myself realistic goals for each day – as opposed to set myself up to fail.
Slowly, I’m starting to find my stride and I’ll stick with it while it’s working. Equally, the ongoing uncertainty means I may well need to adapt my plans. What I know I need to do, if I’ve any chance of holding it all together, and keep work and home on track is to take time to think, breathe and catch-up with me.