A month into the lockdown and I think I have mastered my slower daily routine.
Like many of us I feel I have been through all the emotions of an average year in the space of a few weeks. It started with the tears. I cried throughout most of the first week and beyond, unable to focus for much longer than a few minutes on any task. I’d stare out the window, start imagining the worst and the tears would be flowing again. I’d worry about my dad, continuously refresh the news and the increasing Coronavirus numbers and be in a full pit of despair before 9am!
By the end of week 2 I had switched into full on productivity mode. Why were people talking about ‘just getting by’? If I see that quote ‘we aren’t working from home but trying to work’ one more time…! Come on people, get moving, let’s get shit done! This is our time to shine! I’m going to write a blog every day, get new clients, build an empire! Let’s do this!
That phase lasted about an hour! For the next week or so I fluctuated between the two, days of sadness and days of productivity, hours of sadness, then hours of productivity.
Now four weeks in, or is it 5? 6? I’ve lost all concept of time! Anyway, now, ‘a few’ weeks in I’ve found the slower daily routine that works for me. I’m feeling content, happy and wake up not dreading the day ahead. I’m actually looking forward to it!
As a Happiness Consultant I regularly talk about the importance of routines, the things you should fit into every day like movement, doing things you love, ticking things off your to do list, healthy food, fresh air and sunshine. However I often forgot to listen to my own advice. Since I’ve started listening… things have improved!
My Slower Daily Routine during Lockdown
Due to the current pandemic I have slightly less work than usual, so a bit more time for flexibility and creativity in how I use my time. I will caveat that with I also don’t have kids which might make the late start and slower daily routine a bit tricky for some! 🤦♀️
So here is my slower daily routine I am currently sticking to Monday to Friday, with some flexibility.
8am ish – Wake up
Olly wakes up about 7 and brings me a tea around 8am when I’m starting to wake naturally. Bliss. I stay in bed and either read or catch up on my phone (I know phone should not be my first thing, I’m working on that!) while I drink my tea.
8.45am – Get up and dressed
After my tea and chill I get up and get dressed, don’t bother showering… what’s the point these days?! Jokes I do shower… sometimes! I do however actually get dressed. It helps, I promise!
9am – Put on Radio Free Matlock
My lovely friends Ash and Lucie are currently doing a weekday lockdown show from 9am-10am. It’s a lovely way to start the day with good tunes, fun chats and a different interesting interviewee each day too.
9.15am – Morning Fresh Air
While I listen to the radio I enjoy some morning sunshine, with my second cup of tea, sat in my favourite swing chair in the garden. I’ve taken to dressing like I’m on holiday with shorts or a summer dress. It instantly makes me feel better than the PJs and leggings I was living in the first few weeks of lockdown. It feels good to start the day with some sun on my skin too!
I use this time to plan out my day too if I haven’t done it the night before. I try and stick to no more than two key tasks in the morning and two key tasks in the afternoon. Always putting the trickier things in the morning when I know I have better focus.
10am – Start Work
I am obsessed with the Pomodoro method and have been using it every day as part of my routine and I love it. From 10am I do 4 ‘Pomodoros’. 25 minutes of focused work, followed by a 5 minute break, repeated 4 times.
I always find it amazing how much you can get done when you really focus on one thing without distractions. in 25 minutes I can often get more work done than I would get done in an hour or more if I am fully focusing on the task at hand.
10am to 12pm I generally do client work. I am finding I am spreading out what work I have and mixing it with my blog and FeelGoodDoGood work. I love variety and am enjoying this extra time to work on more of what I love.
12pm – Lunch
I take a long lunch break, making something tasty and random from what’s left in the fridge, or just beans on toast! Olly normally only takes half an hour for lunch, so I head down and start making it and call him down when it’s ready. We’re sitting outside for lunch pretty much every day, because… sunshine! I’m loving these slow lunches outside.
1.00pm – Chill or work
Depending how I am feeling I will either get straight back to work after lunch or will stay in the garden a bit longer and read my book or catch up on voice-notes to friends. I’ve tried working in the garden, but I just can’t focus the same. The sun is on my laptop screen and I get distracted by beetles and butterflies.
2.00pm – Back to work
From 2pm I am definitely back at the desk. I can sometimes work on the sofa or the bed, but when I really need to focus the desk is the only thing that works. I will do another 4 Pomodoros, often working on a different client to the morning. It’s the afternoon when I schedule most client Zoom calls too if needed.
4.00pm – 6.00pm – Blog/Trustee work
Later in the afternoon I will spend some time on my blog (It’s 5.19pm as I write this, right on schedule!) or catch up on Trustee work. I am Trustee for the Peak District National Park Foundation and the amount of work varies week to week. It’s a strange and difficult time for all charities right now, but hoping we will see at least some positives from this. Especially when we think of our natural world. Clean air and national parks are rejuvenating during this time.
6.00pm – Run / walk / shops
Truth be told I don’t get out for my daily exercise every single day. However I have started running and am about to go on my 4th run in a week! The miracle of lockdown!
7.00pm – Cook and eat
Olly and I are alternating who makes dinner but we will generally keep the other company in the kitchen and help out if needed. We recently moved a small comfy chair into the kitchen and I love sitting there reading while Olly cooks. Perfect spot to critique his decisions! ‘Is that really how you’re going to cut that onion’ 😂 Actually I think that’s his catchphrase!
8.30pm – TV / Read
Sometimes I will do some more blogging at this point, but there’s no pressure and it’s totally ok to just sit and eat chocolate, drink wine and watch TV for the rest of the evening. We are currently watching the latest season of Bosch on Amazon Prime. Detective/Crime is the main genre we both agree on. Any recommendations?
10.30pm – Read and Bed
I’m really not reading as much as usual during lockdown. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity but I am struggling to focus on books. I’ve had moments but not the same regularity and speed as usual.
I’m enjoying the early nights, though noticing if I don’t go for a run or a walk I don’t have that same physical tiredness that helps me sleep, so going to aim to get my ‘movement’ in every day.
I recently listened to Selena Barker being interviewed on my favourite podcast Ctrl Alt Delete and two things really struck me. The first was permission to not work a 7/8 hour day right now and the second was referring to exercise as movement. Which for someone who ‘hates’ exercise really struck me and I think is helping me keep moving. That and the Strava app!
So there we have it, my slower daily routine during, I am hoping I can continue as often as possible when lockdown is lifted! I still have the odd day, moment, afternoon where I just want to stare into the abyss, but I have found slow and steady is winning the race right now. Constant work isn’t sustainable at the best of time, not least in the midst of a pandemic!
The weekend’s are a free for all, lie ins, read all day, tv all day, bake all day, garden all day and sometimes work… it changes!
Key Elements of my Slower Daily Routine that help my Wellbeing
- Time outside, or with the window open if you don’t have a garden is vital
- Movement – walk, run and make the most of that daily exercise
- Short bursts of really focused work time is often much better for your productivity and mental health than trying to work all day long.
- There is no such thing as too many cups of tea!
- Be flexible and don’t beat yourself up if it all goes wrong.
Do you have a routine you are using right now?
I’d love to hear about your simple slower daily routines during lockdown… or your fast paced busy ones?! I’m not a mum, NHS worker, delivery driver or carer and realise I am very privileged for the current routine I have.
The first two weeks of lockdown I felt extreme guilt for not being able to do more to help too. However I am now at peace with my guilt, I’m helping out where I can and enjoying the lucky life I currently have.