This year has seen the most use of the word ‘unprecedented’ that I have ever seen, and probably for good reason.
Do what you can now, and if you can’t do it now, plan for later
Getting started on something can often be hard. During lockdown, I’ve found myself exhausted after a full day of childcare, and in those few rare moments I had for me, working on a new composition seemed ridiculous.
Do what you can, in small steps. In fact…
Make a list
List what your daily tasks are, as well as goals for the medium term (i.e., the next few weeks) and long term (post-lockdown, or even post-COVID altogether). It will help you focus, and evaluate what is important.
List making sure was already an occasional habit of mine, mainly because I am aware of my own poor short-term memory. Going forward, I’ll be sticking to daily lists, as they seem to have made me more productive than when I worked from home in pre-pandemical times.
Speaking of lists…
Bring back the ‘weekly shop’
We must have gotten out of the habit of doing the ‘big shop’ only once a week. Lockdown forced us back into this habit, and although it somehow felt more expensive at first, it seems to be better value across the week, especially when it was harder to nip out on a whim for a treat. Give it a try, if you can, and see how it works for you.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Whether it’s FOMO (fear of missing out) or a kind of professional jealousy when another person seems to be working fine at home – you know, the one with all the recording gear in their spare room (or their parents) and no children.
Social media only shows you what people want you to see. Most of the time, it only shows what those people think everyone else wants or expects to see.
Some of it is real. Some of it is less than genuine. All of it is someone else, in a different set of circumstances (however slight that might appear).
Beware of fatigue
Some of my friends have been locked down at home by themselves, working from one room during day, then zoning out in front of the TV in the evening. They told me that even committing to an online quiz via Zoom felt like too much effort. Staring at a screen all day, even for leisure or socially distant socialising, is incredibly tiring. Give yourself time to reset, and do absolutely nothing. Just remember when you do…
Don’t be to hard on yourself
If the fatigue did’t get you, the guilt surely did – right?
This is connected to my earlier heading, Don’t compare yourself to others, but it’s worth looking at again from a slightly different angle.
We’re going through unprecedented times. No one in our lifetime has experienced this, on this scale, before. Survive. Look after yourself and those around you. Don’t feel guilty for doing less.
In fact, don’t feel guilty at all for how you are managing to get through a pandemic.
Do what you love, if you can (and if you can’t make a plan for doing it in the future)
You might have noticed that a few of my recent posts have been short Hailku form poems, or observations from walks with my family. I enjoy writing them. Since I can’t perform live at the moment, they give me some creative output while everything else is on hold.
If you have recently discovered a new passion, embrace it and enjoy it. Share it with the world. And if COVID19 is stopping you from doing what you love and enjoy (as it has for me with my love of playing guitar live), make another list; this time, make it a plan to get your passion up and running again soon, once all of this is – hopefully – a distant memory of an unpleasant time, now disappearing.
Best of luck, and let me know how you get on! Also, let me know what lessons you have learned from the last few months of lockdown by leaving a comment or getting in touch via my usual channels – I look forward to chatting to you!