A day in the life…
Covid-19 – a personal account
In this post, TWP’s Director of Quality and Education, Andy Heald, is sharing his personal Covid-19 journey in terms of learning and daily structure.
Take it away, Andy…
Firstly, I’d like to thank all those that provided positive feedback on my previous blog which was aimed at emphasising the importance of mindset and effective planning to get the most out of your time during this pandemic. I believe that what we have learned throughout this pandemic will certainly remain with us once things start to return to normal.
The purpose of this blog is to expand and delve a little deeper. To share with you my typical daily structure during Covid-19.
Firstly, I would like to highlight the direct issues that have impacted me during this period which have led to the implementation of my current daily structure.
There have been many barriers that have influenced my time and productivity during this Pandemic but the main one has been adapting to working from home full-time whilst also acting as home-schooler for my three children. As my partner is operating as a key worker, home-schooling is my responsibility, along with usual work tasks topped with additional ‘crisis management’ tasks that have developed alongside the pandemic.
All of these create barriers and can really impact on your mindset but to get through these tasks and pressures it’s been essential to have a really clear daily structure. Ultimately, it allows me to remain impactful on the work front, whist also ensuring I am supporting the wellbeing of my family without becoming overwhelmed.
I have thought about the best way to illustrate this and have decided that the easiest and clearest way is to present a simple timeline of a typical day. So here goes:
6:00am – Wake up, shower, dress, healthy breakfast, listen to music/podcast/Youtube video/read an article. As the children are still asleep, I take the opportunity to start my day positively with some self-development (remember my 30-10-5 model on my previous blog – 30 mins learning – 10 mins reflection, 5 mins action.)
7:00am – respond to emails and clear my inbox. I also use the Microsoft To Do App that enables me to set relative actions based on emails. These actions could link to what I may read/learn in the above time slot.
7:45am – 15 minute huddle on Microsoft Teams with my business Senior Leadership Team (SLT). This provide me with a clear understanding of the daily focuses and metric of the business as well as the chance to check, challenge and support accordingly. It is also an opportunity to relieve anxieties and ultimately ensure the business is in good hands and being productive.
8:00am – Children are awake, so I say my good mornings, sort their breakfast and ensure they are started with their daily plans.
8:15am – Time to focus on my education and quality role. This starts with a daily huddle on Microsoft Teams, where I report on my three daily tasks for the day. It’s also a great opportunity to share potential opportunities, blockers or collaborative tasks, all linked to key metrics and responsibilities.
8:45am – Check in on the children and offer my support with their work. Usually take 5 mins to grab a coffee too.
9am –LAGOM schedule begins – ‘FOKUS’ time. I now work on my key tasks for the day. It’s essential I reduce noise and distraction, so I turn emails, WhatsApp and messages notifications off and only reply to calls that are urgent. I have also planned this around the work the children do which has really enabled a productive household.
10:30am – Break time with the children. I arrange snacks, discuss the work they have been doing and offer support. The children now start to get restless so we allow time for them to select what they will do next and ensure it’s something they enjoy and is somewhat educational. My youngest has loved the Premier Education Stay Active dance sessions and has regularly chosen them as her next activity.
11am – Time to ‘FOKUS again. I am now re-energised and ready to smash the morning. I will remain on focused tasks for the next hour. It’s important to add that some of these fokus tasks do have collaboration or potential calls with others albeit it is focused on getting a task complete. Usually two key tasks completed all before lunch!
12pm – COLLAB(oration) time. I use this time to now respond to emails, make calls, respond to social media, WhatsApp’s etc. I also use this time to touch base with friends and family if required. What I find is essential is that during collaboration, notes are always taken with key actions recorded.
1pm – Lunch time. I have really enjoyed this time during lockdown. The opportunity to make lunch together with the children and sit down and discuss what they have been doing is something I wouldn’t get to do under normal circumstances. We’ve and some really good general discussions that I otherwise would have missed out on.
2pm – FOKUS. The break with the children at lunch also enables me to ensure they have things to do in the afternoon so again we can all remain as focused as we can. My children understand my role and structure and have been unbelievable throughout this period. I think this structure as really helped them also (they might not say that but it has certainly being productive!).
3pm – Break time. The children have now finished for the day, so we take the opportunity to discuss what they have done/achieved. I always ask them what they feel their biggest achievement for the day has been. My partner usually returns from work so I encourage them to tell her once she’s home. This is also my opportunity to pass the parenting baton over too – ha!
3.30pm – COLLAB(oration) time. I tend to have for more contact in the afternoon so I always now assess what are the most important items I need to respond to and which messages/tasks do I need to assign. I do this using the Eisenhower matrix. I take this opportunity to speak with people directly rather than relying on email etc.
4.30pm – The final hour of the day to remain focused. I love this time as it is the time to reflect and celebrate the ‘slope of enlightenment’ and see what I have achieved.
5pm – Check on tasks set for the following day, for both myself and my family.
6pm – Exercise – I have really enjoyed the opportunity to exercise daily without interruptions. Previously, my role consisted of a lot of travelling and evenings were very busy, so this time has been a real high point for me to remain focused on personal development.
8pm – Dinner time/children in bed/ time to relax. I have found this time brilliant to re-engage friendship, speak with family and socialise (remotely of course). It’s also a time when I try to engage with learning.
10pm – zzzzzz! Sleep is a hugely important factor in all of this. I tend to function best after 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, so I make sure I get this. Poor sleep patterns can quite quickly destroy good habitual working patterns, so I never underestimate this. It’s also really important to get a good night’s sleep to help optimise your immune system – something which is imperative, now more than ever!
Of course my children are at an age where they can help and support each other which has been a blessing. Albeit, they are also still of an age where they get boarded easily and procrastination can sneak in. It can sometimes be a challenge to make sure they stay on track with their school work and routines, but we are all doing the best we can.
In closing, you may also find it helpful to ‘set your environment’. By this I mean setting the right environment for children to study and setting the right environment that I can be productive in.
I hope you find this daily routine useful and it gets you to reflect on your routine! Following the LAGOM method can really help increase productivity, improve focus and increase a positive mindset.