As the world gets increasingly weirder, many graduate students are encouraged to use this time at home to get ahead on our work – read those papers, finish that manuscript, start that dissertation. However, it’s been a challenge! With all that’s been going on in the world it can be difficult to concentrate, and if you are able to, working from home can come with a lot of distractions. To top it off, I know for my friends and colleagues with young children at home, this is an extra special challenge.
Let’s keep it real, I am not perfect – sometimes I get distracted, sometimes I sleep in. Amidst these weird times, mental health is especially important, my policy is to take it one day at a time and do what feels right to help me make it through the day feeling as good as I can. For those who know me, I am a generally structured-ish person, so I thought I’d share a typical weekday in my quarantined/isolated life.
7:30 am (ish)
This is generally the time I have been setting my alarm for on weekdays. I usually wake up and chill in bed a little bit, check my emails, respond to messages, and scroll social media. I head into my kitchen and boil some water, I always start my day with a glass of hot water and lemon.
Now, here is where my day can take two turns, I either go for a jog/workout or have breakfast. As it’s been raining this week, breakfast it is. I always have oatmeal with a banana for breakfast, my morning beverage of choice is latte or a café au lait (advanced apology for those not into food details as much I am – brace yourselves, there will be many). I usually listen to music, a podcast, or watch a little video while I eat breakfast.
Under *normal circumstances* I would use this time to catch up on news – however in isolation, I am trying to minimize the amount of news media I consume, so I check my emails (again), respond to messages, and start thinking of my tasks for the day. I use a daily planner, it helps me know what my tasks/priorities are for the day. Even if it’s a small one, I try and have at least 1 priority task that should be completed by the end of the day. I usually stay in my kitchen and work as I slowly drink my coffee.
8:30/9:00 am (ish)
I head into my living room space and … work. I work best in natural light and am lucky enough to have large windows with lots of natural light. On sunny days, it is especially bliss. Something I started doing this week and really helps, is to not have my phone near me while I work. I try and use my morning to focus on my “priority” task for the day and hope to complete it before lunch (if possible – not always possible!).
Break for lunch! I head into my kitchen – away from my living room “workstation” and prepare lunch. Pointless food detail: I usually have a salad with sparkling water for lunch (yes – sparkling water – cause you gotta treat yo self during the quarantine!). I use this time to check my phone for messages, scroll social media, etc. I will either do this for 30 minutes or an hour, kind of depends on the day and how productive I am feeling.
12:30pm or 1pm
Back to work! Again, I ditch my phone (or try to) and work. If my priority task for the day is completed, I start on my other “background” tasks. Nothing too exciting here.
Tips that help my workday:
- Listen to music. I do this most of the day. If I really need to concentrate on reading or writing, I won’t, otherwise, music really helps! I pick music that suits on my mood/vibe, sometimes it’s more relaxed, other times it’s more upbeat/party. When it’s a party vibe, I will admit having danced in my living room. Gotta keep the fun alive amidst these quarantine times!
- Who doesn’t love snacks? I eat a lot of dried fruits and nuts. Fresh fruits too. Maybe a rice cake with hummus? I try to keep it healthy!
- Being comfortable. This can mean anything from clothes to the location of where I work. I think I am most able to work when I am not thinking about anything but my work.
- Push-ups. Why not? This is a very recent thing. A friend told me they had been doing 10 push-ups every hour. Now, I can’t/am not doing that. But I started doing 5 every 2-3 hours.
- Short breaks. I try and take 10-15 minute breaks every now and then. If it’s sunny outside, sometimes I’ll go out on my balcony and enjoy the sun.
End of my workday! This is where the fun begins! During the quarantine, my friend and I do a remote at-home workout every day at this time. We find a video on YouTube, FaceTime, and exercise together. It is really fun to do with a friend and remember, endorphins (from exercise) make you happy!
I shower and change into my evening clothes. Another quarantine tip I picked up from a friend, if you are going to wear sweatpants all day, have one pair for the daytime and another pair for evening. It really helps you change your mental state away from work and onto relaxing.
During the quarantine, my evenings have really become the part of the day I look forward to the most. I FaceTime with my friends, I take my time and cook supper, watch something on Netflix. It’s fun/relaxing time! Now under *normal circumstances*, I usually work a little after supper, but I think it’s important during quarantine to keep the vibes as good as possible, for me, this means no work in the evening.
Now there you have it – a typical weekday in my life. This schedule isn’t perfect and not for everyone. It works for me in that I have been able to get work done while also taking care of myself. I hope you are all staying safe and healthy!
Recipes I have enjoyed lately:
From left to right:
Zoodles (aka zucchini noodles) and vegan sausage
Black bean quinoa bowl with guacamole and sweet potato fries
Chickpea and tuna salad (ft. mango, avocado, and roasted brussels sprouts)
If you enjoy cooking, and you have not already, I highly recommend you check out Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel. It is just lovely!
Treat yo self image: https://thislifeofa.com/2018-2/