It’s been four weeks of working from home now and it does start to feel normal now. We have new routines and my concentration during work is not as bad as in the beginning. I used some tricks for improving my concentration.
The most important thing is that I’ve stopped being sad and angry with myself for not being more productive. At times I didn’t like myself for not getting more done, despite the my awesome home office. I now just admit that things are tough for me. Many people have it worse than me, but that doesn’t make my situation better than before and thinking about them only makes me feel sad. Because things are tough, I just can’t do as much as before. Like most people.
In the same vein, I shouldn’t feel bad for getting the same salary as when I was more productive. When I gave up my freelancing for permanent employment, I also gave up a lot of income for the security that comes with it. I didn’t factor in pandemics as a reason for needing income security, but that’s not the point.
There were some small tasks that I found hard to start well with—they seemed so insignificant compared to what’s going on in the world. Then I started with the big tasks, but didn’t have the concentration to get something going. And went back on the small tasks. That way I did get some busy work done. But to get to productive stuff, I had to resort to this mental trick where I defined the smallest possible step forward on the big task, timeslotted it and started straight away. With the promise of not being disappointed with myself taking longer. Bit by bit that got me further.
Corona news distracted me quite a bit. I already implemented a strict no news during work hours policy. Normally I never check the news during an office day, but at the start of this WFH episode, I felt a strong urge to see what was happening during the day. None of that anymore, but all newsletters I get via my work mail are about the pandemic. Then there are several work Slack channels in which the topic comes up frequently. When I use the internet to look up things, seemingly every website has something to say about it (yeah I know, this one too, sorry).
If you find the isolation situation stressful too, maybe you find this New York Times article In Stressful Times, Make Stress Work for You useful.