It begins..

in the morning before I even get out of bed, usually somewhere between 7-7:30am. I check my phone and there will always be several messages – Can I have this product, can I have that product, how much do your products cost from a new customer (that is a standard Facebook question that customers can pick from a list) what hours are you open, is this still available..

Most of these questions I can easily answer from the comfort of my bedspace. Some of them require the computer, or for me to go and check stock manually. I usually put those things off until after my shower. But sometimes if it is just a quick task – like sending a link or photo I can’t send from my phone, I might run out and do it, pre coffee, pre shower.

Once showered and caffeinated, it is time to survey my vast domain. I set the cameras up on my tablet so I can watch the front door wherever I might be in the house. What needs doing right now, urgently? Are any packages due?

What is on the to-do list for today? Which customers are due to appear and at what times? What household chores are due to be done today? Does the dishwasher need emptying and filling? What is for lunch? What is for dinner? What admin tasks do I need to do?

Lunch is usually crackers with egg and tomato. I like to try and take an hour long break here if I can. Back in the pre-COVID days I used to nearly always manage it.

Since Scomo declared puzzles to be an essential item and my products are very nearly a puzzle, I am now lucky if I can get a whole half hour without someone asking me for something. You would think I would just say.. that can wait until I’m done with lunch. But that is not how I like to roll.

Maybe what I like is just not going to be a good plan going forward. Maybe people can wait a short while for a reply. Maybe I can set my business messaging system to give an away message at the lunch hour. Maybe the constant interruption of my trains on their tracks is making work harder than it needs to be.

When it is time to prepare dinner I like to listen to a podcast as I do it. I have the tablet with the cameras on in front of me, so I can see if a customer appears. At the moment I am re-listening to the Breaking Bad Insider Podcasts, and also to the Better Call Saul Insider podcasts, and sometimes the latest Clear + Vivid with Alan Alda.

Dinner time, we like to watch an episode of Seinfeld together.

If I am very lucky in these current COVID times, I may now have the evening to myself without any phone beeping and customer wants and needs. It is unlikely though. Most nights there will be a few customers who need things.

Two nights a week we do a business related ZOOM chat for two and a half hours with some of our customers who would normally be here in the studio on those same nights. This week I was so exhausted I very nearly called it off, but I don’t want to disappoint people. So I struggled through it.

Some days – like yesterday – I receive my last request from a customer at 10:15pm. This customer is ordering two items. At the end of every day I’m truly exhausted – whether it is from the constant interruptions to my trains of thought, actual work and effort, or just the brain fog of our current circumstances I cannot be certain.

The dryer is beeping. I ponder whether I should rise and put this stock aside before I go to bed – one of them is hanging up on the wall and I will need a chair to get it down, or whether I should answer the urgent beeping of the dryer.

I’ll save the getting down of stock for the morning. And it will be early, again. Because I chose to do a delivery run in the afternoon to customers who are self isolating, word is out that the studio will be closed for nearly 5 hours. Thus, 10 customers are coming to collect things between 9-12. It will be a miracle if they don’t overlap.

Unlike having an actual workplace where you go to do work and then return home to do.. life.. working from home = working pretty much all the time. I now believe I need to change this before I reach burnout status. The first change is to set actual working hours.

I’d like to say 10-6 for all the days going forward but there is always going to be queries in the evenings and first thing in the morning.

Maybe if I say 8am I can do a quick check in and answer any overnight queries and then put myself back to “away” for the next hour and a half, and claim that time as me time.. but then if I need to do a post office run I usually like to go as soon as they open.. you see things are not as easy as just setting hours.

I could try 8-4 as working time with a quick check in before bedtime, but then you miss people being able to drop in on their way home from work, and I like to have some me time in the morning as well. There are consequences to every option.

Maybe better to-do listing is the answer.. I don’t know. But one thing I do know.. in the first three months of this year, the business has done as much turnover as it did in the last 6 months of 2019.

It is getting busier. I am seeing many new customers, many of whom were referred by current customers. All of that is great.. it is just I am not sure how to make it work so I can separate work from home more.

I’m going to go and enjoy a rare evening off, if I can. Lets not jinx me now, but it has been nearly an hour since the phone last beeped at me. Good Friday Night, maybe people are eating fish and chips and watching teevee? That’s what I would like to do, watch some teevee. :)

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6 thoughts on “It begins..

  1. Winners and losers in these Covid times. Watching tv as I type. Very quiet this Good Friday around here. I did go out for a walk and came across many doing the same, sometimes singles, sometime couples, sometime families. No cars, trams empty. Quite depressing.

  2. As you are ending Good Friday, I am just beginning on the other side of the world. I have a social media friend in Australia who would always post on twitter about preparing for work on Monday just as I was getting up on Sunday morning with a whole day of rest ahead of me before heading back to school. She, on the other hand, as a school principal, was already getting her tasks lined up for a new week.

  3. It is important to have scheduled work and “home” times, so that you don’t feel like you’re always working. It’s great that business is booming, but not positive that you are constantly on call.

  4. If you diligent and hard-working, working from home can be a challenge. People like have to work even harder to maintain your hours and not work 24 hours a day. I’m so glad you’re taking this evening off. I take all evenings off… But then i take all days off, too.

  5. Are you, I wonder, aware of the concerns over Zoom and the risks of its use. Tigger’s firm used it a lot but has now ordered its removal from all company computers.

    There are a number of articles on the Web about this. Here is just one: Maybe we shouldn’t use Zoom.

    I’m guessing that you would not want sensitive business data to fall into the wrong hands.

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