Our world seems to be in a tough space right now, so I hope everyone is complying with the restrictions in place where you live. In France, it's lockdown day 8 meaning that people must remain confined to the home other than to:
Go to work, if remote working is not possible;
Go to the local grocery store;
Go to a medical appointment;
Take your children to daycare or to take care of an elderly person;
Work out within 1km of home.
If we do leave our home, we must complete a self certification form explaining our reason. If we don't carry the form or if our reasons are not valid the police can levy a substantial fine. Nobody wants life to be like this but, if it's the best way to stop the virus spreading, it's what we must do.
Being confined to our homes isn't great, but it's important to keep things in perspective. There are plenty of posts on social media reminding us of times in history where people have endured far more testing situations, not forgetting the people who right now are, for example, suffering in Yemen, Syria and other places, or are sick or homeless.
I'm clearly not an expert on how to manage being confined to home, but my transition from working life to early retirement life has given me some insights. Early retirement obviously didn't make me housebound, but there were times in Dubai where temperatures of 45°C (113°F) meant that going outside wasn't so attractive.
These are some of the things that I found worked for me:
Routine was my secret weapon to get things done and to stop me being lazy
I still stick to a weekday 9 to 5 routine - I can be a bit lazy before or after this, but not during.
I set time aside for tea/coffee and lunch breaks.
I make a list of the things that I want to accomplish and tick them off as I get them done.
No TV is allowed during my 9 to 5 routine, although it's OK if it's during a break\lunch.
If you're having to work from home, then you obviously have to do your work. Otherwise, this is a chance to add some new things into the routine, perhaps some chores that you never get to (I have some tax stuff I keep avoiding), or to do something that you never find time for. I'm hoping to be less rubbish at press-ups by the end of our lockdown💪
I set myself mini targets and mini rewards, for example, after another half an hour on this post I'm having a reward cappuccino...living the dream🤣.
Still do the normal things
Get up, make the bed, shower and get dressed at the normal time.
Stick to regular meal times.
Try not to snack all the time just because the kitchen is close at hand (I struggle with this one).
Exercise. During our Covid-19 lockdown, I've decided to stay home to exercise (having a terrace helps) because it feels like the right thing to do. The upside is it lets me rest an injury and do some of the core and strength work that I never do.
Keep in contact with friends or co-workers (OK, co-workers doesn't apply to me). Because of the lockdown, we can't meet up at the water cooler or coffee shop but we've had some fun virtual coffee meet ups with friends using WhatsApp video chat.
Have something to look forward to/plan
There's no getting away from it, these aren't nice times, so it's good to think about and plan things that are more positive
Back in 2017 when I was in the early days of my early retirement, I spent time planning for our travels to Asia and Australia.
Now, I still have a (perhaps foolish) idea of converting a van into a camper so I'm using some of the extra at home time to think through some ideas about that.
Even when you have a plan, some days just drag. For me, this morning was like that and I don't really know why. When this happens I try a couple of things. First, I remember that it's normal, even when I wasn't on lockdown there were some days that dragged, just as they did when I worked. Secondly, I try to change things up, maybe swap what I'm currently doing for something else and see if that makes a difference or take a short break and come back to what I'm doing with a slightly refreshed mind - I'm adding this bit later, taking a break worked...the afternoon passed much quicker than the morning.
All that said, during these abnormal times, I'm finding it more difficult that usual to stick to my routines. For some reason, I am finding it harder to be motivated so I'm making a deliberate effort to stay focused and stick to the methods that have worked well for the past three years.
Coming to the end of day 8 of our 15 day lockdown (although I suspect it may be extended), I've only left home once so far, yesterday to buy groceries. We bought one week of groceries and don't plan to go out again for another week. The supermarket was well stocked for 99% of the products, people queued politely to be let in four or five at a time, everyone kept a safe distance and nobody appeared to be panic buying to hoard. The news and social media rightly point out where people are behaving badly, but it's good to also report where people are behaving well as they were at our supermarket.
For my next week at home, I'll stick to my routines and try to work my way through some of my to do list:
Migrate to new Wix blog and update blog site
Prepare a "start here" page/post
Do my weekly blog post
Make California, Costa Rica and Colombia video
Figure out some tax stuff
Fitness and exercising
Virtual coffee meet ups with friends
Plus normal life chores such as cleaning, financial admin etc
While writing, I'm conscious how fortunate I am. For sure our finances are taking a hit and the income from our rental properties (it's what we live off) is probably less secure, but I've no doubt that we're OK. But there are others who are worrying about their finances and whether their job is secure, and the likelihood is that my post won't apply to them. I wish I had a magic solution for those in difficulty, other than to wish them the very best and to hope that our governments can be effective in providing the help that will be needed.