The past year has led to many changes for all workers here in the UK. Some changes have been positive while most have been difficult and jarring. Coming from a dynamic and quick-paced working environment, I had a huge adjustment to work through during my four months on furlough. I found this shift difficult at first but was able to make changes to become a happier and more productive furloughed employee.
If you’re still furloughed, newly unemployed, working part-time or simply interested in making the most of your days off, you may want to use my tips below to better manage and enjoy your free time.
Keep a Steady Routine
This is something I really struggled with at the beginning of furlough, no job to set an alarm for and no reason to get out of bed and leave the house, apart from battling the local supermarket goers for a packet of toilet roll. Unsurprisingly this is not a healthy mindset to have and once I actually started getting out of bed at a responsible time and planning my, albeit a rather empty day, I felt a whole lot better about my situation and was able to better take on the day.
Even though my routine has changed since going back to work, making sure that I still get up at a reasonable time, even at the weekend or on holiday, has meant that I have a far more productive day and really feel that my time off is being used wisely.
A Text Can Make a World of Difference
I think this is something that most have realised whilst in lockdown. When we were no longer able to meet people whenever we liked, the benefits and importance of digital communications became much more prominent. Often over my furlough period, a simple text or zoom call made my day and I hope my communications did provide this to others as well.
However, even though at least some of us are now able to leave the confines of our own homes it's important that we do make the effort to talk to those who aren’t. Dropping someone a quick text may not be as good as meeting in the pub for a drink but that small act of connection really can help.
Hobbies are Good, Even if you’re Bad at Them
Like many, I used lockdown to throw myself into my hobbies like horse riding and running. (I have been doing these for years) However, I was also able to try some activities I wouldn’t have before, like gardening, knitting and a lot of DIY-ing (I'm not sure you can class this as a hobby but I had a lot of fun doing it)
Now, I can’t say I was really any good at any of them, however, having something to do in my spare time was not only a good way to pass the time but was also very rewarding. There’s just something about making a salad with your own homegrown radishes and salad leaves that made me feel like I’d just been giving a gold star from the teacher.
Be kind, Always
With all the negatives that came part and parcel with lockdown, one positive I did note was a real sense of community between those living in my local town. Residents were polite and considerate, at a distance, of course.
This is something I view as vital moving forward, everyone is going through a lot in their own life and being able to provide/receive a small random act of kindness means a lot more than you would have ever thought in a pre-lockdown world. The fallout will be huge and it’s everyone’s responsibility to help those close to us.
Sometimes You've Just Gotta Go with the Flow
Anyone that knows me well will agree that being ‘laidback’ and ‘going with the flow’ is not my forte. However, the lockdown has forced me to accept that sometimes you have very little control over the outcome of events and that instead of worrying and having sleepless nights over such issues you should instead find another outlet and focus your energy elsewhere.
This is something I have continued applying post-lockdown. Of course, you don’t want your life to run you but there are situations that are out of my control and I’m finding it easier to sit back and enjoy the ride, when necessary.
I doubt that all of these lessons are a complete surprise to anyone however, I do hope a tip or two will help you become a happier and more productive person while we move out of lock-down. I find it encouraging that through all the negative aspects of furlough and the COVID-19 phenomenon, we have still discovered ways to improve our personal and professional lives.
If you’d like to discuss these tips or add your own, please note them in the comments below or contact me directly for a personal chat.
Emilia Anderson - 020 3058 8001 - email@example.com