How contractors can stay focused during Lockdown 3.0
It feels as if lockdown has gone on forever, doesn’t it? It’s hard to believe we’re actually on lockdown number three, although that’s because the various parts of the UK have been under restrictions of differing severities since last March (and some parts of the North of England never really left the first lockdown). By now, despite us all having been here before, many are reporting that this is the hardest lockdown so far, and this is for a combination of factors.
Firstly, we’re all weary of it now. No part of this has been easy but as we’re nearing the one-year anniversary it’s becoming harder and harder to be apart from our loved ones and live with so many restrictions. Secondly, it’s winter. The short days and rubbish weather make this a tough bit of year at the best of times, but now it really restricts our activities as trips to the park or hanging out in the garden are that bit less appealing. Thirdly, with the vaccination programme in the UK ramping up, the end feels as if it could be tantalisingly close (variants pending, of course), which is making the current lockdown feel incredibly frustrating. All this considered, it’s no wonder many of Kingsbridge’s contractors are telling us they’re finding it increasingly difficult to focus on, well, anything. We’ve been asking around for what works and these are some of the top tips.
Take regular screen breaks
Imagine you’re working in your client’s office. You’ll be hard at work but then you need to have a meeting with a member of the team, or someone will pop over for a chat, or you’ll nip out for a coffee with the project lead. Simply put, you have lots and lots of screen breaks that you don’t plan, or even think about. At home, it’s far too easy to be sucked into a piece of work and not resurface for hours. To avoid burnout, you need to schedule regular screen breaks so, set a reminder on your phone at regular intervals and then get up and make a cuppa, pop out to the shop to run any errands, empty the washing machine… anything to get away from your computer screen for a few minutes.
Go for walks
It’s far too easy at the moment to get to the end of the week and realise you’ve barely left the house. Make time for fresh air and exercise by scheduling in a walk or two during the day. Yes, we know the weather isn’t great but sometimes there’s nothing nicer than wrapping up warm on a winter’s day and going for a walk. Remember, you can go with people from your household, or meet one person from one other household (while social distancing) if you feel comfortable doing so, so you can either walk with someone, or pop in your earphones and listen to a podcast or two.
Speak to actual humans
We’ve spoken to contractors who live alone, or whose partner is a key worker and, therefore, out of the house all day, and they’ve said they can go for hours or even days at a time without speaking to anyone. This can be lonely and very damaging to your mental health, but it’s also a fairly easy situation to rectify. Rather than embarking upon an email exchange with your client, why not pick up the phone and give them a call? It can be so good to hear another person’s voice and we suspect they may appreciate it just as much. Of course, there’s also the option of video chat but Zoom-fatigue is well and truly setting in now. A phone call is much less formal and there’s no pressure to have a camera on.
Keep home and work life separate
This probably seems like an impossible task being that your entire working life is now at home, but there are ways to put some boundaries in place so that work doesn’t infringe on your home life.
– Work at a desk if you can so that you can physically leave work behind when you’ve finished for the day. Ideally this would be in a home office space but if it has to be in a living space, put notes, stationery and so on away in draws at the end of the day. The second-best option is setting up a work station at, say, your dining room table and then packing it all away when you finish.
– Set office hours for yourself and try not to stray beyond them. Switch notifications off for work emails when you’re not working so that you’re not tempted to deal with stuff there and then.
– Make plans for yourself when you’re not working. These could be spending time with your kids, taking a long bath, watching a film, reading a book, crafting, going for a run… anything. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. The point is more setting something for downtime and then sticking to it.
We know this isn’t one-size-fits-all, and that you may well have your own techniques for helping yourself focus, but hopefully some of these tips will bring some relief if you’re finding Lockdown 3.0 particularly tough. The main thing is that you get through this, ready to take on the world as life returns to normal. And, in the meantime, if you need to renew or change your contractor insurance, you can speak to the friendly, expert Kingsbridge team on 01242 808 740 to discuss your requirements and let us help you find what you need – we could even be your human to talk to that day. We’re certainly up for a chat.