What Day is It? The Working from Home Edition
Today is a Monday.
On most Mondays, I'm at the Two Sylvias Press office working, since Friday, March 13th, I have been working from home.
The first thing I noticed is how both long and short the days are. Long in that, without a commute, running errands, or even choosing an outfit or putting on makeup, there are definitely more hours in the day. However, with everyone home, "the house" becomes its own project of cleaning up and dishes.
The first two weeks both felt as if I got a lot done and nothing done. My biggest problem was I couldn't remember what I did. Did I write? Did I do Two Sylvias work? Did I do laundry? Did I sit on the couch and scroll through Facebook? Did I play Words with Friends and bingewatch Love is Blind (possibly...)?
So I've started a few things to help me understand where my time is going and to remember what I did.
1) The Daily Log: I now keep a book next to me, a daily log where it has four columns, Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Other Things. I just write what I did during the day, just enough so I can see where I spent my time. Other Things are good things (or things) I want to remember:
Here's today's log:
Talked to Annette (the other editor at Two Sylvias)
Sent Erica her finished cover
Sent an invoice
Choose winners for the April Poetry Prompts Giveaway
Finished the Facebook banner for #NaPoWriMo
Called my mum
Meditated (20 minutes) / Napped 30 minutes
Did 2 poetry submissions
Responded to emails
Wasted time on Twitter
Worked a collaborative poem (RB)
Watched The Rape of Europa (documentary)
Played Words with Friends
Did a blog post (finally!)
Worked on a collaborative poem (MS)
A friend shared my poem with his creative writing students (DR)
The artist who chose my poem send me what she painted based on it
I looked for AirBnBs to create my own retreat
Nothing big, but just reminders so I can look back on my day and feel as if it wasn't just lost in the abyss--right now, I feel my calendar is sinking into the abyss.
2) Gmail Time Tracker: I realized I am someone who can spend way too much time on email. I keep Gmail up and constantly check it. Why? Because I feel it's the one area that can knock me down.
To get a better idea how much time I was using, I added the Google extension Gmail Time Tracker into my Chrome browser to keep track of how much time I use. Yikes. Sometimes I spend 30 minutes on one email. Yikes (I do love to write letters to friends) but seeing the timer tell me how much time I've used really shows me what a time sink email can be. (When you are writing an email, a little timer in the upper right of your Gmail tells you how long you've been working on the same email.)
If you work with clients, you can download a spreadsheet to see how much time you spent with whom. For me, I just wanted to wrap my head around how much time I'm using. And it's more than it should be.
Some things to know--the timer is free to add to your Chrome, but if you use more than 10 hours, a little sign pops up telling you it's $4.99 a month (or full disclosure here: you can write a blog post to to get unlimited usage). So for my Capricorn mind, seeing the amount of time I've been spending helps me sign off gmail and manage things better.
3) Take It Easy On Myself and Other Housemate (aka Family): The final thing I'm doing is making a point to give everyone a pass. Are there huge house projects that would be nice to have done--uh-huh. Are they getting done? No. Is that okay? Yes.
I realize, we're in uncertain times, we don't know how long we're going to be here and humans can be annoying. I remind myself of my privilege (and how lucky I am) to be able to do my job from home.
Yes, it takes longer and twice I've had to drive into the office for things I didn't realize I'd need, but I didn't lose my job or am on the frontlines of this. I have a couple stresses but I keep the perspective of --I am not a doctor, a firefighter, an EMT, a store cashier, a delivery drive, a postal carrier, or any of the essential jobs that are still being done. Also, after watching all these WWII shows, I also remind myself that I am in my house with food, water, heat, electricity. I am not watching my city bombed, I am not blacking out my windows at night. I am an editor and poet who is mildly inconvenienced and because I know it's worth the life and health of others, I stay put. Because I know that I can be useful by staying home, trying to remain positive, and helping my elderly neighbors and mum.
So I do.
I'm trying to have gratitude for all I do have and not jump too far into the future with "what if this happens?" or "how long will I be here" or any doomsday scenario. I will live when they come up. I'm working on "be here now" and "one day at a time." It isn't always easy. Last night I cried over something dumb, a friend said, "I don't think you were just crying over not getting a writing residency, I think you were shedding tears for this situation." I'd like to think/hope given that I've never cried over not getting a writing residency, that's kind of old hat for me.
So we do our best to get by.
And maybe if I'm lucky, I'll discover something about myself during this time.
Thanks for checking in.
www.agodon.com / www.twosylviaspress.com