“To know reality is to accept it, and eventually to love it.” – George Wald
Last week a new reality began and I am working on accepting it. I began working from home, we had a 5.7 magnitude earthquake wake us up one morning and have had aftershocks since. We have had home church the past two Sundays. My three boys began schooling from home and the US Treasury gave us more time to file and pay our taxes. That made for an eventful week.
What does this new reality mean for me and for my family? It would seem that home has become the new office, new church, new school, new restaurant and new theater. We are having different experiences and adjusting to a different way of daily life. My two social boys have to learn to practice social distancing with friends and my introvert son is in heaven. My wife has not gone crazy having us around the house all the time (yet). We each have moved our lives back into the home and are now living large parts of our lives “remotely.”
Working, churching, schooling, etc. remotely is different and to make it work well. We have had to learn and adjust. I think I am still learning and adjusting. While our kids have laptop computers, we have had a “no electronics” in the bedroom (and bathroom) policy for our boys for a long time. They have to use their electronics and do homework out in the open. With all three of them on video classroom calls and instruction at the same time, we have had to suspend the rule to allow them use of electronics (for school only) in their bedrooms. It would be hard to focus with three conversations going on in the same space. I am working at the dining table while the youngest son is at the desktop on the desk about 15 feet away and the older two boys are schooling in their bedrooms. I miss my office setup…
So what have I learned so far by working remotely?
1 – Setup is important. At my office, I have an adjustable computer desk, comfortable and adjustable office chair, multiple monitors and a printer and scanner to my side. At home I have a fixed height table, a lightly padded dining chair and my laptop. If this situation is to continue for a while (which I think it might), I should bring home some of my office setup to make working from home more comfortable.
2 – While I may be working, I am also home. The commute is wonderful but when your spouse is upset the hairy son shaved his beard and clogged the sink drain and the said son is at work and not able to address the issue – you are home to address the issue. As people finish school before I finish work, they begin to watch television and raid the kitchen while I am a few feet away still working. A dedicated space outside of the traffic of the home will be needed if this is long term. As we don’t have an empty room or study, we may have to rearrange bedroom situations to make this happen.
3 – The home office doesn’t close. Working at my office, when a certain time came I would close up my computer and head home and be home with my family. Working from home, I have found that I would continue working past that normal “quitting time” and work much later into the evening. I am not sure why that has occurred. It may be the additional stress and anxiety over the unknown in the situation and me trying to cope or it is taking longer to get stuff off my to-do list because of distractions. I need to be better at shutting the computer off and “going home.”
4 – Maintaining a routine is important. Getting up and “going” to work needs to happen. I need to maintain my routine and rhythms to be more productive. I need to start my day with a mini-strategy session before moving on to tasks. I need to get up and move at regular intervals. I need to be serious about maintaining my office routine in my home office.
5 – My wife is awesome. I already knew this but being home all day has allowed me to see the many big and little things she does for me and our family that go unnoticed due to a lack of audience paying attention. I have become more grateful for her.
I hope you and your families are adjusting to these unusual times and are staying safe. We are doing our best and trying to accept and love our new reality. We love you and are praying for you, our country and the world.
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