Project Slippers – Week 1-5 Update
About 5 weeks ago, I started a new project called Project Slippers; and it’s still going! Unlike my usual projects, I have no idea when it will end, the scope keeps changing, and the budget is an unknown!
Project Slippers is what I have termed this period of time where I have been isolating at home due to the risk of COVID-19. Project Slippers officially started for me on Friday 13th March; what an appropriate date! It was on this date that my major client initiated their emergency plan, which involved separating teams onto different sites, and where possible, inviting people to work at home.
Just over a week later, the UK Government initiated their emergency plan, which has been termed ‘lockdown’. Bars, restaurants, shops and other non-essential services were closed, and people were told to stay at home and only leave for essential journeys, such as grocery shopping and medical needs; although we are allowed one daily piece of exercise, providing we remain 2 metres away from others.
So, how’s it going? I’ve been documenting my journey via LinkedIn and my other business social media channels on a weekly basis, but I thought it’d be helpful to provide you with a round-up of the first 5 weeks of Project Slippers….
Week 1 - Week Ending 20/3/2020 - "Driving to Nowhere"
Week 1 of social isolation complete. So, how was it for you?
Here are some wins from me….
- No commuting means no traffic.
- No need for make-up.
- Tracksuit / lounge wear ‘uniform'.
- No straightening or curling of the hair needed.
- Time to do some jobs around the house.
- Quality time with the husband (well, I think so, anyway!)
However, there are some things I have missed….
- People - It's amazing how quickly you miss nattering with people.
- Driving - Although not sitting in traffic is truly wonderful, I have missed driving. I miss my Jeep in particular, which is in quarantine in a different country!
So, this week I'm going to make an effort to natter more, and as I have nowhere to drive to, I'm going to reminisce about driving by looking at pictures of cars! I may even go for a drive to nowhere in particular....then back home again....
Week 2 - Week Ending 27/03/2020 - “Bingo!"
"So, how was it for you?”
I am of course, talking about week 2 of social distancing / isolation!
This week I have attended or conducted 32 separate meetings/webinars using tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts. Add to that video calls with friends and family via WhatsApp and Facebook, and I think I’m certainly maximising technology to stay in touch!
It’s amazing how quickly people have adapted to this new world of social distancing. I’ve heard wonderful stories of people coaching parents and grandparents on how to connect to a Zoom call, how to turn the video on, and most importantly, how to ensure the camera is pointing the right way!
So, in light of all of these conference calls, meetings and webinars, I have decided to mix it up next week and I’ll be playing conference call bingo. Here’s my game card, who wants to play?!
The trick will be not to shout "house!" if I manage to tick off every square on the card, or for anyone who has ever played bingo, I think the technical term is "dab 'em with my dobber!"
Get dabbing with your dobber, and join me in a game of conference call bingo!
Week 3 - Week Ending 03/04/2020 - “Run Kerry Run!"
Wow, is it really only 3 weeks?! I admit, it’s starting to feel like more, and I am starting to wonder how many of these weekly blogs I’m going to have to write on Project Slippers...
I’ve pondered this week about why Project Slippers feels different to other periods when I’ve worked at home, and I’ve realised it’s all about mindset.
This time, I know that I’m not allowed to pop to the shops whenever I want. My Dad can’t come over for a lunchtime bacon sandwich, and I can’t finish up early one day to go and see my Mum. When Friday night comes, I can’t unwind with my husband over a nice meal and a bottle of wine in a restaurant. I HAVE to stay at home...
However, we must remember:
We’re not “stuck at home”, we’re “safe at home”.
It’s one change of word, but a very powerful difference none-the-less!
So, in order to remove the feeling of cabin fever this week, I’ve taken positive steps to look after my physical health, and as a result, I feel a benefit in my mental health too.
Week 1 and week 2 for me was all work, work, work... I spent an extraordinary amount of hours indoors, sat in my office staring at the computer. This week, I have still been extremely productive workwise, but I’ve also taken the time to simply get some fresh air.
I’ve walked in the garden (thankfully I have a good-sized garden, so I haven’t become too dizzy whilst doing laps!), I’ve taken a longer walk in the countryside near to my house, and I’ve even had a virtual PT session!
- Physical health improved
- Mental health improved
- Mindset reset
My aim for week 4 will be to do even more self-care through exercise. I have booked in another PT session, I’m also attending a virtual Pilates group, and I’ll make sure I take time away from my desk to have regular walks in the garden.
Week 4 - Week Ending 10/04/2020 - “The New-World Uniform"
This week I’ve been making observations about this ‘new world’ I’m finding myself in...
For example, my new ‘uniform’, which consists of a tracksuit (and of course, slippers!).
I’ve been rocking my green Jamaica tracksuit this week, which I bought from Negril in Jamaica whilst I was there for my wedding and honeymoon 4 years ago. Not exactly my usual working week attire!
In the evening, I then change out of the tracksuit into some loungewear; see, I really am treating the tracksuit as a work uniform!
And then there’s the hair and make-up situation.....or rather lack of....
I haven’t worn make-up since Project Slippers started. It’s been the usual face cream after the morning shower, but that entire ‘war paint’ routine of putting on make-up has gone...as my colleagues who have seen me on video calls will testify!
And as for my hair....
I have roots and even the odd grey coming through. My hair dryer hasn’t been out of the drawer in weeks in favour of leaving it to dry naturally, and my collection of curling tongs, straighteners and other hair whirling devices, have remained untouched!
Another change has been exercise.
I have partaken in a form of exercise every day. EVERY SINGLE DAY! That’s unheard of for me! Not because I’m lazy. On the contrary, it’s because I’m usually so busy; commuting to and from client sites and zipping around doing jobs on my to do list. I’ve done YouTube exercise videos (yes, even the Joe Wicks PE lessons!), I’ve had virtual PT sessions, and I’ve even signed up to a live virtual Pilates class!
Next up are the webinars, virtual meetings and digital keep in touch sessions.
I’ve never been so networked and in touch! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining in the slightest, it’s been wonderful! I’ve enjoyed taking the time to have video meetings with colleagues and Associates who’d ordinarily be too busy to spend an hour together. A small group of us are even working together to develop some new ideas.... #watchthispace !
Phew, I’m exhausted just writing it all! I’m not finished yet though!
I’m also learning new skills.
I’ve increased my time on my Spanish language app, so if this goes on much longer, the major positive will be my enhanced language skills....espero...(that means “I hope”...I hope!)
And finally, social media...
There have been many social media highlights (you’ll soon see the theme!):
- Singing along to Gary Barlow’s #croonersessions
- Watching and singing along to Robbie Williams’ #coronaoke
- Mark Owen’s meditation sessions
- And Even tuning in to Howard Donald’s bedtime stories (he has a very soothing voice!)
So, in summary, I’m exhausted!
When people keep taking about down time, I’m wondering what they’re doing, because I’ve never been so busy! It’s all about embracing what you can!
And of course, this new world won’t be here forever (we hope!). At some point, the world is going to change again. I don’t think we’ll go back to the old world completely.
I've been pondering what the new new-world will look like...
- Will I remember how to do my hair and make-up?! This is a real worry. I’d mastered the art of curling my hair in 10 minutes before all of this. What if I can’t do it anymore! Or will it be like riding a bike.....let’s hope so!
- Having to drive to a client site! Traffic jams, broken down cars and bad drivers!
- Will we shake hands when we meet colleagues, will we greet friends with a kiss on the cheek?
- What on earth will we talk about when we don’t have a global pandemic as the main topic? Brexit? (NO...PLEASE....NOT BREXIT AGAIN....!)
- And most importantly, who will croon to me every afternoon without the daily #croonersessions ?!
So many things to ponder over the coming weeks....
But right now, it's time to switch off, so I will bid you farewell....until next week's update...
Week 5 - Week Ending 17/04/2020 - “Back To The Future"
For some, it was a short working week this week, thanks to the Easter Bank Holiday. Did you notice? No, me neither; especially as I hadn’t added ‘chocolate’ to my last shopping list! Big mistake!
It’s now been 5 weeks since my own lockdown started, and every week has been a learning experience. You've followed me as I’ve talked about missing my cars (yes, I know how sad that sounds!), being exhausted by lots of online meetings, and playing conference call bingo as a form of entertainment, then my light bulb moment when I realised the need to do more physical exercise, and most recently, last week’s update where I started to think about the new world post COVID-19.
This week, I’ve entered a new phase….
It started when I looked again at this diagram which was shared a number of times on a number of different social media channels.
I realised that I’m firmly in the ‘Growth Zone’ depicted on the diagram. I’m thinking about the future and I’m extending that thinking past last week’s update where I was wondering about the practicalities of things like commuting, greeting people, and the all-important need to start doing the hair and make-up again!
This week, I’ve continued to develop some new ideas that have been on the back burner for a few months due to life being so busy, and I’ve started to develop new ideas for the future. I’ve been planning adaptations and innovations to my business, as well as developing myself as a person.
It’s been a busy week!
However, it has also been exciting and motivating! I’m embracing every day I have at home and using every day valuably. The next challenge will be to make sure I stop and have some downtime, otherwise I’ll burn out before these new ideas are launched!
And on that note, there’s no time to waste, I’m going to end this week’s update there and get back to planning the future!
I hope you enjoyed this wrap-up of my first 5 weeks in isolation. If you’d like to follow my Project Slippers journey week by week, here are the links to my LinkedIn and other social media channels:
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kerryannjames/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/AkenoLtd
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/AkenoLtd
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/AkenoLtd
- Stay safe, stay well, stay at home