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a blog by Chris Barrow

Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat

We are by design creatures of habit and I've written before that all of our routines were stolen on 23rd March when the UK lockdown was announced.

What followed was a period of readjustment, with many (me included) floundering as we drifted from one anxious day to another.

Gradually we settled into our new lockdown routines. Some good. Some bad.

It took me about 2/3 weeks before I adjusted to a set of successful habits that would get me through the day (and also take control of nutrition, sleep, balance and responsible drinking).

I became a weekday lockdown machine:

  1. 05:00 alarm;

  2. Morning ritual - journal, Daily Stoic, email/social media check, blog;

  3. 06:30 Wattbike;

  4. 08:00 Shower, dress, breakfast;

  5. 09:00 back at my desk;

  6. a.m. - emails, content development, planning;

  7. p.m. - (and often into evening), Zoom calls and webinars;

  8. 20:00 box set;

  9. 21:30 in bed, reading;

  10. 22:00 lights out.

Groundhog days.

For me, the routine continues - and I had to admit yesterday that I was suffering from cabin fever in my basement office.

Up until a couple, of weeks ago, variety was provided by the occasional sortie into the garden (with iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard) to work in the sunshine.

It's been raining in Manchester for what seems like two weeks now and I'm confined to quarters and starting to go a bit bonkers in The Barrow Bunker.

My clients face a new challenge - the return to work.

In reality, if they had a lockdown routine, the behavioural apple-cart has now been upset for a second time as that has been replaced by the challenges of solving the SOP/PPE/people puzzle surrounding getting the practice back to work again.

We are seeing a variation on the theme of what happened immediately after lockdown - a period of confusion, followed by a settling in to a new clinical as well as daily routine.

For many owners who either cannot or will not un-furlough all of their team, this means the additional burden of a demanding day IN surgery, followed by a return to the never-ending task list of working ON the business.

The lockdown groundhog is replaced by the Return to Work (RTW) groundhog and, although it may have less uncertainty attached, it is certainly proving to be physically and mentally more demanding.

Across my client base, I'm seeing people who have been resilient during lockdown now showing the strains under RTW.

It has become more important than before to make sure that you are:

  1. Focusing on your unique abilities;

  2. Creating an "everything else" list that is either delegated, automated or eliminated;

  3. Maintaining balance, with adequate time for rest and recuperation, as well as connection with self and family.

Tempting though it may be - don't burn yourself out.

Here's an excellent online quiz (it takes less than 5 minutes to complete) from the makers of the task manager Todoist - it allows them to recommend which of the top 10 productivity systems might be the best for you:

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