Since lockdown began there have been a lot of blogs and articles giving people advice on being “productive as possible” whilst being at home. I look at some of these articles and notice how similar they are and are aimed at people who are non disabled and have a lot of energy. I do think as a disabled person there are elements that can be difficult to relate to so I thought I’d do my own version which I’ve adapted to in case it helps any one else.
You don’t have to get up early
A lot of these articles say things like “WAKE UP AT 5AM AND MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MORNING”. One thing I am not is a morning person. My friends and family will vouch for this. I am ANGRY on a morning. I don’t know why my body just is traumatised at being interrupted. No matter how much I try and change this, i just can’t – so I’ve stopped. The beauty of being freelance means you can set your own hours, so if you’re not a morning person either – don’t force it. No one is watching you and tutting if you don’t. It’s much better for you to get the sleep you need than trying to conform to something that doesn’t work for you.
Getting dressed isn’t the be all and end all
Most people say “you can’t feel productive in your pjs”. But if it takes a lot of effort to get dressed and you only have a bit of energy one day, don’t push it. If you’re in your pjs but you answer your emails, what does it matter? You’re not going to sign off your email “Best wishes, Gem in mi pjs”.
My favourite thing to wear at the moment if I’m not on zoom calls are comfy joggers and a loose t-shirt. Then I feel dressed enough to separate the day but it’s not using too much energy either. It’s also amazing then when you get dressed up for a particular event, an absolute glow up I tell you.
Do you really have to separate your spaces?
Similar to the above point, there’s a whole rhetoric about staying in bed is being rebellious and you’re not doing it properly. But it’s much better to be comfy and work for however long you can than sitting at a table that may tire you out quicker. I have a few different locations I work at depending how I’m feeling that day. As sometimes I have broken bones, it’s really important to be as comfortable as possible.
The image above is my usual working space, which I’ve just moved around (obvs not me personally). I really love the cosy vibe and of course I have everything I need to hand, including a small keyboard and mouse that I can move to my reach so I’m comfy as possible. Also to note, cereal bar is always needed for emergency snack but prosecco is purely there for decoration…
9-5 isn’t always a way to make a living (guess the song)
This is something I’m still learning. I constantly feel guilt if I don’t feel like I’ve done a “hard day’s work”. But when you think about it, when you’re in an office you may chat to a few people in your day, get a couple of brews and have a lunch break. So it’s only right to give yourself time out in the day. I’m still trying to tell myself it’s ok if I need to have some rest in the middle of my day. Rest ultimately means being able to do more later rather than pushing through and not really getting much done.
Write a list that suits you
A lot of people say break up your day and write what you need to do at each hour. For me personally, that stresses me out. So I write a list and categorise them as “small, medium, and large energy jobs”. I also then start the priority jobs. Then that means I can tackle the big jobs if it’s a good energy day or if I’m not feeling it as much, just start with a small job to get going.
So there you go there’s some tips for those who don’t relate to the standard tips. Just remember, work is personal – we’re all different and you don’t have to work your arse off and make yourself ill to show everyone you’re ABSOLUTELY SMASHING IT. Being happy to me is the most important thing, if you’re enjoying what you do – that’s pretty bloody great.
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