I’ve been at home for 7 weeks now. For me this is a very unusual experience. Last year, for example, I travelled overseas for 24 different jobs, doing workshops, consulting with schools and visiting schools to evaluate or authorise them for the IB. Of course schools around the world are closed, learning has moved online, and flights have been cancelled to almost everywhere. Even when flights are still operating, I’ve had to change my travel plans as countries have employed a 14 day quarantine, which means I cannot realistically travel to a country and spend 14 days in a hotel room before going to a school for a 2 day workshop or visit. And then of course if the UK government imposes its own quarantine of 14 days on my return, that means basically a month in lockdown for 2 days of work. What to do? First of all I had to reassess my goals. Everything I thought was going to happen had to be shelved. I came up with both a Plan B and later a Plan C, which got shelved as well. I’ve had to reassess my goals yet again – to come up with ones that I can do. This led me to my 5 small daily goals: ones that I can control.
First of all I divided my goals into 5 main areas: me, family, professional, fitness and home. I then set about defining smaller goals for these 5 areas. I decided I would choose to do one of these a day. I write these all down in a book, and at the end of each day I tick off the ones I have done. So far I’ve managed to stick to 5 small goals every day and often many more than this.
These are some examples of the goals I have set:
Me Goals – these are all things that I like doing and involve some amount of self care. They can be as simple as putting on a facepack and sitting in a nice warm bath with some scented candles and relaxing music, or giving myself a proper manicure or pedicure. Other favourite goals of mine are to do with hobbies I’d been developing before lockdown. For example last summer I joined a sketchbook class. Painting a picture in my sketchbook is one of my options for a “me goal” – and I have to say my drawing and painting skills have certainly improved the more I have practiced. Another goal that I have in this category is to sit in the sun and read a book.
Family Goals – before lockdown I used to see my children, who both live and work in London, about once a month. For the last 7 weeks we have not been allowed to meet anyone outside our household, so we haven’t been able to meet face to face. However we have set a goal of doing a FaceTime every day so that we still check in with each other and talk about the day. Both my children are having to work from home – my son has used some of this time to renovate and decorate his house and just last weekend he adopted 2 little kittens from an animal rescue organisation. It’s hard not seeing my family face to face, but I’m very thankful we can see each other using technology. We have even used this technology to do a virtual family quiz night.
Professional Goals – these are the hardest as so much of my work got cancelled. I still have a number of schools where I am doing remote consultations and I’ve been able to devote quite a lot of time to looking in detail at their policies and programme of inquiry. I’ve also done some work for Toddle, designing learning experiences and this week I will be doing a webinar at The Inquiry Educators Summit. Reading blog posts, writing blog posts and reading professional books all count towards this goal. I’ve even added applying for jobs here as well recently, since things are so uncertain and I have no idea when I will be able to restart my consultancies, workshops and visits.
Fitness Goals – fall into 3 main categories. I have the Active10 app on my phone and since the government allowed us to leave the house for 30 minutes of exercise every day this has been something I’ve been aiming for. The app tracks every 10 minutes of brisk walking. Therefore this goal involves doing 3 lots of Active10s every day – all part of the 30 minutes of outdoor exercise. As well as this right before lockdown I went to try out a new yoga class getting started in the village. Unfortunately because of the lockdown the teacher has been unable to continue with the class, but I feel so grateful that she has decided to put this class onto Zoom, so 4 times a week I go into my home office, put my yoga met on the floor and join in with the virtual class. I’ve got back into doing headstands again – my next goal will be a handstand! Finally another option for the days when I don’t do yoga is to do a weights workout. I do this using videos that have been posted online. At home I have some kettlebells and a resistance band, so I have all the equipment I need to do a strength workout.
Home Goals – these are the ones I least look forward to but ones that need to get done. These goals include cleaning one room of the house every day, washing the car, mowing the lawn, deadheading the flowers in the garden, painting the shed and the garden fence, washing and ironing – you get it. I’ve also added going out once a week to do the shopping to the home goals since we are allowed to leave the house to buy food.
That just about sums it up! Every day I choose one goal from each category and at the end of the day I tick off which ones I’ve done. That means that every day I get a small sense of achievement and feel that I’ve made some progress. I have been very anxious at times (about my health and the health of those I love, and also about the fact that I have no regular income now which is certainly stressful) but I have also learned to focus on what I can control and do a good job at that – and having 5 goals a day really helps.
By the way all the images in this post are drawn by my daughter – click on them to enlarge them as they catalogue her experience of lockdown. If you like them you could also follow her posts on Instagram.
How are you getting through lockdown?