This break from the hustle and bustle of my working mom's life has taught me how much this constant disruption distracts from my business. Today is the perfect example of what I mean.
I am writing this post while waiting outside of the orthodontist's office because my daughter is getting braces this morning. This appointment was added to my calendar yesterday. I said yes because I knew that there would never be a particularly convenient time, as my work schedule has not slowed during #healthyathome. The doctor's office is near a market that I frequent, so I planned to drop her off, grab a few groceries, and then write this article while I waited. The reality wasn't so smooth.
We arrived on time, but the orthodontist wasn't ready. Knowing our wait could be ten minutes or more, I grabbed my laptop and started writing this article. I was creating the time table above when they called my daughter inside. I shut down the computer and drove up the street to grab groceries so that I would be back in the parking lot by the time she finished. Upon my return, I powered up the laptop again to continue my work. As she returned to the car 20 minutes later, I was trying to find the right way to express the cumulative impact of my workday disruptions.
To completely clarify, during a one-hour block at my most productive time of day (I'm a morning person), I squeezed in 35 minutes of work, which resulted in the first draft of one-third of this article. I have to say that this feels very typical of my norm before the pandemic. Over the past weeks of #healthyathome, however, I was able to complete the first draft of a 500-700 word blog in that same timeframe because I could focus without interruption. It strikes me that what I am experiencing is similar to highway mileage versus city mileage in a vehicle. All of the stop and go actions in the middle of my workday reduce my efficiency, and frankly are often annoying (just like poorly timed traffic lights on a major thoroughfare).
Several articles have popped up in my LinkedIn feed about the unique challenges of women trying to navigate the demand of work and home [HBR]. Although I live it and acknowledge it intellectually, the actual time tax of my operating norm had never fully hit home until #healthyatwork added suspended activities back into my day. It took me a few days of frustration at how far behind I was getting on work tasks and reflection on my days to figure out why I was suddenly struggling. I'm slightly awestruck at my ability to manage the competing demands of my pre-coronavirus life.
These past two months have been a luxury of time and focus that I haven't known since my first child was born almost eighteen years ago. Thank goodness Governor Andy Beshear has a "slow" plan for easing our way back into public activities. My former schedule now seems so disruptive that I would be completely stressed out and even more behind schedule if I had to press the start button and resume everything at once. So just know that whether it is yourself or your employees, as things continue to evolve over the coming weeks, returning to old routines is not necessarily less complicated. And, the need for grace that we've extended to one another during #healthyathome may be needed even more as we transition to #heatlhyatwork. Now I need to marinate the meat for tonight's dinner before I jump on my next Zoom call.