21:42

Just kind of dawning on me now that tomorrow is my birthday. The month of July came around so quickly (how is it 7 months into this year?!)

This weekend and last weekend I attended national and local online spiritual convocations organised by our church. I think this is probably why I didn’t realise we were already half way into July! Still haven’t heard anything from work regarding working from home again, or physically returning to the office… so still in limbo work-wise. Other July activities include baking carrot muffins, exploring Gore Glen Woodland Park, playing tennis again (now that the weather is better), and making use of the free Just Eat cycles!

I’ve never really been much of a birthday person and tend to not do anything to celebrate it. Last year I was at a friend’s wedding on my birthday and at the reception they brought out a cake for me which was thoughtful. The previous year my birthday fell on the day before my older brother got married so we had a cake amidst decoration chaos. The older I get, the less I worry about birthday celebrations and growing older. Whatever comes my way I know that God will guide, and I am thankful for everything that has led me up to this point!

20:58

On Friday I went on my daily walk/run and ended up close to my friend’s flat. I messaged her to look outside and we had a short conversation through the window. My friend lives on the first floor so it was quite difficult to shout up/down to each other. My friend decided to come down to speak to me so we stood 2 metres apart in the street and had a 20 minute conversation. It was the first time we’ve seen each other in over 6 weeks! It’s strange to think that this is the norm if people want to catch up in person, and I have seen plenty of others doing the same.

Previously we would have gone to a cafe, or up to her flat, or even just sat in my car or in the park to catch up. The physical distance of our daily lives has been changed so vastly that it seems almost impossible to return to. Will working from home become the norm for most employees? Will supermarkets disinfect their trolleys and baskets more regularly? Will face masks be a part of every day life?

I am currently still riding the wave of furlough and taking each day as it comes. The extension of the government’s Job Retention Scheme is now till the end of June. While 80% pay is not the most ideal situation, I know that there are many who face far worse such as unemployment or inability to pay rent. Everyone is doing their best in light of this strange situation. Will our lives ever return to ‘normal’?

20:11

Phew! It’s officially April.

What a crazy month of March!

It has been a strange transitioning period for many who are now working from home, for those unable to see family and friends, and for those unable to buy basic necessities.

After my previous post about my company lock down, my manager asked me to work from home – not a standard 7.5 hours a day, but to keep on top of things by checking and replying to emails. While at first I saw it as an inconvenience to still have to work from home, I realised that I am much luckier than some of those around me. There are people who cannot make a living because of the nature of their work. They cannot open their shops or restaurants as they rely on social interaction. Some of my colleagues have been furloughed because their work cannot be done from home. While I feel ‘trapped’ because I am limited to where I can go outside, I know that I am blessed to have my health and still able to go on daily walks for exercise.

Getting into a routine – albeit not a strict one – has helped to keep myself in check. I still set a morning alarm to wake up and an evening alarm to remind myself to get ready for bed at a sensible time. Sometimes I get up and go at my alarm and sometimes I give myself some leeway. I make sure to get changed (if only into comfortable lounge clothing) so that I have some semblance of normal life, and to be more productive. I check my emails in the morning after I have breakfast and complete my work going into lunch time. I recently started going for my lunch time walks again (like I usually do on my office lunch breaks) and found I am more productive in the afternoon. For a couple of days my mornings and early afternoons would meld into one, as I quickly ate lunch then rushed back to my work in a bid to ‘finish early’. I realised that this was very unhealthy and was not the kind of working from home routine I wanted. Going for walks/runs helps me to clear my head, stretch my legs and stimulate my brain. It also gives me time to catch up with podcasts and zone out to music.

When I take a slightly longer lunch break I find I am more motivated to do my work in the afternoon, and am less distracted by other things. I try and finish up my work anywhere from 4pm to 6pm, sometimes opting for a longer day so I have a freer next day. Having less limitations is both a blessing and a curse. I find that I don’t clock watch because I know that everything is on my own schedule – if I focus, I can finish earlier. However I do find that I get distracted easily – phone, video calls, watching shows, snacks, reading the news.

It has been just over a week since I was in the office and my concept of time is lacking. The days flow into each other so easily! Without structure it is easy to lose control of yourself in a balance of work and leisure. Self discipline is key in times like these. I implore everyone to stay safe by staying at home, in a hope that things will return to normality soon!

20:43

There has been a lot going on in my life that I wanted to reflect on but have felt like I never had the correct head space to do so. After a particularly testing day I truly felt like I could have snapped at any point. Sometimes when things go wrong I fail to see the bigger picture and let my emotions get the better of me. Even little things can trigger a sigh of disappointment or a pang of irritation, however I am trying to learn to be more accepting of both the good and the bad in life.

My manager occasionally reminds our management group that ‘you cannot control bad news or problems but you can always control how you react.’ As my manager is quite into her motivational quotes I took what she said with a pinch of salt, however I can see the relevance of that phrase to not only my work but all aspects of life.

Yes, my train was cancelled and then the next one was delayed. But would getting angry or annoyed have helped the situation at all? There is a storm hitting the UK so I endured winds and heavy rain all day, got splashed by a bus not once, not twice but three separate times. Was I vexed? Slightly. However I accepted that the weather was miserable, my clothes would dry and carried on with my day. I also thought ‘it could have been worse.’ A change in mentality takes the negativity out of a bad situation. Acceptance is key; it’s how we move forward and learn to grow.

19:59

Today was a difficult day.

I took my car to get serviced because my gears were grinding and unfortunately they were not able to fix it there. They carried out some minor service works which I had to pay for on top of my service fee. I now need to find a garage that can fix my gear issue.

This morning I lost my cousin to cancer. She had been fighting for a while with more time spent in the hospital than out. She suffered greatly and towards the end of her life she refused any more treatment. I last visited her on Saturday and it was very emotional to see her in that state. The family is comforted to know she is in a better place with no more pain and suffering.

I had to deal with an act of disobedience from a member of staff that I manage. When asked to do a task today, she said she would do it on Friday – no reasoning behind it. Eventually the order was followed after I explained reasons why it had to be done today. When faced with a snippy response, all I wanted was to send a snippy comment back asking that she follow orders. However after typing out an email I got a colleague to read over it, and they advised I amend it to be softer and to give reason to my words. In my emotional state the situation could have escalated to much worse.

I try to keep a work life balance. I was working 8 hours a day for a period of time to accommodate newer members of my team. I have since shifted back to 7.5 hours a day. Any time I stay later than my shift I try to analyse why. Was there a task I could have delegated to my team? Was there time I could have spent more wisely? Could I spread my work out throughout the week instead of condensing it? Management is a learning process and leading a team does not come easy. Sometimes it feels like there is not enough time in the day to complete my work, as well as answer queries from my team and deal with personal requests.

Today I came home feeling stretched rather thinly. There is a phrase my manager likes to use which is ‘being pulled from pillar to post.’ My day has been physically and emotionally draining, and the non-stop schedule is not something I want to continue.

I guess they call it hump day for a reason. Here’s to a better latter half of the week!

20:31

November has always been a nothing month for me. It’s always been a month where nothing much happens, a month that I could happily skip through to get to the end of the year. However, this year it holds a dearer place in my heart.

I got promoted!

Applying for an internal position is just as nerve-wracking as an external one. I had two interviews: one with my manager and the other with the regional director for Scotland. My manager works with me on a close level so the interview was more of a detailed chat about the role and expectations. The thought of the second interview caused me to lose sleep. Having not interviewed anywhere in three (plus) years made me rusty.

I hadn’t even thought about how to answer questions they might pose or how to portray myself as a passionate and driven individual. I prepared as best as I could and tried to relax before going into the room. I thought hard about the questions I was posed and collected my thoughts before giving coherent answers, expanding where necessary. I came out of the interview unsure about how it went, especially because I knew the reputation of the regional director as being quite tough. Nevertheless over a week passed and due to my manager having a sick daughter I didn’t hear anything about the job.

  Last Thursday morning I got an email from my manager (who was in a different office that day) telling me to call her as soon as I could. I automatically panicked. I thought that could only mean bad news. Imagine my relief when she told me I’d gotten the job! I had never felt such a sense of relief! It was like this huge weight lifted off my chest and I could breathe properly for the first time.

Starting in December I will become a team leader. My current team will now have me as their boss. It still feels surreal! As the youngest but longest serving member of my team the promotion came as a surprise to some. I have my reservations about leading a team of seniors but am confident that I will develop skills and grow along the way. Here’s to more happy news and memorable Novembers!

21:10

Where is 2018 running off to? As the months sprint past it seems strange to think how long a year felt back in my years of studying. Term time seemed to last forever and even the long holidays would drag out. In my working life everything seems to be going in fast forward. A Monday ends before I know it, then suddenly it’s midweek, and then somehow it’s already Friday? I find myself not having enough time to get everything done in a day. I find myself scrambling to work harder and more efficiently to fit everything in. I need life to slow down a little and let me catch up.

21:47

In the blink of an eye it is September!

July and August have flown by and the summer months are well and truly gone. The colder temperatures are back and dreary days are drawing near. Throughout the summer I celebrated my birthday and my older brother’s wedding. I also moved to the other side of Edinburgh, planned a surprise dinner for my younger brother’s birthday and gained responsibilities at work.

My days are filled with work, swimming and end with crashing into bed exhausted. My metabolism has quickened and I find myself needing to eat more often to satisfy my body’s needs. I am trying to keep to my goal of 10k steps per day, pushing myself at weekends when I rest more and do less. I work hard so I can play hard!

21:34

Today is my WordPress anniversary! I’m not entirely sure how many years ago I started running this blog, but I am definitely proud of how far it has come. While I find myself with less words to write, I am thankful for an open yet safe space where I can share and relieve my mind.

This week of work has sped by! April has always been a ‘nothing’ month for me. In education days it was the month of Easter break and revision for exams, however now it holds no significance. Work life remains work life. As April comes to a close I wonder what the month of May will bring!