Update 03/10 – 11/10 2020

I am still struggling with motivation regarding my blog and where I am going with it. I am signed up to get e-mails from Pete McPherson who runs the “Do You Even Blog” podcast and had one at the beginning of October talking about how his motivation was down because of all the changes that have taken place during this pandemic and, reading it, I realised that most of my lack of motivation is down to the Coronavirus. At this moment in time, where I live is back on a local lockdown and it seems that one day we are able to do thigs then the next we can’t and no one really knows what we are supposed to, or not supposed to be doing. Its really tiring and is all leaving me a bit lacklustre and drained.

Last Saturday was the boys Birthday, he turned 40. We had planned to have a big party, a room was booked for the party, a band was booked, food was planned and the guests invited but because of all the different restrictions across Wales and the rest of the UK it couldn’t go ahead. The boy went for a walk with a couple of friends and went target practicing, had a fire and came home a bit cold and wet as the weather wasn’t that good. We had a few drinks but nothing special, he liked his day but it wasn’t as special as it could have been.

I’ve been in work all week, we are running on a skeleton staff as most people are now working from home. It has been quiet in work but really busy as we are finalising payments. Work have slowly been rolling out laptops to all staff so we can work from home , its a slow process as all the software used varies from office to office depending on what our job role requires us to have access to, we need vpn access and network access along with a ton of other things. I received my laptop on Tuesday and had it up and working fully by Wednesday so was able to work from home on Friday. I was a bit apprehensive about how working from home would be, especially as my motivation has been so low lately but I really liked it. I had my wax melt burner going and was able to listen to podcasts without my headphones on, there were no interruptions and I could concentrate on what I had to do. It was a really nice day!

Over the weekend we have been sorting the house out, since the boy moved in we have had loads of stuff to sort out, tidy up and things that we needed to get rid of. We have a tip not far from our house and I finally was able to book a visit slot to get rid of some stuff. Our tip, as part of the COVID restrictions has put measures in place that mean each visit needs to be prebooked, your car registration given and a time slot chosen, only one person can go, any others need to remain in the car and if you miss your time slot then you need to re-book. The system is pretty good though I was doubtful about getting a weekend slot so I was surprised to get one this weekend. The boy filled his car up and took the stuff down and got rid of it then we spent time sorting out the downstairs of our house. It feels loads better now and it’s starting to look much better than before! I wish I had taken some before photos, I’ll share an after photo soon!

I’m not sure how this week is going to pa out and what the plans are, I’m not sure if I will be working from home at all this week yet. I am off on Friday though, I have a day’s annual leave booked as it is my Birthday. I plan to spend the day doing nothing, Lol! I might have a lie in and a lazy day with Roxy and potter about. I have a few art things to work on, I started Inktober though I am a bit behind, I may spend the day doodling for that. I have also been writing for The Everyday, an online magazine which is really worth checking out, there are so many good articles on there (especially ones by someone called Suzi Tench 😉 . I have an idea for another article that I want to write and may pitch the idea this week and make a start on writing the article on Friday if not before then.

Are any of you struggling with your motivation? How are you dealing with it? I’d love to hear your opinions on motivation and the Coronavirus in the comments!

Guess Who’s Back? An Update

It’s been months since I last wrote a blog post and so much has happened in that time,  I have had a few weeks away from work with an unidentified sickness which was thought to be Coronavirus (this was pre-testing) which then developed into a 4 week, 2 lots of antibiotics, battle with a chest infection.  On top of that, I have had to take further time off from work as I had been in contact with someone who started to show Covid symptoms to shield my co-workers and make sure I was not unwell.  All of this and the uncertainty of the past few months in general have really knocked me off kilter with my routines and writing which has meant that blogging has been pretty hard to keep up with.

Though I have not been blogging I have still been writing, Iwrote an article for an on-line magazine called The Everyday that you can find here https://theeverydaymagazine.co.uk/opinion/working-from-home-before-and-after-covid?rq=suzi%20tench and I have written another article for them that should be published at some point in September.

I started the 100 Day Project(https://www.the100dayproject.org/), a free art project lasting 100 days, which started on 7th April 2020, where you aim to do something creative each day for 100 days.  I started with the good intensions of being able to complete the 100 days but gave up around 20 days because I just felt so unmotivated to do any art.  I had started with an idea to work on an 8×8 inch square each day that would link together with other squares to form a bigger picture.  In all honesty, though I really enjoyed what I was doing, I think I was overly ambitious in the sizing of my squares that took more than a day to complete.  I think I will do the project again next year with the same concept but use much smaller squares of either 4×4 inch or 2×2 inch as they will be quicker to complete.

I found a fab group on Facebook called Frock Up Friday thatwas set up by Susan Sims and Bevali Francis during lockdown and gave members an excuse to get dressed up on Fridays when much of the world was working from home in comfortable clothes.  I joined and have taken part in frocking up on several Fridays during lockdown, which has helped me with my mental health during these uncertain times and has given me something to look forward to each week.  The Frock Up Friday group are lovely and the outfit’s people post, not just on a Friday, are amazing!

The biggest thing that happened just prior and during lockdown was that I gained a new boyfriend who has moved in with me!  I say new, though we grew up together, his sister and I were best friends through secondary school and her family became like my second family when growing up.  We have been in contact much of our adult live, mostly via social media, and decided to meet for a drink one evening and didn’tstop talking all night.  It has been lovely to have someone in my life who has known me through the years and has shared memories of things we did as kids.  A few months ago, we made the decision to move in together, he gave notice on the place he had been living in and moved in with me.

Since Rob and I got together and lockdown has eased, we have been away several times for the weekend, once we went to St David’s for the weekend to visit his mum and other weekends we have stayed in Brean walking along the beach, going out for dinner, having a mosey around the market or playing games in the arcades.  We have spent nights in during the week, watching tv, cooking food, having takeaways, listening to music and enjoying the odd glass of cider or wine.  When it was really hot, back in July, we bought a large paddling pool that we put in the garden, filled with water and sat out in the evenings watching the sun go down and the stars come out.  All this stuff, things that people take for granted in relationships, I didn’t realise I missed until I had it back in my life.

Anyway, that’s enough of the soppy stuff…  What have you all been up to while I have been away?  I hope you are all well and safe!  Hopefully, this post will be the start of more regular blog posts coming from me as I have really missed my blog, blog friends ad my blogging routine!

A Day In My Life…Work Day

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Work takes up a huge percentage, around 33%, of my waking life, so today I thought I would share what a typical working day is like for me.

  • 7:00am

I usually wake around 7:00am on a regular weekday when I am going to e working.  I wake to the sound of my alarm and set it to snooze for 10mins so I can have a snuggle with Roxy before starting my day.  I then get up, have a shower, get dressed and put some makeup on.

  • 8.00am

I come downstairs and put the kettle on, let Roxy out into the garden and start gathering up my lunch stuff.  I make a coffee and at the same time, I make myself a travel mug of coffee.  I pack everything I need into my day bag, drink my coffee and find my car keys.

  • 8:20am

I get into my car and begin my drive to work which doesn’t really take too long.  I am usually parked in work by 8:45am.  I then sit and have a quick read of some blogs while having a cigarette or a puff on my vape before heading into work at around 8:55am.

  • 9:00am

I get to my desk at a few minutes to 9 most days.  I log in to the system and unpack things I need for the day.  I then look at the work that I need to do for the day.  My manager has usually split each of my team work that needs to be done during the day, the work varies depending on the types of payment that we need to process.  I assess the work that I have been allocated, normally I like to start with the things that take the longest and make my way down the pile in descending time order.  I check my emails and reply to anything that needs to be answered, sometimes my manager will have emailed with how she wants work to be completed depending on where we are in the pay cycle.  By 9:15am I have a plan in place and I start the day.

  • 10:00am

I have my breakfast at 10:00am while I work as I have found eating before I take my medication helps me to feel less sicky.  I have my breakfast and drink my coffee before taking my meds at 10:30am.  I continue to work on processing payments while I eat and have my coffee.

  • 11:00am

Thi sis universally known as Tea O’clock!  At 11:00am I go and make a cup of tea (I drink Tetley Red Bush Vanilla, no sugar, no milk!) and fill my bottle of water up.  Once that is done I then return to my desk and check my emails before continuing with processing.

  • 12:00pm

The post has usually arrived by now so I will spend some time opening and sorting the post.  Some of our post needs to be logged onto the system and then sent to our sister office for them to process.  I usually log the post and pack it up ready to be delivered.  This can take an hour or so.

  • 1:00pm

Between 1:00pm and 1:30pm I have my lunch.  90% of the time I sit at my desk and have my lunch while reading my book.  I don’t really like our staff room, it is too small and can be super noisy and hot and it can smell weird too, I always feel on edge in there but more comfortable at my desk.

  • 1:30pm

By 1:30pm I have finished my lunch and will start back to work.  I like to start my afternoon by balancing figures and making sure that the figures that have been sent to us match with what I have processed, and if not, find out why and make any amendments so that they all are the same.

  • 2:00pm

Did you know that there are officially 2 Tea O’clocks in the working day?!  2:00pm is definitely my favorite of the two!  I make myself a cuppa and re-fill my water bottle (that gets filled about 5 or 6 times through the day) then return to my desk to continue processing payments.

  • 4:30pm

I have usually finished my processing for the day so work on paperwork and booking appointments for the last half an hour or so before I start packing up for the day.  Sometimes I will work on a bit later (maybe to 6:00pm) depending on how many appointments need to be booked.

  • 5:00pm (or 6:00pm)

I pack up and log out of the systems, shut down my computer and then walk to my car and make my journey home.

What does your workday look like?  I’d love to hear in the comments!

 

 

W is for Work

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You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

We are nearing the end of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge now, and it all seems to have passed really quickly!  Today’s letter is W and today’s topic is Work!

I have worked in many different roles since I was old enough to have a job.  I started out working part-time, mostly Saturdays with the odd weekday thrown in, as a photographic assistant in a shop that processed and printed photos for the public, taking in 35mm film and turning it into negatives and then checking the images before printing.  The place I worked at also had a studio upstairs that families would book for occasions and have their photos taken.  It was one of my favorite jobs.  You never knew what images you would find on the rolls of film that were bought in!

After that I worked in retail, stocking shelves, stock taking and serving customers in a budget store that sold pretty much anything that you could shove a price tag on.  I wasn’t really keen on that job, the shop was dirty and smelly and had so much stock piled haphazardly in the store-room that you took your life into your own hands even opening the door.  The hours were long and the lunch break was short and we would often be shouted at for things that we had or hadn’t done.  That was probably one of the worst jobs I ever had.

I have worked in many call centres, taking orders for catalogues, chasing payments, working for insurance brokers, gas, electric and phone suppliers and in customer service where we would phone customers we had supplied with goods to check that everything was ok and they were happy with the service they had received.  I worked on so many different campaigns and for different team managers and the whole experience was very mixed.

I have worked in several pubs, a few being family run affairs and another being a big chain.  I preferred working for the smaller, family run pubs, the atmosphere was always warm and welcoming and we cared about the people who came through the doors.  We would always have a chat with the people we were serving and really got to know them and it was a pleasure to call them friends.  The chain pubs were totally different, management only seemed to care about what went in the till, not so much on the experience for the customer.  Everything was rushed and it was always really stressful when on shift.

I worked in a bank, behind the scenes opening business bank accounts in the night.  that was a fun job as we had to cross reference business names in a directory and if the name had already been used then we had to run a program that came up with similar names (a bit like when you want to open a new email address to find the name had been taken), some of the names that came up were quite funny and the suggestions the program threw out were even funnier!  I wish I could remember them!

I worked in a supermarket as a sampler – the person who prepares new food and lets you have a sample in the hope that you will buy it!  We didn’t just work with new food stuffs, I worked demonstrating toys and beauty products too.  I really liked working to promote the beauty items, whether it was a new toothbrush, body spray or shower gel and always seemed to get really good sales results for that part of my job!

I had a job as a cleaner which I used to work first thing in the mornings ( 5:30 – 7am) in an office block.  There was something both eerie and calming about being in offices before anyone else was about.  I used to empty the office bins, hoover, clean the conference room, dust, wipe down desks and clean the kitchen as part of my job role and I really enjoyed it.

Right now, I work as an admin assistant as part of a payments team for a medical company.  The job itself doesn’t differ much day-to-day but the banter and the people who I work with (some are part-time) help to make the days go faster.  It’s not a job that I ever saw myself doing, and if you had asked a teenage me where I would be in 10 years, 15 years or longer, I doubt very much that I would have said that I would be working in an office processing payments, but I also think, back then I didn’t really know what I wanted to do!

What work have you done in your life?  I would love to hear about it in the comments!

 

Mental Health and Me – An Update

I went to see Occupational Health on Tuesday last week.  At the time I didn’t really see that it was necessary as I knew that the environment I was going back to in work had changed, there had been work done to the offices – new heating systems put in and walls taken down which meant that the seating arrangements and whole office layout had changed which had changed the dynamics of the team I work in.  I thought that, until I returned to work I wouldn’t know if that environment had affected me or whether it would.

I got ready on the morning of my appointment and the anxiety started to creep in but I managed to control it.  I was really anxious about the drive there as I’ve not really driven much since I have been off from work.  I was also really worried about the actual appointment, what I needed to say, whether I would forget to mention anything, whether they would see me fit enough to return to work and whether I would be allowed to return to work full-time.

When I arrived I had to fill in a form with all my details on it, it was a quick form to fill in and taking time to answer it seemed to calm my nerves a bit.  I was 10 minutes early so I thought I would have to sit and wait but the doctor was able to see me straight away.  I think this helped too as I wasn’t able to start overthinking things.

We talked about how I am feeling now, how I was feeling, my medication, anything that may have triggered my anxiety, stress and depression and what sort of things I was doing to overcome my illness.  We talked about my worries about returning to work and how I’m still not sleeping properly.  The doctor was really lovely, she asked lots of questions and listened to my answers without brushing them off, and she gave me some really useful advice.  She also said that I would be ok to return to work on an extended phased return as she felt that it would be better for me.  She suggested that for 2 weeks I work a total of 12 hours over 3 days, the next 2 weeks increase to 15 hours over 3 days, the 3rd week 24 hours over 4 days and the final 2 weeks to work 30 hours over 5 days.  After that period of time I could then resume working 37.5hrs a week.

A report was written up and a copy was sent to my employer.  I spoke with my line manager on monday this week, it was the final day of being covered on my sick note and we discussed my return to work for Tuesday.  I decided, with her, that I would attend work at 9am and we would have a meeting to discuss my phased return.

So, yesterday, I got ready for my first day back.  I was really worried about going back, namely about how my work colleagues would be with me, where I was going to be sitting, if I could remember my log in details for my work computer and about what was going to happen during the day.

I arrived at work, found my desk, my computer took an age to fire up as it had been switched off for some time, then I had problems with my computer screens (I use 2 for work), I then got locked out of the system as the password I did remember didn’t work.  Eventually I was able to get into the system!  I spent time sorting through my emails (all 600 of them!) then I had a meeting with my line manager, we needed to fill in some paperwork about returning to work, then my overall manager joined us to discuss the Occupational Health report.  She said that it was a really positive report and that she could see that I was taking steps to help myself which was good.  We then discussed my phased return.  Both my managers agreed that the proposed return was a good idea and that they had worked out a timetable of hours and days for me to work which was nice, and they asked what sort of hours I preferred – I said mornings, as eventually I would need to be getting up in the mornings to come to work anyway and a routine would be really beneficial to me and probably help with my sleep patterns.

After the meeting I went back to my desk and managed to do the work that had been allocated to me before it was time for me to go home.  My work colleagues were lovely and all said hi and had a chat with me.  One of my work friends had left a note on my desk welcoming me back and put a little Hello Kitty figure with it.  That really made me smile and was such a lovely gesture to come in to.

I’m back in work tomorrow and really looking forward to it.  I just have no idea what to wear!  This time last year it was freezing in the office but now the heating has been upgraded it seems warmer so I am unsure how to dress.