The Chemist: A Typical Day in Quarantine
Hey Everyone! Happy Thursday! As promised, our posts this week are follow ups to our takeovers on Monday and Tuesday. If you enjoyed that type of content from us, definitely let us know on social media. We love hearing from you all and what to provide things you all enjoy/would benefit from/engage with. For those that watched my takeover on Monday, I mentioned that as a grad student my weekdays fluctuate. Some days I'm busy, others I'm not. It really just depends on the deadlines I have to meet, which are now pretty sporadic since I haven't been in the lab since March 11. This post is going to give you all an idea of what both of those day types look like. Here we go!
Regardless of which day I'm having I try my best to be out of the bed by 9 am at the latest (expect on the weekends of course). For a busier day, I try to be up around 8 to give myself time for the essentials (wash my face, brush my teeth, etc.) and to transition to eating breakfast. I also sometimes use this time to journal. I have a few journals I use that range from showing gratitude to practicing mindfulness so depending on how I feel when I wake up, that's the journal I use. Every once in a while during this time I light a candle or play some soft music in the background to center my thoughts. But overall, this takes about 10 - 15 minutes. Also, since I have a split level apartment, my journaling and the essentials happen first and upstairs, before I come downstairs to eat. I try to "mimic" separating work and home like I would do any other "normal" work day. For my calmer days, getting out of bed by 9 am means doing the same things just after I sleep in a little.
Productivity Pt. 1
Once I'm downstairs and fed, I hop onto my laptop and check emails. I also send a bunch too. One of my group jobs is to collect and email our weekly group meeting schedule to everyone, and to remind people when their presentations are, so I always start with that before getting wrapped up into other stuff. I'm also President of OSU's NOBCChE chapter and we are in the beginning phases of planning conference travel so a lot of emails get sent out about that as well. After this first wave of email checks is done, I move on and tackle other things on my to do list. This is what guides my days. Since quarantine, I've had teaching obligations (grading and office hours), to prepare my own presentation for group meeting (this includes literature reading, data analysis, and creating the PowerPoint itself), made a poster for a virtual conference (that I showed you all on Monday), and been a part of several first year exam practices with my group members. Some of those things I can got done in a day, others took a few days, some took about a week to complete, but overall they were keeping me busy. The only "issue" now is, since I'm finished all of that, the only thing I really have to "work" on is participating in the virtual conference, other than that I have to find other ways to use my time. Right now, I'm thinking about starting to write the paper for my new project. Even though I haven't gotten all of the data collected, that's something I can always fall back on to start. This would mean a lot of literature reading and actually writing and editing a draft. Check back in with me in a few weeks to make sure I actually did this though.
As some of you saw on Monday, when I eat lunch is solely based on how my morning went. Sometimes I get in a groove and want to finish something first and I won't eat lunch until 2 pm, other times I had quicker tasks or needed a break in between and I'll eat around 12:30 pm. Regardless, lunch happens between the 12 - 2 pm block of my day. I tend to have to make lunch, since cooking is one of my favorite hobbies, and that allows me to break up my day and get away from my computer screen. I also try to limit my lunchtime to about an hour (hour and a half if I have to cook something a little more involved), that way I don't thrown off of my schedule too much and I'm still in the mood to be productive.
Productivity Pt. 2
The second half of my day typically involves finishing up the things I didn't finish in the morning or tackling some other smaller tasks. If I don't have those to do, I do housework. Cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, organizing my clothes, etc. are another form of productivity. You don't always have to do work-related activities in order to be productive. Taking care of your mental health is always a good use of your time so make time for it. I try to keep typical work hours and I still end my days around 4 -5 pm, that way I don't completely forget what it's like to have a "normal" work day.
After I'm "off work" I take time to myself, every day. Doing a puzzle, cooking, dancing around the apartment listening to music, taking some quiet time, a relaxing bath, or even binging a show on Netflix/Hulu/Disney+ are great ways to unwind from the day. Find what works for you and do that. The goal is to clear your head from your work and have some "me time". This is an unprecedented time so it's okay if you have bursts of energy one moment and none the next. Give yourself grace. Take it day by day and look out for your mental health first.
Once I unwind a bit, it's time to eat! This could look like heating up leftovers (with a little wine) or cooking an entire meal. Either way I try to eat at a "normal" time, so between 6- 8 pm, before transitioning into my nighttime routine. I'm still a grandma, so I'm typically in the bed between 10 - 11 pm. I value my sleep the most.
That's about it for my day really. So I'm going to end this with some gentle reminders.
- Make sure you're not pushing yourself too hard during the day too.
- Take breaks throughout the day.
- Practice self care every day.
- Try your best to maintain a schedule to keep track of your days.
- Give yourself space to experience your ebbs and flows of productive.
- Remember that it's going to be okay. There's no "right way" to do this.
See you soon!
- The Chemist