• joshuahelmer

Is your lock down routine turning you into an mutant?

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

The old ways:

7.30am - wake up, shower, eat breakfast

9.30am - go to work

1pm - eat lunch

4.30pm - go home

5pm - go to the gym

7.30pm - prepare dinner

8.30pm - watch TV

Just a few months ago, going outside wasn't special to me. It was normal. I was outdoors for much of my waking day. In some cases I even considered it a chore to leave the house.

Why should I leave the house if I didn't have to? All my closest friends are here. Mr. Sofa, Ms. Blanket, Uncle TV, Rev. Fridge. As a ubiquitous TV program once stated - "If outside is so good, why has mankind spent thousands of years trying to perfect inside?"

But then, like Blink-182 at the peak of their commercial success, "normal" went on an indefinite hiatus. Now, I miss outdoors. I don't have a garden, so my government prescribed daily exercise is now the only time I breathe air I haven't been farting in all day and, as such, going outside has become the highlight of my day.

Some times I even think about the best time of day to go outside. Should I go in the morning when the world feels fresh and new? Should I go at night, when fewer people are around and I can feel my neighbourhood at peace? Should I go after 5pm when I know I can see the greatest number of happy dogs out on their afternoon walk?

But no matter how many happy dog based 5pm walks I go on, nothing comes close to giving me a sense of stability as having a regular routine. And lock down has given my life a unique routine suited perfectly to my situation.

Unfortunately, this routine has me feeling completely alienated from real life. I can't currently do my job, so I have nothing to keep me busy from 9-5. Housework is all I have right now and, I'll admit, it's not my favourite. In between, I glide from meaningless activity to meaningless activity, with little thought beyond the next batch of dishes I have to clean (seriously, where did all the dishes come from? Are my neighbours smuggling them in?).

It's not like I'm binge watching TV or finally learning Portuguese on Duolingo. Some days have passed me by completely. Plus, I'm always tired. And I mean always. Literally 100% of the time.

It seems I've mutated and become something other than human. I've become a new type of person not seen before in our society. I have become the worlds first home bound drifter.

Here's what a typical day looks like now:

"The battle of verticalité"

8am - wake up, slap my phone until the alarm stops

9am - wake up, feel tired, decide more sleep is required

10am - wake up, realise that more sleep has some how made me more tired, fight the urge to sleep again and sit up in bed. At this point I normally check Instagram because this is where I can best find all the most urgent memes from The Office and pictures of custom sneakers that all need to be dealt with as a priority at the beginning of any productive day

10.10am - brush my teeth while inspecting my ever growing facial hair (this really has been a wild time for exploring what my face would look like if ever I were a proper adult)

10.20am - exercise, but maybe a little bit less than yesterday because yesterday I worked hard so today I should "be kind to myself". (Repeat ad infinitum until my daily "exercise" consists of me sitting on my floor in cycling shorts wondering if I even need to finish this sit up I've got halfway through already)

10.30am - shower

At this point I am about as alert as I will be all day. Some days I actually manage to get up at my first alarm, but I'm invariably more tired the next morning, making it harder to get up on time subsequently. The solution, one would assume, is more sleep. So I'll get up a little later the next day, but this is actually worse than getting up on time. But, by this point, I'll be so tired the next morning that I literally can't stay awake at the first alarm. It's a never ending cycle.

In news completely unrelated to my energy levels, Breakfast has become little more than a myth at this point. I have heard tale that Nat may still be hunting out some dawn granola but, given that I'm usually preoccupied with the herculean task of unshuttering my eyes for the bulk of the morning, I'm yet to confirm this for myself.

"Flatministrative work"

11am - make coffee for Nat, my girlfriend/boss/co-hostage

11.15am - clean something. We're talking clothes, dishes, worktops. It really depends on the mood of the day. I hoovered once

11.45am - decide what I'm making Nat for lunch and visit her in the office to describe the upcoming meal much like a Michelin Star chef describing the first of seven courses being served in their award winning restaurant

12pm - ask Nat if she'll be ready for lunch at 1pm

12.10pm - starting preparing lunch whilst pretending to be Jon Favreau in Chef

12.14pm - eat some of the bits I've prepared (I call this "chef's Favreaute part of the day")

12.15pm - ask Nat if she's ready now because I'm hungry and lunch might not survive if I keep eating it before it's cooked

12.16pm - resist all temptation to scoff uncooked chorizo and bung it in a hot pan from whence my chubby fingers cannot pilfer

12.30pm - lunch

12.45pm - rue the rising pile of dishes and demand an explanation as to their origin

It's at this point of the day that I think back to the significance of a passage I read in Kate Raworth's book 'Doughnut Economics' in which I was first enlightened to the ignored economic value of domestic work that housewives have been undertaking for centuries and which is one of the major factors underpinning patriarchal structures in our modern society.

12.50pm - lament the patriarchy and consider getting a cleaner when this is all done

"Do something o'clock"

1pm - think about doing something to provide economic value (of the non-ignored category)

1.30pm - dither about what to do, so get all possible options ready just in case

2pm - maybe start writing

2.10pm - adjust spotify playlist as whatever I've picked initially is causing me to be unproductive

3pm - finally begin working now the music is correct

3.10pm - find a snack, all this work has made me tired again

3.30pm - sit down to actually really do some actual real work that has actual value

4pm - time for a break. Make Nat and I a cup of tea with a stroopwaffle.

4.10pm - look outside at the blue skies and the tree tops dancing in the breeze and imagine what it must be like to go on a summer holiday with Timotheé Chalamet

4.30pm - time for a break, pick some music to keep me productive until the end of the day

5pm - press play on my newest custom playlist and start working until the end of the day

5.10pm - feel tired, knock off work a bit early to play PlayStation. I deserve it after all today's efforts.

It may surprise you to learn that, in and amongst this jam packed schedule, I've managed to find time to read almost a whole book. Granted, it was one I wrote and I should have actually read it a lot closer because my editor has since found hundreds of spelling and grammatical errors. BUT STILL, it has been read.

"Welcome to the RelaxNation"

7pm - stare at the contents of the fridge and try to work out what's for dinner

7.15pm - refer to meal plan I made weeks ago that says specifically what is for dinner

7.20pm - ask Nat if she'll be ready for dinner at 8.30pm

7.30pm - start preparing dinner (a la Jon once more)

8pm - battle with my now broken oven to cook a meal that isn't a disgrace to the culinary arts that I'm far too flaky to study properly

8.30pm - dinner

8.45pm - rue the dishes again and consider writing a strongly worded letter to whoever in my block of flats keeps stashing their dirty crockery on my kitchen worktop

9pm - finally sit down to watch Bob's Burgers after a hectic day of doing, what some people might consider, something

And there, on Mr Sofa, my butt will stay until it's time for sleep. Somehow, despite the theoretical boost in spare time this lock down has given me, I seem to have become less productive than before and I can't quite see where I'm going wrong.

As you can see, my schedule is already jam packed and, should I remove one or two of my carefully crafted activities, I run the risk of causing the whole set up to tumble down like the precarious house of cards it is.

I think the best thing one can do in this situation is play it safe and lean into the most productive parts of the day.

Does anyone have a phone number for a good cleaner?

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