Opinion

The Lockdown Reality: Coming To Terms With Not Doing Everything

When UK-wide lockdown was first announced, I had mixed feelings. Part of me was devastated, naturally. I’m a really sociable person, I love seeing my friends and going out. Plus, I had a holiday to Mexico booked for the end of April and ever-optimistic me still had my fingers cross that it was going to go ahead (you have to laugh at that now, of course).

But, on the other hand, lockdown offered something to me that I’ve not had for many years: time.

I’m usually commuting 2+ hours a day, volunteering at least 1 night a week and trying to see friends and family up and down the country during my spare time. That’s not to mention trying to fit exercise and self-care in, as well as personal development.

This kind of lifestyle suits me though, as daunting as it might sound to some. I absolutely despise being bored, I love to keep myself busy and can feel guilty if I’m not working on myself, or helping others. Therefore, the concept of being indoors for the majority of the day was kind of my worst nightmare. I was absolutely certain I would fill every second of my day with something to do, including…

  • Working on my blog, writing new things and removing old content
  • Completing a Psychology diploma
  • Taking advantages of multiple online courses that were being offered at reduced or free rates (Moz, Google Digital Garage etc.)
  • Reading the dusty books on my bookshelf

…And more.

I can’t tell you about the number of things I’d planned to keep my mind preoccupied.

But less of speaking in the past tense, I want to talk about now.

Because, fast forward 4 months, and I can tell you that my ‘to do’ list isn’t nearly as complete as I thought it might have been as normality begins to resume. In fact, if anything I find myself adding to it every day.

Lockdown Guilt: The Reality Of Now

It’s not often I admit the not-so-great things about myself on here, but this I wanted to talk about because apparently ‘lockdown guilt’ is a real thing that lots of people are suffering from. I think the ‘marketing world’, and in particular ‘digital PR’ Twitter, is full of success stories and motivational content. A side that is seldom seen, is the actual reality of not only work, but life itself.

Louise Parker, the absolute queen of ‘Digital PR TikTok’ summed it up very well yesterday:

Our lives are actually a lot busier than we probably thought they would be. But nobody seems to talk about it. I’m super guilty of this myself, posting only recently about the CPD training I’ve been undertaking as part of my volunteering. What the LinkedIn post doesn’t tell you is how late at night I’ve been staying up to do these, and how guilty I’m feeling about the other things that I still need to do.

And just to add to the struggle, life is pretty much back to normal now (well, new normal, so to speak). I’m busy filling up my weekends, desperate to still get a taste of summer.

I mentioned above the things I planned to do, in actual fact, I thought I’d do them all by the end of May. It’s now almost August, and this is where I stand…

Working on my blog, writing new things and removing old content – You’ve probably noticed, I’ve not really been on my blog at all apart from the odd sponsored post (gotta do what I gotta do). I have totally let it slide, and I am feeling pretty dreadful about it. Hence today’s ramblings.

Completing a Psychology diploma – Okay, I have been working on my diploma but not as much as I’d like to be. I wanted it completed before the country started opening back up. In reality, I’m actually about a quarter of the way through. Luckily, I have 2 years to do the course, so I’m setting a target of the end of the year instead.

Taking advantages of multiple online courses that were being offered at reduced or free rates (Moz, Google Digital Garage etc.) – Credit where credit is due, I have completed 3 out of 5 Moz courses that I’d planned to do. I will get around to the other 2, I’m writing it into existence now. The course I’ve completed so far include: SEO Fundamentals, Backlink Basics & Page Optimisation.

Reading the dusty books on my bookshelf – Oops. My bookshelf grew during lockdown, I’m absolutely awful for buying new books when I haven’t read the ones that I’ve already got. One of my worst habits. However, as part of an ongoing pledge to try and distance myself from my phone and social media in the evenings, I have gotten through around a third of my bookshelf during lockdown. Particular highlights include: Crisis Communications Strategies by Amanda Coleman, and then some fiction titles: Where The Crawdads Sing, The Beekeeper Of Aleppo, Normal People, Vox, The Flat Share, The Things We Left Unsaid and quite a few more.

I also (somehow) found the time to do more than I’d planned, which included:

  • Learning about PPC, Paid Social and Pinterest Marketing with Girls In Marketing
  • Tuning into so many webinars, that I’ve lost count of the exact amount
  • Losing half a stone in weight (how, I don’t know!)

What’s Next?

Truth be told, my list has grown considerably in the last few months. I’ve decided my whole house needs gutting out, so I’ve been doing that in my spare time. I’ve also restarted volunteering at the Night Cafe at Teardrops in St. Helens, and I’ve been working on my CPD courses in relation to that too. I’ve also been trying to make up for lost time with my loved ones, and in conclusion, I have found that there are never enough hours in the day.

I think social media can make you feel quite inadequate sometimes. You see all the amazing things that people are doing, and feel guilty that you’re not doing the same. But something that has helped me during these last few months, is remembering that people only put their best selves forward on social media (typically anyway, quite unlike what I’m doing today). It’s not as trendy to shout about the insipid things that we do every day. It’s only the really sparkly stuff that’s worth talking about.

If you’ve been your most productive self during lockdown, then bloody good for you, if you haven’t, then that’s fine too – you’ve made it through one of the most uncertain and scary periods our generation has ever had to face.

I’m somewhere in the middle, and I’m only just now coming to terms with the fact that I’m okay with that. I’ve kept myself busy almost every day, and have done a good portion of the things that I wanted to do. Whether I’ve overestimated my time, or simply not been as productive as I wanted to be, I’ve come to realise that the things I want to do don’t need to have a solid deadline.

I’m working on myself and my personal development mostly, and there’s really no end date for that.

So I guess the point of this blog was not only to give you a little life update because I’m aware I’ve been quite quiet recently, but also to share the realities of the ‘marketing world’. Across LinkedIn and Twitter, it’s very easy to believe that people are being the best versions of themselves, 100% of the time. That’s simply not the case. I’m the worst for it, I only ever share the good stuff.

I want to share the ‘downs’ as well as the ‘ups’.

This is my reality of lockdown, and despite myself, I’m still super proud of all I’ve achieved.

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