Sara Moulton, content marketing manager at LeadFamily, has found solace in lakeside living during lockdown. As she tells us in our latest instalment of Today’s Office, charting the new world of work, her working days are now dovetailed by Danish lessons and Animal Crossing.
Like most people, I’ve been working mostly from home since March.
My husband and I bought our first house in autumn of 2020 in Arhus — the second-largest city in Denmark.
I work at a desk that we bought while we were living in Vietnam a few years ago. Our bottom floor of the house is at the street level so I often get to wave at my neighbor’s kids as they walk by each morning.
One of the things I’ve been working a lot on is finding a routine, especially starting and ending the day. If I’m not careful, it sort of feels like everything blends together.
Since I’m originally from the UK, I also have Danish class twice a week so on those days and I watch the news in Danish in the morning. I’m at my desk for at least 10 hours. So I’ve found it really important to have a morning routine and then a way to ‘close’ out the work day.
Every day usually starts with a marketing team standup, or quick morning meeting. Then it’s on to tackling my different tasks and projects that I’m working on. I am in content marketing so I often work closely with my teammates. I try to then block a few hours to work on writing, because I’m always in the middle of writing a piece of content.
I’m working on getting better at taking a real lunch break, which I don’t often do. I find myself making lunch and then eating it at my desk. I’ll often go into the kitchen when I hear my husband making coffee so that we can chat for a few minutes. We often talk quickly about work or the phone calls we can hear each other on. That has been such an important substitute for me — that I can still have a small chat with him because I can’t currently do that with my colleagues.
I’ve gotten better at focusing and am very productive working from home. The first few months were a very weird WFH period. Everything was so up in the air — we didn’t know what we know now about the virus and we were figuring out how to all be working remotely — but now it’s much better. I very much miss the office and seeing my colleagues, but I’m trying to make the best of this time.
I’m reading more than I ever have, both professional reading and personal reading. I’m finding that helps come up with new ideas. Also, there is so much content being created that is openly available — events are often webinars or online sessions — and so I am trying to attend as much as I can to be inspired and to see how other businesses are creating value for their customers and audience right now.
I used to go into the office every day so I would take care of our dog, Odin, get ready, and then go. We live 10 km from my office so I either drive or ride my bike. Riding my bike can be very fun, but it’s weather dependent!
I have been going for more walks, both now that we have a dog but also for sanity. We live about 400 meters from a large lake, which is so peaceful and pretty. I must have a hundred photos of the view (like the one above).
My hobbies and social life have taken a hit, of course. I am so excited to meet a friend for a glass of wine or go for a walk through Aarhus, which is such a picturesque city.
I also miss running with one of the running groups in Aarhus and going to yoga class. But I keep reminding myself that while we don’t know exactly when this will end, it’s very likely that it’s temporary.
I was listening to a podcast episode with the writer Elizabeth Gilbert recently, and she talked about how many people have always told her that they want a block of time to be creative and reflective.
And while there is so much that’s going badly right now, this can technically be that period of time where you can use time to be creative and make something. Or not. But this idea has stayed with me — that we often hope to have more time.
One thing I’ve found to really help me ‘disconnect’ is playing Animal Crossing in the evenings. It is filling some void for me right now. I’m not into video games, but Animal Crossing gives me tasks to complete, small things to build towards and celebrate, and even go shopping with the game’s currency, bells.
In addition to reading a lot and Zoom happy hours, this game has helped me find balance when we are staying home all of the time.