Why going ‘back to normal’ after lockdown feels unacceptable

by May 14, 2020

In these strange and uncertain days, weeks, months without a clear end-point really visible, it’s easy to feel stuck, negative and unmotivated, both about your work and about your life in general. All of us are juggling differing anxieties, workloads and conflicting priorities and it can feel overwhelming to balance them all. That on top of a full house all of the time and concerns about money and health for a lot of us, means that we all have A LOT going on.

My workload has been significantly impacted during lockdown and a lot of my work is on hold as businesses focus on furloughing their staff whilst putting bans on working with contractors or for smaller businesses, just trying to stay afloat.

Whilst there is a level of uncertainty about what will happen next and when things will ‘return to normal’ I’ve decided to embrace this time as an opportunity for my business and consider that maybe returning to normal isn’t actually the thing I either want or need.

Normal to me looks like spending every week day crammed into school-hours doing marketing or copywriting for my clients, possibly fitting in a run and usually grabbing a very quick lunch and eating it hunched over my laptop. It also includes occasionally working in the evenings to get the work done. This is great in terms of doing the work and paying the bills but less great in terms of developing my own business, making plans for the future and thinking where I really want to be in 3, 6 or 12 months’ time.

This time, where paid work has been less, has provided me with head space to decide what it is that I actually want to focus on, where I want my business to be and to reinvigorate my interest in what I do. Like many freelancers, my business has grown organically; I’ve taken the work I’ve been offered and been grateful for it. But that’s meant I haven’t needed to be as strategic about my own business or put long term plans in place to secure the longevity of it and this time has helped me to start focusing on more strategic decisions.

This enforced situation where nothing is normal has made me do all of the things that are always there on my to-do list but never make it to the top because a paying client needs me to do something else. So I’ve started doing some training and learning some new skills which will better equip me to provide a fuller all-round marketing service to clients, I’ve begun to rewrite my website from a customer perspective so that I’m answering the questions that they want answers to and I’ve started to write for myself which has re-ignited my passion. Whilst my work as a freelance marketer includes copywriting, writing for myself is completely different to producing content for clients and it’s become a valuable, creative outlet.

Just getting through this time will be enough of an achievement for some people, and some days that is more than enough for me. But other days I feel that this time has been a blessing both in terms of extra time spent with my daughter seeing the wonder of things through the eyes of a 5 year old and also in terms of providing space to really think about what I want from my business.

So maybe there needs to be a new ‘normal’ for the future. One that balances the work with the running, the childcare and family time along with time spent developing my own business and providing it with the strategic input and thinking time in order to make it what I truly want it to be. And maybe this time where absolutely nothing is normal has been the thing that has sown the seeds of a future normal which feels right for me.

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