Brrrrg!! The alarm goes off, it’s 8:30am and time to get up. I brush my teeth, have a shower and get ready for the morning commute to work. Now, for me, my usual drive to the office can take 40 mins to 1hr 40 mins depending on multiple factors from excessive traffic, roadworks or being stuck behind a tractor, to there being horses in the road (this only happened once, yet it’s very memorable). In these ‘home-working’ days my morning commute is only blocked by a parent being in the bathroom or taking an inordinate amount of time walking down the stairs, (one time I had a full-on conversation while standing on the stairs as well, about why the newspaper order didn’t arrive…hmm).
After negotiating the morning hazards, I have a glass of water and turn on my laptop, praying that it hasn’t decided to give up the ghost and call it a day. I check emails, teams and locate my project model which is made using Simul8 (‘Powerful. Flexible. Fast’ apparently). Today I have to add new functionality to my model as per the client’s requests. The task requires that I enable the model to allow consolidation of some items, or in layman’s terms, placing all your Easter Eggs in one box so you can consolidate potentially 327 Easter eggs in one manageable box, hopefully, that makes perfect sense (Easy in real life, not as easy for a computer). I get to work on my task, and throughout the day I have multiple meetings that Microsoft teams can be used for, mainly just progress reports and what we’re all getting on with and where we’re up to.
It’s lunchtime, so I do what I’ve been doing since the start of the lockdown (I once made a film on the computer game ‘The Movies’ called ‘The Lockdown’ so whenever I hear those words, I can’t help but think of a film I made back in 2006 featuring its hero Max Floodwater as he tries to foil a terrorist plot…which he ultimately does), I play cricket. What I mean when I say, ‘I play cricket’, is that I set up stumps, and bowl at them for about half an hour. Trying to emulate such greats as Curtly Ambrose, Glenn Mcgrath, & our own James Anderson…just without the pace, or even skill for that matter. One thing I will say though, being able to use my own garden, or rather my parents’ since I moved back in last year has really helped with being in isolation, and I suspect mental health as well.
The afternoon is upon me and the model functionality is working, just some tidying up and it’ll soon be ready to produce some earth-shattering results. Often the problem with tidying up the model is that it requires not only sorting out the physical model but also sorting out input and output which can be time-consuming but is almost always required. I finally get the model spitting out results. I run various scenarios, each time comparing them to the baseline result (essentially what the client says will be happening in their facility). I change buffer sizes, like how much shelf space you have for Easter eggs in one scenario. I change packing time, so reducing the time it takes to pack the individual eggs for another run, and finally, I reduce the amount of time it takes to place a certain amount of eggs within one box for a final run. Results are found and conclusions made that can be shared with the client for feedback which will be used to update and refine the model in the future, so everyone is happy. After all, if we can get more through the system at a reduced time, then that’s more Easter eggs for all!
As the day draws to a close, I finish my results and make sure that my colleagues are aware of what the model is saying. It’s almost 6pm so I pack up and think about what food to have. Spaghetti Bolognese, a meal I am slowly starting to get sick of since this lockdown started, still it’s food, and I’m grateful at this time.
The evening comes, and there are a few different things I do. On this day I will spend 2 hrs playing Sid Meier’s Civilization 6 where you try to build a nation from 4000BC to stand the test of time through wars, famines, trade and eventually climate change. Ultimately taking your nation into the modern-day and beyond, forever wary of the most dangerous force known to mankind, Gandhi’s nuclear arsenal. On Wednesday I speak to friends down in London, we play a Pub Quiz, a card game or just chat about how much better it is living in the North than down in the concrete jungle that is London…and yet they still try to convince me to live in London. Other days I go for a run, play with a football or just bowl at some stumps.
In conclusion, every day is different, and one thing is for sure, to keep track of your mental health,stay active, stay focused and keep yourself in the real world. I don't know all the answers by any means. All I know right now is that what I'm doing is working for me. As an introvert, I may find life easier to cope than others in the current climate, but that doesn't mean I'm exempt from feeling lonely or isolated. We must look out for each other as well as ourselves.