Finding a daily schedule that works for you

I’m writing this on March 30th 2020, at the end of our second week of social distancing and lockdown (aka ‘confinement’) in France (find my first blog here); so how did we find the first 14 days?

In ‘normal life’, we usually talk with around 20 people a day; at the beginning of our social isolation at home, we tested several online conference services, such as WhatsApp, Skype, Whereby, WebEx, and finally chose a one year (you never know how long it will last…) contract with Zoom.

Being isolated had the immediate consequence that we frenetically tried to set up meetings with more friends, family, teams, etc. than usual…

Theoretically, I had planned a very well organised daily agenda, divided into several ‘sections’, such as home cleaning, FICPI emails, calls to colleagues, phone meetings with service providers, food shopping and cooking (I love cooking), exercise in my gym room…  gardening if weather permitting.

But it all went wrong, I have no idea why?

This is what I did yesterday:

  • 7am wakeup call – oh, I’ll stay in bed a little bit more…
  • 836 – oooops, late… quick shower (about 23 minutes), go to our mailbox to pick up ‘Le Figaro’ (French newspaper, whose motto is “without liberty of blaming, there is no flattering praise” – from Beaumarchais, in ‘The Marriage of Figaro’)
  • 910 – cook my favourite newspaper in the oven at 90°C for 20 minutes, have tea and a croissant in the meantime, with pineapple marmalade, nothing else… just salted butter… then more toast, this time with very chocolatey Nutella.
  • 950 – a slow walk in the garden, call my neighbour to ask him to trim his magnolia and cut his grass (which is ugly, not at all suitable for golf!), then a little bit later I tell him ‘next time I’ll call the police, I warn you!’
  • 10 – look at 48 mails sent over the weekend by our FICPI president, my dear friend Julian Crump, store them in the “to be handled later folder”, call my neighbour again, or perhaps the city police?
  • 1020 – looong visit to the refrigerator to decide what we’ll have for lunch. Usually I just have a salad, but nowadays I need more protein to fight the virus.
  • 1035 – a few yoga meditation positions in my exercise room, interrupted by 4 phone calls from my oldest boy Brett who is working remotely near Aix en Provence – why does he have a swimming pool and warm sun while it is raining here… just a question!
  • 1108 – first attempt to clean the kitchen, stopped by 3 more emails arriving from FICPI colleagues
  • 1115 – a cup of tea – in fact, replaced by a half pint of Guinness, just to maintain my energy
  • 1132 – second attempt to clean the kitchen, this essential task being stopped by a WhatsApp call from my nephew who is confined in Paris and who’s asking me several questions about… I don’t remember
  • 1149 – last attempt (for today) to clean the kitchen. Decide this can be deferred until tomorrow, after all it’s not too dirty…  I should just remove the garbage that is a little stinky after I cooked salmon 3 days ago.
  • 12 – listen to the news at the radio, all depressing news, or all the same announcements
  • 1215 – checking my bank account; the travel agency did not reimburse me completely – far from that – for my cancelled flight to Goa to attend the FICPI Executive Committee meeting. (By the way, I wish I could travel to somewhere in Asia for a vacation today, with a nice Mojito…)
  • 1218 – reading at several new emails, WhatsApp messages, statistics on Coronavirus World Count increasing every 45 seconds
  • 1221 – checking my Patent Annuity bank account with ACUMASS… my December invoice has not yet been settled, I’ll have to send a further reminder
  • 1223 – looking at more email notifications
  • 1225 – Zoom video conference with my neighbour regarding the vegetable market delivery
  • 1230 – light lunch, it’s better not to list all items, someone may become jealous!
  • 1315 – giving a maths lessons on WhatsApp to my granddaughter Thaïs, in lockdown near Bordeaux (she was watching a Disney Channel cartoon at the same time).
  • 1359 – opening my Millennium Falcon Lego boxes. 7,351 pieces of lego structure, ideal for a lockdown period of 12 months or more!
  • 1424 – too many Lego pieces, I skip to another activity
  • 1435 – yoga online session, supposed to last 20 minutes, interrupted by a phone call
  • 1450 – receiving Skype notifications and re-checking emails, 8 more from FICPI, I’ll look at them tomorrow or later on
  • 1500 – short nap
  • 1630 – the nap wasn’t so short! Shower, checking email, listening to a phone message, adjusting my mobile phone parameters for receiving ALL notifications
  • 1648 – consulting my schedule, whoops I forgot about a Zoom meeting at 1645…
  • 1650 – late arrival to the Zoom meeting with my FICPI Bureau Colleagues, where we’re studying some options for organising our next FICPI meetings, Forum in Cannes, Congress in London; discussing the Goa & Seoul events we’ve already deferred…
  • 1720 – I decided to stop taking minutes of my activities – 
  • 1725 – checking emails again, WhatsApp conference with the city police concerning my neighbour…
  • 1800 – a further small nap, then opening a bottle of 2016 Meursault Grand Cru, light 4 course dinner, followed by several hours – I don’t remember how many – of stupid old TV series; tomorrow I will wake up early, I promise…

As one can see, it’s a TOTAL disaster, I’m “incredibly busy” doing nothing.

Instead of organising my activities properly and wisely, I’ve been overwhelmed by last minute events, and I’ve succeeded in becoming the best procrastinator ever.

I have to change this, and start a new life, OR I’ll begin to speak to my refrigerator!

March 31, 2020.

My next blog will probably address internet meetings involving video, and other strange animals, if I find time…

Next steps

Visit the FICPI coronavirus resources page on the website for helpful information, tips and further reading.

How FICPI makes IP attorneys more effective

As part of FICPI’s coronavirus task force, we are sharing stories and tips from IP attorney members around the world who are dealing with the new ways of working and living necessary whilst the international efforts to combat coronavirus are in place. This is the second of Marc’s blogs from France.