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The Coach: ‘I am loving being furloughed’

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The lockdown has given us time to think about our lives in general and decide what we want to prioritise, says Matthew Turner

I am loving being furloughed and it’s making me fundamentally question my life. Should I be worried about my architecture career?

Matthew turner

Matthew turner

Lockdown has been hard. However the uncertainty about how this ends looms large; the mere fact that the structure of life has changed overnight has been a positive revelation for many. 

The main freedom is the fact that we can pretty much organise large parts of our days as we want. We can interact with our kids much more, be that by playing or arguing. We can explore new avenues with that online course in a subject that has always fascinated us, or try something we’ve always wanted to do, such as growing our own food.

It’s great you have recognised the opportunities to positively influence your life. My advice would be to lean into what feels good, take note, and make space for it.

One thing I am sure that has impacted you is how life is slower, and that slower doesn’t mean less efficient, less productive, and definitely not less fun. A slower pace actually allows us to achieve everything we want while ensuring that we are not stressed or overwhelmed but instead nicely in charge.

This is one of the important discoveries; slow and steady can be the best way to win the race in your life in the future.

You may have rediscovered the importance of family and friends. After all, the interaction between us and the bonds we forge are what makes life special and gives it meaning.

Another life priority may well be your health: not grabbing sandwiches on the run, and cooking more at home can have a positive effect on our overall health, as well as the walks, cycling and the online fitness classes many are now doing. 

How do you keep these changes going, once you get launched back into your old life again? The answer is by making these activities a priority, consciously allocating time to them and making choices that will impact your life for the better.

But what about more fundamental change after lockdown? Time spent thinking about our lives in general and deciding what we want to prioritise and where we want to put our focus in the future is very empowering.

Architects can have a pace of life that is fast and often all-consuming, but it need not be that way. Have your priorities changed now that you have had time to assess your life so far?

This is so important: lockdown is giving us a rare chance to reflect back on our hopes and dreams, the ones we had growing up, and to truthfully reflect if we are honouring any of them in our lives today.

Does your architectural career serve you, or is it other way around?

I say this, as I question your question – does your architectural career serve you, or is it other way around? 

Most people allow life to happen to them, living it reactively and just reacting to people and situations as they occur. A fulfilling life is one of expansion, growing and developing, becoming more aware of what you cherish and also – most importantly – taking steps to create this life you want.

Sure, all sorts of calamities for employment and the economy await. However, the ominous headwinds make clarity on your life’s aims even more important.

During this time of isolation you have the amazing opportunity to acknowledge what is important to you and ensure that your life reflects this by making decisions and taking action accordingly.

AJ coach Matthew Turner is an architect and careers consultant who runs the Building on Architecture consultancy. Email him in confidence at hello@buildingonarchitecture.com.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • People being paid at least 80% of there incomes to sit at home and relax. What is not to enjoy for many employees?

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  • Probably the overhanging fear that they're out of a job once furlough ends? How their dependants may be affected? Mortgages etc - I'm not on furlough but I can see how those fears would make the whole situation less than enjoyable.

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