When you start out in comedy, you are asked to perform your ‘best five minutes’. It’s achievable in terms of curating content and long enough to take your first steps in comedy. Then you build up your material, a few minutes at a time, until you have a full set. So, why don’t we tackle lockdown life in the same way?
Bite-size planning is the way to go. Completing tasks, regardless of size or insignificance, gives you a sense of achievement and improves wellbeing. You don’t need to bake sour dough bread, just fold the washing and load the dishwasher and it will bring you joy.
Our attention span is seriously challenged at the moment by spending so much time online so change it up in between screen times by taking five minutes to do something practical or have a short conversation with a friend or relative on the phone or face to face.
Most of us need a ‘bit of a plan’ and right now that’s tricky. It’s human nature to work out the best way of getting the outcome we desire, whether that’s to find a partner or run a business. Now that COVID has put a great big clumsy and uncertain spanner in the works which has no respect for our time, planning anything longer term feels almost impossible.
Like everybody in the entertainment and live events industry, I spent most of last year cancelling and rearranging things. I’m used to ‘winging it’ so this didn’t initially phase me but now the uncertainty is affecting us all. I saw friends and family postponing holidays, weddings and other special occasions, and the only events taking place were unplanned and in response to life and (sadly) death.
In the comedy world we think on our feet and improvise all the time, and I have always personally believed in the ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ mantra. However, with the new wave of restrictions on our lives, the ‘best laid plans’ (and we’ve had a ton of them), need to be totally flexible. Uncertainty breeds fear so we have to manage changes emotionally and build in an expectation that things may not work out with our broader plans.
Add into this stressful melting pot hours of extremely intense virtual working and we’ve got the makings of another epidemic of mental illness. This, plus the onset of new physical ailments like ‘Zoom Eye’ ( it is a ‘thing’ apparently) brought on by hours of staring at a screen, and trying to interact without the perspective of a third dimension, means that the ‘flatness’ of our current lifestyle impedes our creativity and causes anxiety.
Then there’s the ever present urgency, real or perceived, to go online and get things done. In the old world, it never felt quite so pressured when we had to travel to and from meetings as there was always an expectation of delay. I will never moan about taking a train into London again! A walk, car journey or a ride on public transport gave us a welcome mental pause to reset and, sometimes, a reason for arriving late or a changed plan.
Take life in small bites from now on. Here at Funny Women we’re adapting our 2021 events programme to give you fun, speedy experiences. Even though we’re remaining safely online for the time being, we’re building in plenty of light and dark, comedy and discussion and most of all, interaction.
My concentration waivers when I’m not fully involved and, because I like to get to know people, I take all the networking and break out opportunities offered when I attend online events. You never know who you will meet at the next virtual table and five minutes with them might change your life!
Our next virtual event, HERlarious Creative Voices, takes place on Thursday 11th February. We’re running the same event twice on the day, for ease of access and flexibility. It’s full of bite sizes opportunities to network, learn, listen, interact and have some fun. Take five minutes to book yourself a place!
12.00 noon to 1.30pm Book here.
6.00pm to 7.30pm Book here.
See you there!