All The Things We Haven't Achieved During Lockdown

No we haven't baked banana bread. Or written that novel. Or rearranged the furniture in our houses.

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Some promised themselves they’d write a book. Others committed to learning a new language. And a large majority of people vowed to bake banana bread every week until this is all over. Safe to say, people seem to be achieving a lot during lockdown.

So what if you, just... aren’t? What if the books you bought haven’t been touched? Or that craft kit you found is sitting there unopened? If you’re starting to feel like you’re not being productive during this pandemic, stop. Because there’s a lot of stuff we aren’t achieving, either.

We asked the HuffPost UK team what they intended to get done when the lockdown was first announced that they’ve barely begun. Rest assured, you’re not alone in staring out of the window for hours and hours instead.


Nancy Groves, Head of life

“No sooner did the words ‘self-isolation’, ‘social distancing’, ‘furloughed’ and ‘lockdown’ enter our daily vocabulary than the book stacks starting appearing on Instagram – a weird twist on those summer holiday piles that people smugly post, except in this instance, there are no pub gardens, swimming pools and sunbathing sessions in the park to waylay us. For good or ill, we’ve got all the time in the world – and all the books, too. Except I’ve not finished a single one since this sorry saga began. It’s all I can do to stay focused on a six-part, half-hour comedy drama on telly (hat tip, Channel 4′s Feel Good). To my friends who have books out this year, I can only apologise. But here’s one I read... earlier.”


Rachel Moss, Life reporter

“When I heard the London Marathon had been postponed, a thought popped into my head: ‘Maybe I’ll get myself marathon-fit for October, in case people drop out and I can take their place.’ Fast forward two weeks and one lockdown order later and so much has changed: not least my motivation to pull on my trainers. Running is something I usually love; it helps me shake off the working week and feel energised at the weekend. But since the lockdown started I’ve managed one sluggish jog around the block. It’s hard to explain why, except to say I feel utterly drained. Those newbie runners with their unflappable enthusiasm are taunting me. For now, I’ll stick to walking. My marathon dream can wait another year.”

Learning how to do a headstand

Brogan Driscoll, Life editor

“I’ve been practising yoga for seven years and never managed to do an unassisted headstand sober, even with an instructor talking me through each step. So I decided now would be the moment I’d nail it. Yeah, right. While I am doing more yoga than usual – twice a week instead of once a fortnight – my feeble attempts at a headstand are just that: attempts. I invariably end up in a tangle on the floor. Yoga is supposed to offer respite from the stress of daily life – but because I’m on lockdown, I feel this pressure to achieve, achieve, achieve. From now on I’ll make sure yoga stays an escape, rather than another thing on my to do list.”


Tasha Hinde, Life reporter

“When the lockdown was announced, I thought: ‘Right, don’t panic. It’s fine. You can use this time to do something fun, like painting!’ I had it all planned out: I was going to do a floral-themed painting for our bedroom. Hey, I thought, I could even use that glue gun I bought from B&M Bargains in 2005 to give it a 3D effect – yeah, that would be really arty! So I dug out a blank, thin canvas and placed it on a flat surface to draw something on to it. And nothing happened. I stared at that blank canvas in a weird stupor – productivity paralysis? – for some time before slowly placing it back in a drawer. And thus ended my stint as a master artist.”

shtonado via Getty Images

Writing my novel

Rachael Revesz, commissioning editor, Opinion

“When lockdown struck, jokes were flying around about all the mostly white dudes who would sit down at their desks and not move again until they had penned The Next Great American Novel. I hoped I would be one of them. In truth, I’ve been working on a novel for years, on and off. (Yes, yes, I know.) I’ve always wanted to write one, and I am now surrounded by people with book deals. I view it as the higher plane. I have 70,000 words. But still, more often than not, I end up scrubbing the skirting boards. That, or watching Tiger King.”

Baking banana bread

John Johnson, senior video producer

“I’ve looked up the recipes. Enviously eyed the Instagram posts. Thought about how the process would eat up some time in this eternal lockdown. Then I think about how arduous shopping for food currently is without fighting someone for some flour I really don’t need. I revisit those Insta stories and realise I’m watching people watching their loaf rise in the oven and then finally stop myself by figuring my 20 steps per day wouldn’t really be helped by me making and scoffing banana bread all week. So here I am, on the sofa, not realising my potential as an artisanal baker.”


Charlie Lindlar, commissioning editor, Personal

“I like to define myself as ‘not mucky, but untidy’. There’s definitely room to improve though, so I first thought all this time at home would be a chance to develop good habits and keep our place spotless. A week in, however, and I realised that meant cleaning up our bedroom twice a day, the kitchen three times a day, all while doing my day job. And really, even now, who has the time for that? I’d rather spend quality time at home, rest properly and zone out from the crisis, than trap myself in an interminable cleaning cycle.”


Amy Packham, Life editor

I have a bullet journal, which means I draw out my diary every week with colouring pencils, washi tape, and bold headings. I make unnecessary lists, teach myself how to draw, and brain dump what’s in my head. In my normal, pre-coronavirus life, I’d squeeze in time every week to do this and never failed. So you’d think now I have so much time on my hands I could get even more creative. Learn calligraphy, perhaps, or how to draw something new. Make it look like a bullet journals worthy of Instagram. Alas, I haven’t picked it up for a month.”

Cooking dinner from scratch

Aasma Day, north England correspondent

“Being Asian, people usually stereotype me and think I must be really good at cooking Indian food and curries from scratch. I’m not. While I love a curry, my family and I usually go out to an authentic restaurant or get a takeaway. Or, if I were cooking one, I’d cheat by using a jar, curry paste or packet spices. So on lockdown, I promised myself I’d learn how to recreate some of the delicious dishes my mum makes. I downloaded some recipe books on to my Kindle – but that’s as far as I’ve got. I don’t have the ingredients I need, never mind all the spices. And I’ve been so busy with work, I’ll be lucky if I cook anything, let alone conjure up a curry from scratch!”