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Thanks to all of you who weighed in on how you are managing to juggle work with other responsibilities. Your stories and pictures delight me. Here's the next prompt: 

What's your best hack or tip for life during the lockdown? Please hit reply to share your suggestions. Anything goes!

See you next week.


P.S. Got a question you'd like me to ask our readership? Please hit reply and share it with me!

Note: this issue has been edited for clarity.


We're upstate with another family whose kids go to school with ours. It's nine of us in a big house, four adults, five kids aged three to nine. The other day, at dinner, we talked about what we missed from our old lives. Seeing friends. Visiting our families. Going out for a drink. Nazanin was saying how she misses these moments she barely paid attention to before, like chatting with a neighbor in the hallway, or dropping the kids off at school. I realized I was missing a thing I didn't even like before: conference rooms. Conference rooms are so much better than Google Hangouts. I miss them. But there are also things I want to preserve when we get back to whatever's on the other side of this. Like, as I was writing this email, in the living room of the compound, I got interrupted by these two crawling into my lap. I've really enjoyed all the kids and pets and roommates and significant others wandering into the frame that I've experienced over the last three weeks of Google Hangouts. You don't get THAT in a conference room. And I realize it's so striking because there's this "game of pretend" we normally play at work that we all had to stop playing. We pretend we don't have other aspects of our lives that we care deeply about. It's a "game of pretend" that thankfully, we're starting to let go of as a society. But seeing these glimpses of everyone's lives pop up on screens for the last several weeks has made me realize how much of that game we were still playing. Like I said, God help me, I want to get back into those conference rooms. But I hope we can all keep meeting like this as well.

— Alex Blumberg, Gimlet Media


Also trying to walk four miles a day. I have to admit that for me, working has been the biggest escape – I feel at once connected and purposeful when I otherwise feel useless – I interviewed Stacey Abrams, Katie Couric, and some badass healthcare workers around the globe for my show. They all inspire me, and it feels good to know that there are some big brains trying to relieve patients/workers/everyday folks from this new fucked up apocalyptic reality we are in. 

— Rose Reid, The Women

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I've lost some audio work, but not all. I'm working from home and am grateful to have a small studio in my backyard. For [my podcast] Neighbors, my co-host Cariad and I have been brainstorming about how to adjust our content during quarantine. We've landed on experimenting with a Joe Richman "Radio Diaries" approach and asking select people to chronicle their lives using voice memos on their phones. We're doing a call-in segment on the show, but this isn't that. These would be long-form pieces comprised of several days worth of voice memos. I've never been so grateful to be a procrastinator because I have loads of tape from stories that I "never got around to finishing." So my co-host and I are digging through the evergreen tape we've gathered to create new and relevant stories and art for the show. Personally, my wife has been my lifeline. She's now a full-time mom but is a teacher by training. She's brought that mindset into our quarantine by scheduling out our days in really constructive and meaningful ways. Like I always have time with just me and my son at the same time every day. I put him to bed certain nights. Those routines and rhythms — like daily walks, baking bread every three days, a weekly online DND game with some friends — have been an anchor in an otherwise endless onslaught of horror-filled meaningless days. I also block Twitter, Facebook, Insta, and news sites for four hours at a time on my computer using an app. The most surprising anchor has been basketball. I have a hoop in my driveway, and I pumped up a deflated basketball from my shed for the first time in a decade and have been playing every day. I've looked up drills and am going to school my friends once we can all play again. I also cry and watch trash TV. Have you seen "The Great Pottery Throwdown?" It's like the "Great British Baking Show" but ya know... with pots.

— Jakob Lewis, Neighbors and Nashville's Great Feeling Studios


I like to take the dog out with my husband, and Rinat and her husband like to go for neighbourhood walks or to their favourite coffee shop that is still doing take-out. We also have been trying to exercise, whether it's inside with a stationary bike (Rinat) or doing routines on the Nintendo Switch game Just Dance (me), and also getting outside for walks. Since our spouses are also working from home now, that has been an interesting thing to juggle. My husband is a teacher (grade 3 and music), and he was out of the house every day at school, but since they've closed schools, he's now teaching online from home. I have been working from home for months now, so not much has changed for me, but us both being home all the time has been a new experience. We live in a two-bedroom apartment, so we do have spaces we can go if we need to get out of each other's hair, but we often end up just working together at the dining table. It's nice to be able to take breaks in between together and have lunch, watch an episode of our favorite TV show, play a board game. But it can also be distracting because if neither of us really wants to work, it's very easy to tell ourselves that we'll just take a "short" break that turns into a longer break... Etc. For Rinat, she and her husband live in a pretty large house, so they can get their own space more easily, and her husband is really dedicated to his work (he's a professor at the University of Alberta), so it's harder to tear him away from his work. All in all, I think we're all just muddling through and taking it day by day!

— Vanessa Hennessey, That's the Ticket!

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[My child Isaac] usually eases into the day with a little TV after breakfast so I work for like an hour and then we do an activity and then Scott makes him lunch while I work for another hour and then we do another activity. Then there’s quiet time and I do like two hours [of work] and then dinner, bed and I work another hour. It SUCKS and I get like 30% done of what I usually get done.

UPDATE, TWO WEEKS LATER: I’m OK, still struggling with the homeschool/work thing. With kids this young it’s pretty terrible and impossible to get work done. Now I have Isaac 10 am - 1 pm then Scott takes over 1 pm - 4 pm. It’s amazing how little you can accomplish in three hours. A Zoom call basically kills all productivity. Mondays are awash because we record, then I have like from 2 pm - 4 pm to check a busting inbox. :( I miss my full workdays so much! The time with Isaac is nice though. We color, walk outside, do some dance videos. He watched ABC Mouse and does worksheets. The mornings are nice, but the rest of the day is me wondering what I should tackle in the little time I have.

— Jessica Kupferman, She Podcasts


Physically, I’m just clumsy, and in the work/life realm, I just plod along jumping from project to project. Now, with this whole damn pandemic, I’m more about the projects than ever. It helps me deal with what Stephen King calls the “gnawing anxiety” that I suspect the vast majority of us feel. Still, I have a wife—a very forgiving one—so, I try to block out time for us. It’s all the more difficult now since I’m not only in front of my computer during the day (in part, learning new skills for when work ramps back up) and working at my local NPR-affiliate at night. (I’m helping out during the pandemic and I’m so appreciative of them for bringing me on.) Since he can telecommute for his job and it’s just safer here, my 26-year-old kid is also staying with us. He brought a wild-as-hell, 1.5-year old puppy with him. My wife and I feel pretty lucky (most of the time :)) having him home. He’s lived away for most of the past eight years. So, the balance is in there somewhere, in ridiculously short, much-appreciated increments from about 8-8:15 and 12:30-12:39, and all those moments when I think how lucky I am that my family remains healthy. 

— Richard Banks, podcast producer


My 18-year old son lives about an hour away with his dad, though, and because he didn't quarantine himself for too long, I haven't been able to see him in forever, and I worry about him every day. I can't wait until I can see him again. As far as balance goes, it's actually pretty challenging: My podcast has moved from a weekly deadline to a daily one, because the business news is now moving so fast that the only way to do it right is to select stories less than 24 hours before they'll be released. That's meant working until eight or nine every night, while I get used to it, and so it's been difficult to balance my two competing work responsibilities (Business Wars Daily and our Podcast Allies client work, not to mention simply running the business) and my life with my partner at home. Self-care? I sigh a huge sigh of relief on the weekends. At the same time, I'm enormously grateful not to have lost work (although the launch of one branded podcast was delayed by a few months, to avoid sounding tone-deaf). Finally, we built a beautiful studio — at my partner's house. But obviously I can't go there... so I'm attaching a shot of my new studio.

— Elaine Grant, Podcast Allies and Wondery's Business Wars Daily


This keeps everything manageable and stops the day being consumed, but at the same time keeps me productive and creative, and as a result, in high spirits! I start slowly, to allow the creative juices to gently flow throw through my mind, and I usually head into my production area in my home studio at around midday. By this point, I’ve usually got some kind of to-do list in place – usually with something to record or edit, and I then aim to get everything done by 4 pm. On the odd occasion that I have stuff I need to do outside of those hours, I treat myself to an extra hour or two of ‘overtime’ on a day when there’s less stuff to do. I currently use this method for two podcasts I’m in the middle of producing.

— Neal Veglio, The Lockcast and The Mourning DJ


The biggest thing I've found with balance is that there is now so much more to be covering with the pandemic - from the grim numbers facing breweries to the impacts on agriculture, changing laws and regulations, and even some good news - that there seems to be less time in the day than there used to be. I'm now finding myself behind the mic of four beer-related podcasts and my business partner and I launched a new COVID-19 podcast for the beer industry called Beer Edge. Each show is different, requires different guests and perspectives, so even finding the balance for all of that is a challenge. I've always worked from home (but traveled a lot) so being grounded has been great. I'm cooking more meals, I'm making time in the middle of the day to read something non-work or news-related, even if it's 30 minutes, and we're taking a lot of family walks. I don't know if I ever had a good balance of work and real-life for the 20 years I've been a reporter, but these last few weeks have felt more meaningful on both fronts than I can ever remember. 

— John Holl, Drink Beer, Think Beer


Between publishing four podcasts, video mentoring with students in the Entrepreneurship program at Fresno State, grandkids and homeschooling, pets wanting to come in and go out to be fed, including a sulcata tortoise that lives in our living room in a pen, and my ADHD. I have found that having ADHD has actually helped me to balance life. I'm used to juggling numerous projects at once when I can go out, but staying inside has helped me stay more focused than ever. Of course, telling me I have to stay inside doesn't agree with my way of living, but right now I'm dealing with it and the grandkids are loving it. 

— Mark Clifford, ADHD It's All Mishegoss


I'm an indie producer and writer in the UK. It is true I have felt a degree of frustration at not feeling free to go for walks midday – I normally would as a break from my usual work-from-home set-up. However, this has a silver lining, as a long-term sports injury I have been dealing with for more than a year seems to have benefited from the (enforced) break. Physically, I feel – and even look – really well, which is perhaps surprising. My diet has got quite limited because I'm reluctant to visit the supermarket, and thoroughly bored with what is in my kitchen! Culture-wise, I am usually a keen reader, but haven't been reading any books since the COVID-19 crisis began. I don't even want to order any, because I don't want to burden the postal service any more than necessary. I'm still watching and enjoying TV and film, but am perhaps seeking out lower-octane and more gentle shows. I haven't plunged into a nostalgia-fest, but I am revisiting some of the music I grew up with, and watching archive clips on YouTube, e.g. Martin Sheen in a TV interview in 1972. I feel a bit guilty about two projects over-running, even though I know it's not my fault – that niggling guilt is there all the time. I think I've got my work/life balance right at the moment, but am looking forward to being able to live normally again.

— Susan Gordon, podcast producer

This newsletter was written and curated by podcast junkie and recovered publicist, Skye Pillsbury. Over the years, Skye has crafted digital media strategies for brands like Yahoo! and Microsoft and worked regularly with media outlets such as the New York Times, Rolling Stone and NPR. Skye was famous for 49 minutes when she and her son were featured in an episode of Gimlet Media’s Heavyweight podcast. 

We're at work on Season 2 of the Inside Podcasting podcast and hope to have more to share soon. In the meantime, you can catch up on the first season which included interviews with:

Ian Chillag, the creator of Everything is Alive 

Jessi Hempel, who hosts Linked In’s podcast Hello Monday

Martine Powers, who hosts Post Reports from the Washington Post 

Leon Neyfakh, the co-creator of Slow Burn, who is now the host of Fiasco 

Madeleine Baran, the investigative reporter behind In the Dark

and Inside CEO Jason Calacanis, who hosts This Week in Startups

You can find the show wherever you get your podcasts. Let us know what you think!


Edited by Eduardo Garcia in New York. Eduardo is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School M.A. Science program and writes regularly for the New York Times Climate Fwd: newsletter. In one of his previous lives, Eduardo worked as a Reuters correspondent in Latin America for nearly a decade. 

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