My Top Three Isolation Inspirations

How I Spent Lockdown, and How I Was Inspired In Isolation

Through the trees: A view of the lake in Victoria Park, London

Through the trees: A view of the lake in Victoria Park, London

In deciding what I was going to do in the strange time of lockdown and isolation I asked myself:

How can I make the most of this time?

The self-feedback I received in answer was that I wanted to do the following three things — which are actually six things, because well, that’s what came to me, because they all seemed like good ideas, because they’re things I can combine, and because I can.

My Top Three Isolation Inspirations


Embracing being at home and indulging in pure unadulterated me time, to my absolute delight, I discovered all thirty-four of the previously screened episodes of Inspector Montalbano were available on iPlayer. I’m a huge fan, so of course, I decided to work my way through them — there is a little work involved as it’s in Italian with English subtitles. As I’d watched them before, I wanted to create a sense of purpose around re-watching them, and so I decided I’d read each book first, then watch the episode.

My reasoning behind this was two-fold:

  1. I want to read more fiction, and mysteries are a life-long favourite genre. Beginning from a young age with Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven books, then moving on to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple detective novels, and many, many more in-between.
  2. I have an idea for a mystery book, but I have no idea how to go about writing it, and so I’m setting out to learn just that, and what better way to do it than by embracing my love of literature and film/tv.


Before the pandemic hit, I’d planned a road-trip around Ireland along with exploring France by train. While this of course has to go on hold, I thought I could still prepare, and as this is something I could multi-task on, I thought the best combination would be with home-exercise. So, I got my Michel Thomas Irish and French Language CDs, along with my Jane Fonda and Callanetics DVDs off the shelf, dusted them off, put on my leg-warmers and got going.

A view of Tower Bridge from London Bridge


A view of Tower Bridge from London Bridge 


I decided I’d use this time to learn how to take better photographs. This is simply because I love photographs, but I’ve never been very good at taking them. This seemed like the perfect time to try out my new iPhone that I’d bought because of the camera function, which reportedly is good for both photos and videos. I created a project which I’ve called ‘Capturing The Beauty In Everyday WorkLife’, and as we’re allowed to exercise outside of home, I thought I’d combine both. How am I doing? I’ll let you judge – from the photos I’ve shared in this post.

Boats and Buildings along Regents Canal


Boats and Buildings along Regents Canal

Book Wisdom

So, what wisdom am I gleaning from reading mystery books, and how could this be helpful in my WorkLife? Looking at the first book in the series of Inspector Montalbano (The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri), Donna Leon, an American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice, Italy, said: “The novels of Andrea Camilleri breathe out the sense of place, the sense of humour, and the sense of despair that fill the air of Sicily. To read him is to be taken to that glorious, tortured island.”

Alongside exploring how to write a mystery book, I’m also working on my next book, called WorkLife Book Club. The setting for each chapter will be a different restaurant, as the group discuss WorkLife stories and featured books. I need to learn how to breathe out the sense of place for each setting — wish me luck!

Words of Wisdom

In the midst of times of uncertainty and disruption, powerful shifts are going to come about, and people are going to make big changes. You may not have the clarity on what you could, should, would do, if you only knew what that was, and that’s OK. Focus instead on how you could, should, would think about making decisions when the time is right for you.

Sage Wisdom

Down moments are sometimes when the greatest opportunities arise.


This chapter of my WorkLife has just begun. In time I’ll reflect on what it meant for me, what I learnt from it, and what changes it effected in my WorkLife.

I leave you with a couple of questions for you to reflect on at whatever stage you’re at, at this chapter in your WorkLife. In the moment or looking back – depending on when you’re reading this story.

What do/did you want to get out of this strange, bizarre, challenging time?

What do/did you want to remember from this time?

Through reflection and self-feedback let the answers inform your isolation inspirations in whatever you choose to do.

In time should you choose to make changes in your WorkLife, ask yourself:

How could, should, would I think about making these decisions?

Today’s featured book is: The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.



Did My My Top 3 Isolation Inspirations Actually Inspire Me Longterm? is my story having revisited and reevaluated this story. 

And there’s more …

… The Continuing Story …

The WorkLife Book Wisdom stories led me to write WorkLife Book Club, which takes you on a journey through the streets of Shoreditch, East London, as the members share culinary experiences, while discussing WorkLife struggles and successes through the wisdom found in the books they read.

I developed the first six WorkLife Book Wisdom blog stories into the case studies that are featured in the book. The case study and the book are the required reading for each meeting and help frame the subsequent discussion.

Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside and to purchase from Amazon. The book is also available to purchase from your favourite book shop.

  And There’s More …

I then created resources to help people start and continue their own WorkLife Book Club Chapter. I did this by taking the next six WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories and developed them into Case Studies that became The Learn Through Reading Series. The case study and the book are the required reading for each meeting and help frame the subsequent discussion.

Tap The Learn Through Reading Series to see the complete series. From here, you can tap on the individual case studies to see a preview of what’s inside and to purchase from Shopify.


School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Your WorkLife Your Way 

How To Self-Coach, Direct and Lead Effectively 

How To Start Something New in Difficult Times 

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.


Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.