This blog post is dedicated to my workaholic friends. Live a little! You know who you are.
Like most things in life, technology has its yin and yang, it’s positive and negative. The positive is convenience and speed. Oftentimes, convenience and speed are useful, no doubt. But the negative is that technology has enabled us to be tied to work almost constantly. We have all seen these things and many of us have done them: using the cellphone at the dining table, while waiting in line at the bank, while in church, while at the beach on vacation. Cellphones are inside everybody’s pockets and bags. Everyone has them!
Forget about taking your phone off the hook. Do you remember doing that? Now your cellphone’s voicemail system and text messaging features are ready 24 hours a day to gather messages. And if that is not fast enough, we can e-mail and fax each other. We WILL get through, whether someone wants us to or not. Our offices follow us everywhere now.
And natural downtimes are no more. Think about what happens during super rainy days, for example. Prior to electronic everything, you got to take the day off and lounge around all day. You couldn’t get to work because the roads were flooded, so nobody expected you to work. But what happens now? Sorry. Email, cellphone, faxes, computers, and who knows what else are there, ready and waiting to hook you up to your jobs. You are now expected to keep working right on through everything. Why? Because you can. No other reason.
So what’s wrong with this picture? In the name of efficiency, you have given up control over time. You have given up the security of isolated moments and have become prisoners of your movable offices. So what can you do? Well, you can set aside certain hours of the day to unhook from technology. I have heard that there are offices in Japan that created “no communication time” where people can’t communicate with each other electronically for an hour a day. If that’s true then that’s a real awesome practice. It’s sort of like an abbreviated siesta. We can refuse to use a cellphone or laptop. If you do decide to leave your phones at home though there are still those old-fashioned telephone booths that continue to stand, ready to serve, whenever the need may arise.
You can also refuse to take work home, save for emergencies. Or you can structure your work time at home. For those of you who work in home-based businesses like me, you can set limits on which hours you are “at work.” The statement that that has always had the most impact on me when it comes to working is this: “If we can’t get our work done in the specified time frame, then we can’t get it done if we add more hours either.”So it also comes down to time management as well.
Remember this rule when you take your mental work home and worry and think about what you should be doing. Give yourself, say, 30 minutes to spend on thinking about your job when you get home. During that time, give your full attention to all the thoughts about your job. After the allotted time is up, push it out of your mind. If you still continue to worry or think after the allotted time, just maintain your awareness and say no to yourself. Push the thoughts out of your head. Keep doing this and, eventually, practice will make perfect and you will be able to confine your work thoughts so they do not pervade your whole life.
Take control of your life and your time. Your time should not be ruled by the large corporations that you work for. You should have the basic right to live your own lives, on your own time! Create your own inner law – and then follow it.