Sabrina | Books, Lifestyle | No CommentsTechnology is supposed to make our lives easier, and yes it does, but I've noticed when chatting to people that more and more of us have trouble 'switching off'. Not just turning our phones and computers off, but mentally tearing ourselves away from our work. With smartphones and tablet computers such as iPads becoming more commonplace, it's hard to separate work time from our own time, particularly for small business owners who work in service-related industries. Georgina Laidlaw has an excellent article here which has some ideas for those of us whose brain is still working on work stuff long after working hours are over. Getting out and going for a walk works for me, particularly now in springtime when I can let my mind wander over the sun on my back, or the scent of flowers like jasmine and wisteria, which always bring back a memory of childhood; comforting, carefree. Books do it for me too. When I want to have some technology-free time I often head for something written or set in the first half of the twentieth century. Yes, a time when computers and mobile phones weren't part of our lives. A slower time, to slow my mind down and make me relax. E. F. Benson's Mapp & Lucia books are favourites and I re-read them annually. Likewise mysteries from detective fiction's Golden Age: Josephine Tey (Brat Farrar is a longtime favourite) and Agatha Christie's Miss Marple are marvellous antidotes - Murder at the Vicarage, anyone? Last weekend I bought two very battered Girl's Own Annuals at Rozelle Markets. It cost me $10 for the pair of them. One book was missing its rear cover and the other had its covers and spine but they weren't attached to the book. I had an enjoyable hour last night rebinding them and making a new rear cover. Purists might say I'm lessening their value but in the condition the covers were in I doubt each one is worth more than a fiver anyway. They make fascinating reading, a snapshot of British middle-class life in the early 1920s; articles by worthy ladies, fiction that never features more than a chaste kiss between lovers, chocolate-box village photographs and wonderful line drawings of the current fashions. Now I look forward to switching off in the evenings and delving into a world of bachelor girls, camisoles, good wives and a day in the life of a prima donna. How do you switch off? Answers on a postcard please (or leave a comment below).
an interesting article by David Frith in the Australian's IT section this week. It's all about switching off occasionally - turning off your mobile phone at weekends, distancing yourself from your social media network when you're not in working hours. I've always been a champion of work/life balance, of having time to yourself where work just doesn't intervene. Like, for instance, weekends. But now I think about it, I can't remember the last weekend in which I didn't do some kind of work. Update someone's website, respond to work emails... if you're like me you know how it is. The last few weeks have been super-hectic for me. I've been working late at nights and working weekends to finish tasks for people. I've been available and 'switched on', and realistically it's taking a bit of a toll. I woke this morning stressed out because I realised, late last night, I'd left my phone switched off all day. I'd been in a meeting the afternoon before and switched it off, because I didn't even want disturbance on 'silent' mode. I'd left it switched off for the drive home as I hate the phone ringing when I'm driving. I won't answer it because I find talking on the phone distracting when I'm confronting Sydney traffic, and if it rings a portion of my mind is wondering who rang and what they want when I should be thinking about the idiot in front of me with a penchant for not using his indicator. So my subconscious took the matter in hand for me, and neglected to remind me to switch the phone back on. As a result I had a reasonably stress-free day yesterday. My interruptions were minimal, and I got a ton of tasks done. I did wonder why several people emailed me asking them to ring me, and didn't find out why until I went to put the phone on charge that night. Oops! My subconscious had the right idea, though. I needed a day to catch up. I'd been making mistakes, not doing updates for people which I said I'd do, rushing jobs and making typos. Not good. Not professional. You might say switching off the phone isn't professional either, but if it gives you the breathing space to do good work, then it's a good thing. I switched the phone on this morning and collected my messages and thankfully I'd addressed most of them in the course of yesterday's work day, so the stress levels dropped quite a lot. Remembering how grumpy and stressed I was over breakfast, worrying about how many people might be chasing me, and how relieved I was at realising it wasn't as bad as I thought when I switched the phone on afterwards, has rung some warning bells. It really is important to take time for yourself. Perhaps not switching the phone off for a working day, but switching off at dinner time and not turning on until the next day - switch off the phone, don't be tempted to access your emails, forget tweeting about business stuff. I've been a bear with a sore head for more than a week as I haven't been having enough 'me' time. There's a novel calling my name, and I'm off to read it now and indulge in some necessary escapism. Don't feel guilty next time you want to do the same.