Sunday, January 06, 2008

Clawing my life back..

A lot of stress dropped away while I was on holidays - I slept a lot better & didn't need to take a headache tablet the whole time I was away which was amazing. I put a lot of it down to the fact that I was virtually unreachable by people. Our society is increasingly instant - we "need" to be contactable immediately no matter where we are - no wonder we can't "turn off". I'm resolving to stop being so instantly available, to stop being online so much, to hopefully reduce stress, and create a lot more time to carry out my other goals for the year.

Some ways I'm going to try to achieve it:

Clocks / watches:
A couple of nights before we went away I turned the clock off on my bedside table - we didn't need the alarm so there was no point having it on. It's amazing how much better I slept - if I did wake up I didn't look at the clock and then toss & turn because it was x o'clock and I couldn't get back to sleep. Obviously I won't be able to do this through the week (or Pete would never get to work lol), but I'm going to continue doing it where possible on the weekend. I also stopped wearing my watch while on holidays - how freeing does it feel! Again, I'm going to not wear it unless I need to be somewhere at a particular time.

Mobile: When mobiles first became popular I refused to have one because I didn't want to be able to be contacted if I was out. Once you get your first one though it's hard to go back. How often are the calls & messages I get urgent? Not often I don't think. I've been leaving it on silent and just checking every now & then - if I don't hear it I don't rush to the phone. If it's important, they'll leave a message (downside - paying for the extra message retrieval calls..) Will try it anyway - it worked well on holidays.

Computer: My BIG addiction! I'm going to limit my time on the computer - I tried a few things today and it worked well. I ran the laptop on battery - it goes into hibernate mode pretty quickly and takes a few minutes to come back out of it so it stops me ducking back to look something else up. I'm keeping a notebook beside the computer so I can jot down things I want to do / look up / write (like I did with this blog post!). I've moved my computer from next to the lounge (which is lovely & comfortable) to a desk (which is probably more ergonomically sound but not as comfortable lol) - this will hopefully stop me sitting down and staying there! Don't use the computer while I'm eaiting breakfast / lunch - a very bad habit I've gotten into!!!

* Yahoogroups - I moderate / own a few Yahoogroups (LETS, Freecycle and related ones). They survived for a week without me - if I'm only checking every few hours they *will* survive! I have other moderators - rely on them more.
* Email - email does not have to be instant communication!!! If I get a message through, it does *not* need to be answered straight away!! Limit my time on the email, and also the frequency I'm checking. Can some of the emails be done by snail mail? (eg personal greetings)
* Work email - I used to have my work email go through Outlook because it's a pain to check via webmail. I've had to remove it while I'm on holidays because clients are still sending me work to do (despite knowing I'm on holidays!) - if I saw that there was an unread message I just didn't have the willpower to *not* read it, and then I'd either stress about it or have to answer it. By having it on webmail it's a hassle so I don't check it. So while I'm working I'll connect it to Outlook, while I'm not I'll remove it (or maybe I just won't have the send / receive check it - will see what works best). This will hopefully remove a *lot* of stress and eliminate one of the huge problems about working from home - separating work & home time.
* Blogs / groups - Use folders more to organise my mail. May need to cull?? (eeek!)

* Make a list of jobs to do each day - NOT on the computer or it will just give me another excuse to be on it lol
* Stick to dedicated work time for paid work.
* Read books / write when I sit down at night.

Hopefully all of this will give me time to DO instead of just reading about doing. It'll be a good time to start now while I'm not back in the habit of using the PC - turning on my computer used to be the first thing I'd do of a morning :( Hopefully it will also rub off on the rest of the family - Pete is as bad with the computer and Billy uses the TV when he's bored..

This is a great blog post I skimmed yesterday on a similar topic - I just read it in more depth and realised how good it really was!

And now it's time to turn off and go to bed!!!


Kris said...

Funny reading this post - it resonates so strongly with my relationship to work and technology. Email is a big one for me and on holidays I didn't bother to check at all because it was a hassle. And do you know - the world did not end, not even a little bit. It turns out I'm not essential to its running. What i found, being away from technology, was not just the time saved, but how much extra space there was in my head, to think about other things or not think at all. I think this is the key to my relaxing, just giving myself space to float.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear Kerrie! I stopped wearing a watch a couple of years ago and I know exactly the freedom you are feeling!! I have my phone with me so I can use that to check the time if I need to.

I also find that when I'm working, I close my email down. So when I see the little envelope come up- just like you, I always had to go and read it!! I turn it off now and open it back up when I have the time to properly reply.

I must say though, I am going to miss our instant communication!! I loved knowing you could answer me the same day!!

Keep us updated on the difference it makes for you!

Minni Mum said...

Great list Kerrie! Oh and welcome back from your holiday :-) It's funny about the clock/watch thing isn't it? I got rid of our clock out of the bedroom last year (if it's time to get up it's light enough to see my watch on the bedside table) and I sleep better not seeing the bright digital display glaring at me in the middle of the night if I wake up. I like the link too - I especially like the ti[ about planning what you are going to do at the 'puter *before* you sit down, to stop all the blog-hopping or aimlessly following links I tend to do.

Cheers, Julie

Anonymous said...

I found exactly the same thing while I was away too Kez! It's much harder to relax and ignore stuff at home. I need to limit my time on the computer too. I'm just so undisciplined!!!!

libby said...

Hi Kerrie,

I read this post the other day as I really wanted to comment. Obviously it struck a nerve. Then yesterday I was had a girlfriend over for lunch and she was talking about the things she'd been doing over the holidays - lots of swimming, reading, etc. I tried to think what I'd been doing and while I know we have been fairly busy, nearly every other moment has been spent online. I tend to get up around 5.30-6am most days so I'm going to use as my computer time and maybe another hour or so in the afternoon. The only way I can stick to something like this is to turn off the computer, but you've inspired me to give it a go.
Best of luck with all your goals.


emma.jean said...

Brilliant post, Kez, and a great plan. I can completely relate, although my PC problem isn't work-related! There's just so much interesting stuff on the 'net, and so easy to get side-tracked and waste hours.