“But… Stephanie, you’re not allowed to do that to yourself!” She said. In this case, “that” was a day that started at 9am and finished at 10pm, pretty much back-to-back meetings and appointments. There was also the podcast on “addictive technology“, and this question that comes to my mind a dozen times a day when I’m on Facebook: “would I rather be doing something else?” — something like reading, or tidying the house, or cooking, or going for a walk (can’t with my hip, but you get the drift). And this article on firewalling me time, even at the price of limiting social activities. Another one about the importance of quiet time, a precious reminder, even though it’s not a new idea to me. All that on a backdrop of keeping an eye out for emotional labour.
So the other evening I took out my calendar, and blocked out “me evenings”. There aren’t quite enough available, but I did my best. I also gave myself the morning off after I go all the way to Basel for an evening talk. And quiet week-ends when I come back from travelling. I realised I could go to social/networking events and stay for one hour instead of three. Or say no when I’m asked (with no ill-intentions) to sacrifice my quiet time to make things easier for somebody else.
Maybe one of the reasons I don’t like planning my work, and give up quite fast when I do: I do not protect myself enough when I plan, and therefore burn myself out when I try to follow the plan.
I’ve realised I need more “no input” time. Time when my brain can wander. Time without the computer, the phone, or podcasts. Time when I’m not working or actively doing something that requires my attention. Listening to music is quite good, because my thoughts can drift off. Reading a book is all right too, because I can daydream. And repeatedly, I ask myself: “would I rather be doing something else?” when I’m caught in the social media consumption cycle.
And my upcoming Indian holiday will be largely offline.
Also published on Medium.