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wnylibrarian's picture

Silencing The Batphone

Hello Interwebs,

 

It's been a long time. Yes, I don't write nearly as much as would like to. Full disclosure on that point -- I'm pretty busy. Yes, I know, we're all busy, and we each have our own private domestic responsibilities. Mine is looking after my folks, both in their 80s, and both stubborn in their own way. In truth the last 19 months has been both overwhelming and a blessing depending one's perspective. Perhaps some day when I'm up to the task I'll write about those 19 months, but I haven't the emotional energy for it. Ultimately it took COVID-19 to afford me an opportunity to sit down compose some thoughts.

 

One of the goals since July 2019, however, was to disconnect a little bit. To take a pause. Smartphones can be a great tool to keeping people connected until they start keeping people connected too much. It wasn't a complete black-out. I have kept an eye on Twitter, Reddit, and required email. Note the word required. Part of the scaling back process was to remove email notifications from appearing in my phone's pull-down shade. There is nothing that I attend to that involves life and death. Yes there are technical emergencies, yes there are urgent matters, but I at some point early last summer [2019] I came to the conclusion that when they happen the right people know how to contact me via text or some emergency Batphone method. Therefore I shouldn't frequently be opening the email app and reviewing what I consider to be "second and third tier" priority emails -- particularly outside of the working hours. I felt it was an important time to set boundaries for myself. To work within a specific set of guidelines to ... wait for it ... work smarter not harder. It might be a cliche, but it is often true. If that means silencing the Batphone; so be it. Now with the COVID-19 Crisis in full swing, and the fact I'm working from home for the first time in more than 20 years, I feel slightly ahead of the curve on the boundary front. Not insomuch with the home office setup (I could sure use a more comfy chair), but in managing those lines between work and home.

 

Back in June I had challenged myself with my own Personal Productivity Challenge. It was around that time I had starting to notice different responsibility areas of my life bleeding across the realm. Sometimes those things are unavoidable, and when they are its best to have a plan of action to deal with them. Compartmentlize them or, if need be, fend them off with a coat hanger into their respective corners again. I am far from a productivity expert, but I advise everyone, if you're feeling domestic and professional life are bleeding together, if you're starting to feel a bit overwhelmed, then step back and reassess your methods for handling tasks. You can discover like I did there's always room for improvement. With the COVID-19 crisis the work environment has changed overnight and it is imparative. Those that cannot adapt will struggle to stay afloat. The restaurant industry is discovering this the hard way. If you didn't offer take-out, if you didn't find alternative methods of income -- DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub -- then you're really painted into a corner right now. If you never saw the value of any take-out service before what do you think of it now if you're a restaurant owner? Diversification is always key whether we're talking about people, services, or income. The COVID-19 crisis has really brought that to the front. People can say, "This has never happened before," or "No one could ever have predicted this," and they would be wrong. Granted each emergency situation brings its own set of unique problems, but those that diversify can ride out the storm longer. The Spanish Flu did happen before. Another pandemic will happen again. Preparation is key, and then you hope for the best. Now all we can do is ride out the current storm.