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Noises off

I Found myself starting 2010 like a hamster on a wheel. Work pressure was at a fever pitch. Travel plans were being scheduled at a frenetic pace.

Written by Nonita Kalra | Published: February 19, 2010 12:28 am

I Found myself starting 2010 like a hamster on a wheel. Work pressure was at a fever pitch. Travel plans were being scheduled at a frenetic pace. And demands on my time were being made by all and sundry. My head felt like it would explode. And my heart wouldn’t stop pounding.

Everywhere I looked I saw my stress being reflected. Rushing,pushing,dashing around — it was clear that my friends and family were also stuck in the same vicious circle. Our lives were charging past us in fast forward mode. And we didn’t know how to even press the pause button. But since desperate times call for desperate measures,I decided to switch off. Completely.

And the silence revealed a new mantra for the decade: It was time to slow down my life. To reclaim my sanity I had to free myself. And if it meant going against the very nature of how people interacted,so be it. So,I started the process of becoming inaccessible.

First,I switched off my mobile. Rather I put on silent mode. I couldn’t answer calls or reply to texts because I couldn’t hear them. What helped is that my service provider — I won’t name names but let me give you a hint and say they are never in the loop despite their advertising campaign — doesn’t really exist. I am unable to hold a conversation longer than 20 seconds without the call getting disconnected. A text message inevitably reaches two days later. And voice clarity is unheard of. My radio silence meant that the world was forced to communicate with me through email. What used to be a beautiful way of communicating has turned into an aggressive deluge. Have you noticed what happens if you don’t click on reply as soon as the sender has pressed send? Another mail will follow marked urgent. Then another. Till your phone starts ringing off the hook. Well. I decided I would reply. But in my own time. And everything else could wait.

Did my new strategy lead to missed deadlines? A drop in the quality of my work? To the contrary. Now that I take my time to reply,I find that my thoughts are clearer. My ideas more sparkling. My productivity on the increase. All because I decided to work according to my schedule. And not to succumb to the pseudo pressure others put on me — simply because they could not function any other way.

The new work ethic that we are so busy following has forgotten about the restorative powers of rest. We are plugged in and playing on all the time. Creativity needs masterful isolation to thrive and grow. A sensory overload,the must have 21st century diktat,actually causes the mind to shut down. And in that darkness no light can flourish. It isn’t a bad idea to take a day off to read a book. Or sit at home and tidy your sock drawer. Hell! Spend a day at the parlour flipping through celebrity magazines. All of this is called recharging your batteries and comes under the tag of work. It is also good time management to just make time for yourself. So press the snooze button and take an afternoon nap. The world can wait.

Nonita Kalra is Editor In Chief,ELLE

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