For the past few weeks, due to travel and changing schedules, and for the better, it’s been more time with family. What that’s meant is less time in front of a computer and being “productive”. Maybe as a sign of my addition to the screen, there have been withdrawal symptoms. Anxiety and fatigue over what I’m missing, fear of failure, night sweats, being exposed as a fake, etc.
Sure, I’ve tried to sneak away moments to calm myself that the world is not on fire or to be available if there were an “emergency”. However, my phone is a device of endless fascination to my kids and they can detect its use even through 15 cm of concrete. I get a maximum of 20 seconds before they’re asking to see pictures on it or want to test out its durability.
Finally at some point, I gave up. I plugged the phone into the charger and it became a cordless camera and for reaching me in an emergency. I’d check for SMS but not work until I was ready to actually deal with work.
This isn’t a new concept. Tim Ferriss’ The Four Hour Workweek was a huge inspiration more than a decade ago for some experimentation but I’ve felt for myself and all of us, the stakes are much higher. We need to be able to slow down and listen to our thoughts before responding, rather than adding another soundbite or a half baked response. Maybe we also need to expect some delay when we communicate with others and use other channels like phone to escalate when it really is needed.
That’s a more human way to interact.