HAVE you ever experienced your computer “hanging” on you? You keep on frantically clicking your mouse, ferociously jabbing your keyboard but your computer refuses to respond. Then, a screen pops up and tells you the system is busy. Your only option then is to press the Alt-Ctrl-Delete buttons simultaneously so that your system is rebooted.
Well, sometimes, working is a lot like that. Paradoxically, when your mind “hangs” at work, it is because your “system” is too busy. And the only way you can get your “system” to work again is to “reboot” your work life. But like the computer, when you “reboot,” you lose whatever “information” you are working on at the moment and start from scratch. The good thing is, you can regain control of your work and life.
Are your systems “hanging” but don’t know it? Is your work life filled with meetings and appointments that contribute little to your work goals? Is your desk filled with paper that screams to be shuffled? Has frequent telephone calls already shattered your eardrums and disabled your listening capabilities? If you know exactly what I mean, then your answer to these questions is yes.
Then, it is time to “reboot” your work life. Here’s what you can do to “Alt-Ctrl-Delete” your system back to productivity mode:
• Rethink your goals and program of activities for your work next year. To do this, visualize that you are handing in your resignation letter to your boss. Soon, everyone in your group finds out that you are leaving the company. What would they say about your resignation? Would your co-employees and superiors be sad that you would be leaving them? Would they feel that they would be losing a valued co-employee, one who helped them and the company? Or would they be glad and heave a huge sigh of relief that you chose to move on? What would they be saying about you when you finally exit the company door? Your reflections on these questions will show you how you can best serve in your capacity at work.
• Program a big chunk of time during the year to take time off from work to savor life’s precious seconds in whatever way you choose. It can just be a two-hour breather during the day or a two-week rest or a two-year temporary retirement phase. The purpose of this time-out is to break your inertia of perpetually being in the motion of business. People sometimes usually think that inertia is the inability to move. But inertia really refers to “a property of matter by which it remains at rest or in uniform motion in the same straight line unless acted upon by some external force.” When your system “hangs,” it is because you are in “uniform motion” and thus you need to break this inertia by force.
• Notice that icon on your desktop that says “Recycle Bin?” Well, review the “files” of your daily activities and see which ones needs to be transferred to that bin. Rate the things that you do each day with an “excitement” scale. How alive do you feel when you perform that task? How enthusiastic are you in doing that work? How excited are you at the prospect of assuming that responsibility? A rating of five means the activity can bring back the passion for work into your life. If your activity rates one or two, stop doing it, pronto! Doing a task you are indifferent to or hate is torture not only to you but to all those around you who have to contend with your grumpy behavior.
• Who are on the “desktop of your work life?” Usually, the icons or folders you place on your computer’s desktop are those you use often and consider important. Are the people who should be “icons” on your desktop there? Think hard, you might have been relegating to your drives C, D and E, people who should be on your desktop. Make sure you devote time for them and give them importance as you go about the activities that excite you. Put them on the “desktop of your work life” to make sure you do.
• Keeping sanity at work also means keeping a balanced life. Remember, your work does not define the essential you. Rather, you define your work. Therefore, make sure you have a life outside of work. At the end of the day, what matters most is not “living to work” but “working to live.”
Rebooting your work life may “unwire” you a bit from all the things that are running your life. You may get to lose some things or start from scratch some projects next time around. But when your systems “hang,” you know you’ve got no alternative but to restart and renew your work and life.
Author: Regina Galang Reyes. First published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer December 29, 2004.
Photo credit: www.sxc.hu