PEOPLE AT WORK: Reboot, Recover

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, life is a lot like that. Paradoxically, when your mind “hangs,” it is because your “system” is too busy. And the only way you can get your “system” to work again is to “reboot” your 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 regain control of your life.

Last December, I planned to work on a project I had wanted to do for a long time. I cleared my calendar and made sure I had time for it. But come third week of December, I still hadn’t gotten anywhere. I had done some pretty good things that month, but at that point I felt as if i had achieved nothing. My mind and my emotions “hanged.” Fortunately, I had enough sense to press Alt-Ctrl-Delete and filed a two-week hiatus from editing and put my office staff and myself on a two-week vacation until the New Year.

Are you “hanging” but don’t know it?  Is your life full of activities that make you feel empty? Is your heart full of emotions that deaden your senses? If you answer yes to these questions, it’s time to reboot your life. 

Program a big chunk of time to savor life’s precious moments.  It can as simple as a two-hour breather during the day or as major as a two-year temporary retirement. Inertia  is “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.

• On your desktop is an icon that says “Recycle Bin.” Review the “files” of your daily activities and see which ones needs to be transferred to that bin. Rate your daily activities with an “excitement” scale. How alive do you feel when you perform that task? How enthusiastic are you about it? How excited are you at the prospect of assuming that responsibility? A rating of five means the activity can bring back laughter and joy into your life.  If your activity rates one or two, stop doing it! 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.

• What is on the “desktop of your 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 life’s desktop there? Make sure you set aside time for them and give them importance as you go about the activities that excite you.

This may “unwire” you a bit from all the things that are running your life and you may get to lose some things or start from scratch some projects next time around. But when your systems “hang,” something’s got to give.

After this experience with my computer “hanging” on me, I now believe there are lessons we can get from machines. I remember an oft-repeated warning I hear from wise mentors which I’d like to quote in Pilipino because it sounds more familiar to you: “Kung ang makina nga nasisira dahil hindi inaalagaan, tao pa kaya? (If a machine breaks down if it is not taken cared of, what more a person?)” And so when I see someone getting angry at a computer that processes so slowly, I tell him tongue-in-cheek, “Subukan mo kaya sigawan ‘yan, sa tingin mo kaya aandar yan? (If you try shouting at it, do you think it will starts working again?)” It makes me feel like it’s the revenge of the Matrix.

Author: Regina Galang Reyes. Published in Metro Working Mom February 2004.

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Founding Editor, People at Work, Business, Phiippine Daily Inquirer

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