I can’t help commenting on this today. I’m wondering if you are noticing what I’m noticing?
As I find myself using and depending on my smartphone more and more, I find that I am able to accomplish more and more. I’m able to answer an email at the grocery store, reschedule a patient anywhere and anytime with a single text, open up my computer and get work done while waiting for anything or anyone, go to the bank online, shop online, and so on and so forth. I’m saving so much time by getting things done online that I’m creating more time … to get more done!
Do you follow me? I actually think I have greater expectations of myself and that I take on more responsibility because I am able to accomplish more as my life becomes more streamlined by technology and the internet. I am starting to understand that in a world where we are able to do more and more with our time, we need to, in response, protect and respect our time more and more.
My husband and I sat side by side on the couch last night working on our laptop computers until 11pm. Isn’t it great that we can do work from the comfort of our own couch? How wonderful that we can be super productive and super efficient by working late and long hours? My husband can come home in time to play with our kids and put them to bed, but then, if need be, he can go back to work as he sits at our kitchen table.
I showed up for jury duty today, and I signed in with a heavy sense of what I would call “civic guilt.” I knew that if I got called into a courtroom, I was going to do whatever it took to get excused from duty. I imagined myself being cross examined by a stern judge … “Don’t tell me you can’t cancel patients, find a substitute supervisor for your clinic shift, and secure full-time child care for your children! Of course you can.” Oh, the guilt, shame and overwhelm at the thought of raising my right hand and swearing under oath that I just can’t do it all.
We are facing challenging times. I feel it intuitively, and I see it playing out in my own life and in the lives of my friends and patients. We are able to take on the world, literally. And yet, I believe we must protect ourselves from our superhero selves and look more realistically at what we can or should accomplish in a day. We must make a distinction between what we can accomplish and what we truly want to accomplish in our lives. Simply because, technologically or logistically speaking, we can do it all, does not mean that we should do it all. Nor should we want to.
I hear chatter from my friends about taking a break from email, television, the internet, or smartphones. I hear talk of making commitments to not work from home, to not check email around children, and to not use smartphones or iPads during family time. I hear patients deciding to “say no” to the craziness of their schedules, to their overbooked lifestyles, and the hectic pace of their day. These are all commitments that we make in order to protect our time from our own ability and capacity to accomplish more and do more. These are boundaries that we are setting for ourselves and for our families … so that we honor the time we spend together and we honor the time we spend with ourselves. We do not have to accomplish it all. Let’s respect and protect our time.