I re-read the following blog after first bashing it out in an email and realised that I was referring to ‘my husband’ way too much, sounding way to old-fashioned for me! So I have decided, since it’s likely to be recurring problem, that he and my son need nicknames. Therefore, from here on in, I shall refer to them as ‘Mr Daisy’, and ‘Daisy Junior’ (thereby making me ‘Mrs Daisy!). Anyway, enjoy the ramble…”
A few weeks ago I did the Race for Life in Cambridge. I was late leaving the house in the morning (as usual), and in the mad panic to get to the start of the race on time I managed to leave my mobile phone sitting on my bed at home. Fine, who needs a phone when running a race anyway? Okay, so I might have planned to time my run using the stopwatch on the phone, but Mr Daisy lent me his watch to do that job. And I arranged to meet my cheerleading team (aka Mr D and Daisy Junior) at the end of the race in a very obvious meeting place, so no problem, who needs a phone? What did we do before everyone had mobiles anyway? What could possibly go wrong?However, the Race for Life being the huge event that it is, there was some confusion over exactly when I would have crossed the start line, so my ‘support team’ missed me running past because they weren’t expecting to see me just yet. And then, Mr Daisy overestimated (how dare he?!) how long it would take me to get to the finish line, and so missed my finish as well. And eventually they got there and they waited…. and waited, to see me finish, while I had disappeared off to the pre-arranged meeting point and stood there waiting like a lemon, glowing like a belisha beacon, and getting just a little bit impatient.
I had no reason to be impatient, other than the fact that my son had to get back to a friend’s birthday party that afternoon. I had just run a (for me) fairly quick 5k, I had my stretches to do, the sun was shining, I had some water and an orange kindly donated by the R4L team, and I could have just been resting and chilling out while waiting for them to turn up at said meeting place.
But no, numerous times my right hand automatically reached for my non-existent back pocket (where phone usually lives when I’m wearing my jeans) looking like a bit of a nervous twitch. I chastised myself more than you can possibly imagine for being so stupid as to leave my phone at home. I found myself desperately thinking of some other way to get in touch with my husband, and looked enviously around at everyone else casually talking or texting, or checking emails on their phones while I stood there ‘disabled’ by my lack of telecommunication. I was frustrated that not only could I not get in touch with him and tell him to ‘hurry up, we’ve got things to do’, but also that while I was waiting for him I was unable to use the time to catch up on texts or emails. What a dreadful waste of time! What was I supposed to do? By the time they eventually did turn up (after I had borrowed a random stranger’s phone and phoned, only to get through to Mr Daisy’s voicemail), I was grumpy, to say the least.
I was reminded of this today when I read this blog post by Jonathan Fields. I used to relish the opportunity to sit outside and just ‘be’. If the sun was shining, so much the better. And if there was an event going on where thousands of women were taking part to raise money for a good cause, then what an atmosphere to sit and soak up. But not any more. In that time where I was ‘without phone’, I could only think of how much more ‘efficient’ I would be if I had my phone with me. It seems these days I am so used to being able to arrange, cancel or rearrange meetings just by typing a few words into my phone, that I can no longer remember what it was like to sit and wait for something to happen. I used to be so aghast when my husband (who was one of the first to embrace mobile technology) would check his texts and emails several times in a day. Back then (and it wasn’t so long ago) I could not understand what could possibly be so urgent that he needed to check his phone at every opportunity. And heaven help him if he thought he saw an opportunity while mid-conversation with me! ‘Why can’t it wait?’ I used to ask.
But now, I have fallen into the same trap. Since starting work on Rainbow Daisy (and inheriting Mr Daisy’s old iphone), I fill every spare moment with checking emails, facebook, texts. It’s often the first thing I do when I wake up, and the last thing I do when I go to bed. When pushing Daisy Junior’s pushchair into town, I’m usually texting. I check my emails while I cook his tea. When sitting at my desk making jewellery, I invariably have my laptop on next to me. It is a real shock for me to realise that I have become what I used to moan about. How did I get brainwashed into thinking that everything would fall apart if I didn’t respond to an email instantly? ….
After all, where is the space for thought if we fill up our every spare moment with other people’s thoughts and requests? Where is the time for contemplation? For inspiration? I totally identified with what Jonathan calls the Zeigarnik Effect, which describes how our minds become ‘full-up’ with all these open-ended conversations and ideas that are floating around on email and text and tweets. I am really feeling like I’ve got way, way too many ‘balls in the air’ at the moment and just cannot find time or space to think things through clearly, and this idea goes some way to explain what the problem is!I’ve decided I need to ban the phone from the bedroom, at least, And maybe there needs to be certain times during the day or week when it is banished too. I’m going to work on it. I am so keen to keep in touch with customers and potential customers, and provide a great service, that I am squashing the creativity that got me to this position in the first place. I’m sharing this with you in case you are reading this when you should be paying attention to what’s going on in your world right now…. I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs a reality check 🙂
Anyway – as a reminder of why I did the Race for Life in the first place – and to thank everyone who sponsored me – here’s a pic of my back sign!
p.s. yes, I get the irony that this pic is taken on Mr Daisy’s iphone….
p.p.s. he took one of my face – but it’s the same colour as the back sign – am not showing you that one!