The Discipline of Switching Off

One of my biggest struggles around this time last year was to switch my laptop off at the end of the day. I was seemingly incapable of doing this.

I have a regular ritual of watching about 15 mins of TV on my laptop with my dinner. It’s among the best parts of the day and one where I love the feeling of zoning out completely. The problem was simple – I would either get back to email or begin browsing for a little while right after. It didn’t matter how tired I was – I used to lose a lot of time (accumulated, at least..) just dilly dallying this switch off moment.

Switching off was painful. Our minds don’t like switching off, closing doors or saying no. We like keeping options open for as long as possible.

It took about 8 months to re-wire my own thinking. While gratification was previously linked when I spent a few extra minutes at the computer, slowly, but surely, I found guilt taking it’s place thanks to me admonishing myself for not managing to switch off.

The results, as are often the case with anything to do with the mind, have been pretty amazing. I have a set evening routine now that involves clearing my email once I’m back from work, unplugging the lan cable/switching off my wifi, watching my 15 mins of TV and shutting down as soon as I’m done. It happens almost seamlessly.

If I were a third person observing my own life for the first time, it would be tempting to think that this is a natural process and that it’s ridiculously easy to be able to do that.

I know better now.

I’ve encountered road blocks when managing work is difficult, when the relationship with people I work with/for have been different. All those are overcome, in time.

But road blocks with managing myself – that’s the toughest battle of them all.