Quarantine, day number… it doesn’t even matter now. But what matters is that we’re learning to adjust to this new way of living, and hopefully finding ways to make it a calm and positive time in isolation.
Something that I’m sure we’re all experiencing, is the pull of the computer, tablet or phone screen. We’re finding ourselves increasingly sitting in front of a screen, and although this is important to work and connect with people, it is draining something from us.
Don’t play with fire
For those who are not familiar with Ayurveda, anything that is bright or shining is related to the element of fire – or as we call it, Pitta. As my teacher Dr Robert Svoboda says, we use fire as a form of transformation, and fire has always played an important role in our society. So now, we are finding new ways to connect to some sort of fire.
When you see your screen on in a dark room, the room is lit up, which tells us that there is fire in the room. But this digital fire, as Robert explains, is a fire that is not alive. It’s a fire that is very much only two dimensional to us, while a real fire is alive and responsive and will react to whatever is put into it or how it is tended to.
Screen time is all the time
If you look at a flame, it starts from a base that is broad and then tapers up into a peak. In the same way, when we come together for some screen time (I’m sure you’re quite familiar now with Zoom, Google Hangouts or one of the many daily flames), we are going from the broad base of who we are into a quick transformation at the peak.
Everyone I have been speaking to over the last few weeks has noticed that when they’ve had to shift their ‘work time’ to ‘screen time’, instead of physically being in a room with people, they’ve come out of a full working day more exhausted than usual.
If you’re feeling like this too, you’re not alone, and there’s a reason for it. This is due to our concentration and focus on staring into the ‘fire’, instead of what we would usually have around us – like the space of an homeoffice, the openness, the clarity of air around us. We are instead fixating our eyes onto this ‘fireplace’, which means our transformation moves much quicker.
The space that we would otherwise have around us, the space we use to let our attention slip or let our mind wander in a meeting, is now being reduced and we are in a deep focus. So a lot of people who are now having to work online, are finding that they are able to create themselves and their objectives in shorter amounts of time, due to this focus.
Burning the candle at both ends
We are suddenly going from an eight hour wide focus to an eight hour narrow focus, and what we are producing is much faster. This new movement of going online is essentially showing us how we can create a better work-life balance, by doing work in a short focus time. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
This shift in focus is helping people to work more efficiently. We are learning to get more done in a shorter amount of time, because we have less distractions around us. And we can use this transformation to be wiser. I’m not the first to say it, but maybe what used to take between one to two hours for a meeting, can actually be done in just 20 minutes?
The problem with this narrow focus, is that it can be exhausting. We no longer have these organic distractions around us, that we would usually encounter in an homeoffice, university or even a cafe. Instead of continuing to fill the day with focused screen time, we should use this time to find a better balance. Now, we need to find ways to create these breaks and distractions. Look outside the window, get out of your seat and stretch, make a cup of tea, water your plants, and all the while, keep your screens away. If we don’t choose to create these ‘good distractions’, then we will become distracted in other ways, which won’t be as constructive.
Right now, we are getting to know fire in a completely different manner. But remember that fire is consuming and it needs to be tamed. So if you feel like you’re already burning out and your digital fire is taking over, you need to find ways to tame it in order to keep going.
- Read up about different working patterns. Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek explores a work life centered around happiness in the here and now, while learning how to be more productive.
- Learn some basic self massage to get your internal water going.
- Take short breaks for different types of workouts – have you tried Shaking?
- Make sure you are hydrating by having a water bottle next to you – fire loves water as a balancer.
- Take a break with us everyday at 5:00pm to #washyourhandsandmeditate