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a village in the Massai Mara
on safari

Bon Journal

How to create more time

Time waits for no one. Did technology create more time for us? No, it just sped things up and raised expectations.

Time stood still for a brief moment while I was on safari in Kenya. That seemed ages ago. I had the luxury of reading a book a day in a tent in the famous Massai Mara last year.

What was so special about my three-and-a-half week vacation? I was working one day a week and everybody knew it. I told everyone that I was going away. I did not have access to the Internet. And Africa seemed too far away for anyone to attempt to get hold of me.

What's so different now? I have a mobile phone and a laptop. I answer my e-mail everyday. Nobody has to know where I am, but I will always check my e-mail and my voicemail. Since I work full-time, I'm expected to be available. And when I go on holiday, others know that I can be reached anywhere in the world.

It seems obvious therefore - to create more time for myself, I have to stop being so available. I need to slow down in answering e-mails. I need to be less responsive, less proactive, and less eager to please. I need to decrease the rate of input by decreasing the rate of output.

Was it Anwar Sadat who said "Men seek to possess what they don't have but become enslaved by the very things they acquire"? I am at that point in my life where I recognise that I've got almost everything I've wished for. And now it's time to shed and return to a more manageable state of existence.

It's time to slow down and hope that the world will stop spinning so fast.

15 November 2001 Thursday

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