What having no electricity has taught me.

Yesterday, at about 12h20, our electricity went out. Needless to say so did out internet connection, the phones and everything else that requires electricity, barring cell-phones and lap-tops, (that is, until the batteries went flat!)

My day started out exceptionally busy and by the time that I realised it was 12h00, I had not really sat down and I could not believe that the morning was already over.

The electricity was still out by 16h00 when the Boss told us all to leave – the secretaries having left much earlier.

Driving home, I sat thinking about the few hours without electricity. It almost felt as if time had stopped or at the very least slowed down to almost not moving. I had taken lunch so the 2 and a half hours that I was at work without electricity felt like an entire day.

Why is that? Why would it feel like the whole world has come to a standstill simply because there is no electricity or internet?

Our lives have become so fast -paced. People seek information almost instantaneously. The internet, email, social media and cell – phones allow us to communicate faster and more efficiently with each other and smart phones now allow us to have access to these things immediately. Where – ever we are, regardless of what time it is or who we are with.

Our clients want answers immediately and not being at work is no longer an excuse because, hey, you can access your email from your phone.

I think that all of this has led to us simply being more busier (not necessarily more productive).  We become so dependant on these things that we cannot even contemplate the thought of not having it. We get so caught up in this that when we look again the day is over.

Well, the 2 and a half hours, may have felt like an entire day, but it was absolute bliss. I actually got more work done and I did not feel so stressed about everything that still had to get done. Nor did I worry about constant emails enquiring about this and that, reminding me to do this or that, which takes away from the time to actually get it done.

I do have access to my emails through my cell phone and tablet but I simply refuse to sync my work email to these devices. Why? It’s simple really. Work is work and home is home. I made a choice that when I leave work, then it’s over for the day. I will not have clients phone me at 22h00 at night or 05h00 on a Sunday morning, just to talk (because hey, my job description includes pastor, best friend and psychologist). Yes, that has happened! I take work home when I need to, have gotten up at 03h00 when I need to, work late when I need to, to get the work done. Certain clients, depending on the matter, will have my cell-phone number. I refuse to get caught up in this mentality that just because we are mobile and can be contacted anywhere, at any time, that you have the right to infringe on my family time to ask me a mundane question that can wait until Monday morning.  I make exceptions where need be. I will not answer your email when I am driving or in another meeting, because typing and driving is dangerous and when I am with another client, that is their time!

My conclusion yesterday was quite simple. I think that all these amenities and things that we have to make our lives better, more often take away from our quality of life.

When I left work at 16h00, I felt like I had all this extra time and I had no idea what I was going to do with it. Even the traffic was flowing!



5 thoughts on “What having no electricity has taught me.

  1. I’ve had many a day like yours; at my previous job (in an industrial area) the power was out at least once every 2 months, and even though 99% of my work was done on my pc, it was an amazing opportunity to get caught up on filing, on all of the little, nitty-gritty things that I tend to leave to sort out never…

    I also never synced my work email to my phone or tablet; my boss harassed me enough as it is via phone and I didn’t need sales reps or customers or suppliers doing the same! If it was a company phone or tablet, different story, but as they weren’t, I didn’t.

    As much as I love technology, I also like to take a break from it sometimes. Makes me appreciate the little things you know? 🙂


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