How do you feel about labour saving devices? Are they working for you?
Do you feel that you have more free time now that we have all these wonderful machines to do things for us? Because I definitely don’t. A lot of the time I feel overwhelmed by all the things there are to do and all the pulls I have on my time. I think of the mangle in my grandmother’s kitchen, my great-grandmother’s carpet beater that she took outside to whack the rugs that were placed over the washing line to move the dust and dirt. How they must have greeted an electric washing machine and a vacuum cleaner with anticipation. How they must have approved of these time-freeing inventions.
And where has it got us? Have we all got more time?
I wonder what I am doing wrong. I never seem to have enough hours to do all the things I want to do – which reminds me of the Jim Croce song Time in a Bottle. I come to work at my desk and when I need a break I might get up and load the washing machine, at another hang out the washing, and on another break I will bring it in again. I fit my cleaning into my breaks. I cook from fresh almost every day and the food has to be shopped for – or more time inputting data into the supermarket website. It all takes time, it always has, but I think it has taken away the pleasure. All this extra time we are given because of labour saving devices has not given us more space for pleasure. It has given us more time for work. We are constantly connected.
I don’t want to go back to washing everything by hand or beating the rugs on the line but I really do want to spend that free time doing something special. I don’t want to fill it with work and labour. We fill our free time with things and doing things. We fill idle time with reading our smartphones – and what are reading about? Someone else doing something we can’t do or that we dream of doing – one day!
I want to be more conscious of my free time from now on.
I’ve written before about how I don’t look at my phone is I’m waiting for an appointment anymore. I daydream? Remember that? The thing you got told off for at school while gazing out of the window.
I had a long car journey a few weeks ago – five hours. In that time I came up with ideas for four new short stories and a way to resolve a story I had become stuck on. I quickly made notes as the ideas came to me and then allowed myself to daydream the next one. I felt soothed and energised at the same time. I was allowing myself the space for ideas bubble up so that I could develop them later. I didn’t feel stressed, there was nothing to do but let go and allow myself to be a ‘passenger’.
Daydreaming has been profitable and I plan to do nothing on a more regular basis.
How do you feel about daydreaming? Does it work for you?