In an ideal world, if the Big U had plans for me to be offline for three days then I’d like to get a memo in advance. It would say:
We are taking you offline for three days. You will first notice this just seconds before you plan to stream the BAFTAs in bed on Sunday night. Monday will be fine, you hadn’t planned to work that day anyway, part of your recovery plan from your brother’s 60th birthday party. But by Tuesday you will start to be inconvenienced and have no choice but to pass this on to your clients and colleagues.
But, forewarned is forearmed, so here’s your statutory notice. Enjoy!
Of course, it didn’t happen like that. In the event, I was obliged to go all Jane Austen!
I couldn’t work out why I was struggling to stream the BAFTAs. I assumed there was something wrong with my equipment, laptop, ipad etc., and spent most of the two hours’ transmission time trying to work out what could possibly be wrong. Not very restful so far.
Monday wasn’t really a problem as I’d planned to be off work for most of the day anyway and what wasn’t “off work” involved emails and oddly they were still working where nothing else was. I couldn’t do Skype for my 1-2-1 client calls, or Webex for my group calls, or Zoom for the podcast and so had no choice but to re-schedule all of those.
No internet, no work, no clients, no group calls, no podcast, no TV, no webinars, no nothing. The Dark Ages of rest, reading and relating to human beings face to face. Eek!
My Tuesday 1-2-1 client is relatively new and she doesn’t yet know that reliability is my middle name and flexibility very definitely NOT. In the end, we cancelled our call at 2 p.m.
Five members of Small Business Big Magic had been planning to call into my group call at 11 a.m. and we couldn’t do that. VERY frustrating, especially for a call which was going to be relatively busy. Sod’s law. I tried various other things like PM via Facebook and Skype but they were no substitute or I didn’t have enough bandwidth for them.
The frustration levels were quite high by now. So I went for a drive in the sunshine and that didn’t go to plan either but it was still quite nice. And diverting.
Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan. Sometimes it goes better than your plan, sometimes it’s just annoying but when this happens I soon attempt to get quite philosophical. I planned to take a day off, the Big U gave me two and made sure I wouldn’t be able to find any workable workarounds, that the two days would be unplanned, compulsory and frustrating.
Although we were back up to speed on Wednesday, by then I couldn’t re-schedule the podcast or indeed raise my podcast partner so I just ended up abandoning that day too. Three days now!
What I can do when I am offline is fall back on what I call my Jane Austen drawing room skills, which my Sixties/Seventies private school education so marvellously equipped me for… a life in genteel Regency England in the early 1800s! Reading. Handwriting a letter. Taking a turn about the garden. A little light needlework.
In truth it was mainly spent sighing like a teenager without wifi, lying on my bed and “resting”, reading (thank God from my fully charged Kindle), watching and listening to the rain and wondering what the heck this was all about.
I am none the wiser.
What do you do when life takes you offline? I’d love to hear. What emotions do you put yourself through, or are you glad to have any excuse to skive off? Can you go with the flow?