random thoughts: unlocking a habit


My laptop fell about 2 feet to the floor the other evening, and received the tiniest of dings in the corner -- so tiny, in fact, that at first I didn't understand why exactly one-half of my computer screen looked decidedly cloudy.  For a moment, actually I worried that perhaps my right eye was seeing decidedly cloudily (have I mentioned that I'm a little apprehensive about an upcoming birthday?), until Marcus pointed out the dent.  

It was a relief to learn that I wasn't actually losing my eyesight, or my mind.

Since I have some travel coming up in the next couple of weeks, and I do, after all, process photographs on the thing when I'm on the road, I concluded it was important to me to actually be able to see the photographs when I Photoshop them.  And so, I've turned my laptop in to a local repair company, hoping they'll be able to fix it.

But here's what's interesting:  in my laptop's absence, I've learned how tied to the thing I've become.  During the day, I work on my large desktop computer in my office (and indeed, all of my digital files are kept there), but at night, after dinner, I had gotten into the habit of bringing my laptop into the family room with me, while I hung out with Marcus and Alex.  The same is true on weekends.  This wouldn't be so bad if all I was just doing crossword puzzles on the thing, I suppose, but more often than not, I'd find myself answering emails and generally getting work done.

This is not good, people.

I mean, it's true that I love what I do for a living, but it can't be healthy to work literally 14- and 15-hour days, can it?  Even if I don't feel stressed or burnt-out (and I'm not saying I don't, mind you), it has to be better for me to step away from the computer and just do something else for a couple of hours, right?  And I know from experience that setting up the expectation that I answer emails no matter the hour or day is a critical and frustrating mistake.

The upside is, happily, that I haven't missed the laptop.  Instead of working or mindlessly surfing the web at nights this week, I've been journaling, or reading, or otherwise occupying myself in a non-digital way.  As a result, I find myself much calmer than usual by the time I go to bed at night, and I greet my work day far more eagerly in the morning that I had been doing.

Interesting, right?  I wonder if I'll be able to keep this good habit up after I get my laptop back.

Anyway, it's been a good lesson for me to shake up my routine a bit, and unlock myself from what was clearly a bad habit, even if it wasn't intentional.  And I'm wondering what other bad habits I've been shackled to, from which I could clearly use some freedom.

How about you?  Have you ever un-habited a bad habit, and had it stick?  How did you make it happen?  Are there any bad habits you were surprised to discover that you had?  Are there any good habits that you made happen recently?

SongMariachi by Ani DiFranco