Has your computer ever stopped working? Perhaps it completely froze up after you tried to download something, or the timer kept spinning when you attempted to install a new operating system? Were there times when you couldn’t fix the problem? Did you have the urge to take the whole beautiful machine and just throw it on the floor?
Last week I was working at an event in New Orleans where all technology kept breaking down. We had an Apple TV, various iPads, spotty wifi, scanners, lots of sound equipment, HDMI cables, bluetooth, and more all used in our multiple presentations throughout the day. Various times, after troubleshooting a problem for awhile ourselves, we’d break down and have a tech person come over and look at things. More often than not, the solution ended up being:
1. Hold down button to force close device.
2. Count to ten.
3. Push button again to turn on device.
That was it. Then it would be smooth sailing once again. I’d say about 70% of the time, that was all it took. After catching on to this deceptively simple trick, I was troubleshooting issues like a pro, and we had a lot less need for tech support. Strangely enough, people kept commenting on how tech savvy I was, even when I explained the solution to them. 70% of the time, it’s such a simple answer!!
When I got back to New York after the event two days ago, I was exhausted. However, I went to bed really late and didn’t get enough sleep, so I was even more tired yesterday. Still, I put some major items on my to do list for the day. Since I finally had a day off, I was going to attack the list, which included ‘write 3 articles, meditate, switch summer/winter clothes, clean out closet, go for 7 mile run, cook lunches for the week, unpack suitcases and do laundry, clean out email inbox, return all emails. These items seemed pretty basic to me, and I was sure I could get them done in a day. But instead of doing any of them, I forced myself out of bed and wandered my apartment like a maniac, sitting down to meditate and then getting up immediately. I turning on the stove and then turned it off. Sat down, got up, opened the laptop, closed it again. Turned on the shower faucet, turned it off. I couldn’t concentrate. I felt jittery and anxious. An hour or two went by and nothing got accomplished. I berated myself for wasting precious time and made myself even more anxious.
Then I remembered all the ‘broken’ technology this weekend. I felt broken.
And then I thought about my solution. It had worked 70% of the time before: Turn it off. Wait. Turn it back on.
I scrapped my to do list. I lay in bed. I stared at the wall.
Then I opened to a blank page and wrote:
3. Take care of self.
4. Enjoy day.
I stared at the paper. “I can do this.” It was actually still difficult. I found it hard to move, but eventually I dragged myself into the shower.
With that simple action, I started to move forward, and afterwards I turned on my meditation music and stayed seated. When I finished, I stared at the ceiling again for awhile. Then I watched a show on Netflix. Then I went and met a friend for dinner. I listened to podcasts on the subway. My shoulders slowly unclenched. Then I slept for almost 12 hours last night… I must’ve been pretty tired.
Today I feel slightly better than yesterday, although I’m still prioritizing a careful need for rest. And for time.
Sometimes solutions are as simple as turning off and turning back on again. Meanwhile, let yourself enjoy the off moments in between. Sometimes you just need to restart. Try it for yourself- it seems to work 70 percent of the time.