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Switch Off by Angela Lockwood

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Chapter 6 Flicking the switch

In a world where we are constantly ‘on', being able to switch off can feel like a luxury or even an unrealistic dream. How in the world can we disconnect when we have so much to do and so little time in which to do it?

Being able to move between on and off, to transition between work mode and non-work mode, is a constant challenge for many of us. Let's be clear, though: it is not always good to switch off. A surgeon can't take time out in the middle of a delicate operation; a football player can't switch off while lining up for what might be the winning kick; a pilot can't switch off while in the middle of landing a plane. Each of them needs to be fully focused and performing at their best at such times.

There are times when we all need to be at our most focused and alert. When delivering a presentation to the executive, or listening to a client in a counselling session, or supporting a patient during their first walk after an accident, we need to be fully present and engaged. It is through being ‘on' that we can direct our attention to what is important in that moment. We effectively minimise the unnecessary noise that surrounds us and adjust our behaviour to what the current situation requires.

At other times it is fine to switch off, as when reading a book, or walking along the beach. But being constantly switched off is not good either, nor is it possible in our demand-driven, fast-paced world. We have things to do and we have people who need ...

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