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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Snooze You Lose

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Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Snooze You Lose

It’s 6am, it’s dark, it’s raining and I am sitting at my desk writing this. The alarm went off at 5am. It’s got cold, so being under the doona is delightful. The rain is thundering down. There is no more delicious place to be than in my bed. So I hit snooze. I stole nine minutes from myself. Then the alarm went off again. I bargained with myself for another nine minutes. And then again the alarm throbbed to remind me that the desk was calling. I told myself I can have one more nine minute allotment. It was getting harder to stay in bed, not because I didn’t want to be there, but because the guilt wa setting in. The feeling of dread that I’d never get through my list today. I gave up my degenerate nine minutes and rolled out of bed. Thank god for tea.

Most days now I get up at 5am – I need to squeeze the juice out of my morning. I need those quiet two hours, before the day really starts, to get ahead. The quiet two hours when the only emails that bing in the inbox are from people that profess to have seen my website, and that I can do it better; had I considered a new SEO? 60 per cent off Speedo’s at Ozsale. Holiday rentals – super cheap! How to have a healthy mind and body with 3D slim. I delete these without reading. My email accounts, (and I have about five) are a constant hum in the background: Can I supply this? Did I know this? Can I go to this? Can I send through this? Can I pay this? I wonder what we did before email. Did people just stand in our doorways and shout at us? ‘You want cheaper holidays? There’s bargain airfares at lunch time. Can you be a guest on a podcast? Fill in this form. Hello! My name is Janelle, you don’t know me… ’

I remember doing typing at school. Back in the days when smart girls like me did the smart thing and trained to be secretaries. Because that was the best we could hope for: a tight skirt and a sharp pencil. I remember loading the triple carbon and paper into the barrel of the typewriter and hitting the keys. ‘Dear Sir, our goods inventory… ’ We were always writing about goods inventories or complaints about a failure to supply an order. These letters were practise for one day when they would be signed by the boss – who was, of course, a man who always seemed to have some sort of supply chain issue. At lunchtime I imagined I’d totter to the post office with the daily mail. There was no incessant pulse of requests slipping onto your electronic screen. Just polite threats issued on paper. I can’t imagine how anyone got anything done. No texting, or messaging. Just a phone, a phonebook, and a typewriter. If you wanted to troll someone you had to wait a week for a response.

I have a very bad case of busy. I like to call it ‘A Full Life’. If my life were wearing jeans, it would have a giant muffin top. To fit things in I’ve had to sacrifice stuff. The first thing to go was sleep. Those two hours I would have laid in bed? Gone. The next thing to go was exercise. I was walking every day and going to the gym. That’s probably about eight hours a week – that’s a standard work day. That’s gone too. Even the people at the gym have stopped emailing me with ‘We haven’t seen you lately’. Well maybe they have, but I’ve deleted it. I’ve also had to lower my cleaning standards. I’m living like a bloke. Yesterday I walked over a kitchen spill about eight times before cleaning it up! The hardest hit is to my family time. And my friends. The other morning I went to see a friend at 6am because that was the only space in my day! She wasn’t even awake. She was really thrilled to see me though, she was still in bed and kept saying ‘Get out’.

Someone asked me the other day if I ever felt overwhelmed. I said ‘All the time’. I think that’s the way of the world these days; ‘overwhelm’. If you have an iphone you’ll be in overwhelm for sure. The world will be shouting at you, demanding your attention and compliance, 24 hours a day. I hear the alarm going off again. That’s weird. Oh… I’m not at my desk. I’m still in bed. It’s raining. I am warm under my doona.  I wrote this in my head during my nine-minute snooze. Now that’s time management!

Maybe you don’t lose when you snooze…

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  1. I actually loved this column . Not a bit silly . We are being screamed at all the time by every platform of communication we are on and if we are engaged in the world like you are thats a lot of time they are wanting and every fucker wants you to fill in a form. Its exhausting .Corporations have pushed the admin of everything back onto the client. Just to order my childs lunch at canteen I fill out an online form and then get two emails . We all need personal assistants to get through life . Someone should start a kind of uber business for PAs

  2. I know there is artistic licence in a humourous column, but “that was the best we could hope for: a tight skirt and a sharp pencil” isn’t quite how it was back then. Plenty of girls in my year did secretarial studies at TAFE, but plenty also went on to become nurses, teachers and other professionals. Just in case any of the younger readers think Mandy grew up in the 40s!


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