twitter, Helmut Lang and compartmentalising

So, I switched off twitterfox and immediately started to feel better/free, then I read a quick Q&A with Helmut Lang in The Sunday Times Style magazine. The following comments resonated:

  • I never settled on minimalism – that was attributed to me. I’m completely against categorisation. It doesn’t allow anyone to see or feel what they might be able to experience. It takes away the emotions.
  • I don’t separate work and life, which is a blessing. I don’t have to divide my time into something I like more and something I like less.
  • I need time to be alone. For me, a waste of time is the most productive time.


It has been said to me on many an occasion, ‘I am very good at compartmentalising‘ and I tend to reply: ‘Yeah, me too, I’m great at that’. LIE… I am rubbish at that. Everything I experience has an effect on everything else. I am hedonistic in that way. I like to indulge in experience, that sounds potentially rude/disastrous, but I don’t mean it like that. I mean that I love meeting interesting people, talking to them and indulging myself in discovering new things through them – be that worky stuff or social.

It does mean that I can be a complete bore at dinner parties (talking about work) and sometimes at work I go off on a complete tangent – because it interests me and the person I am talking to has an enthusiasm that piques something in me.

I have often felt guilty about this, seen it as a lack of discipline that I respect in others. It has not helped in my attempt to define my online ‘brand’, how I present a professional front whilst retaining the Emma bit that people invest in. But I take comfort from Helmut’s observation that by categorising everything, you take away the emotion – emotion can be good, well lack of it is very definitely bad. So, I am going to stop feeling so guilty and see what happens.

Separating work and life

This is a forever problem for me. I love my work, really love my work. I also happen to love my life – most of the time! I struggle to find the dividing line between the two. I do run my own business and my business is me – as in, I have my own consulting business (but that sounds a bit too wanky).

I happened upon my line of work by doing what I loved, explaining stuff to people in a way that they would ‘get it’ and would feel good about ‘getting it’, not stupid, but informed.

I don’t do this at home, but what I do do at home is what comes naturally to me, being a Mother of two girls aged 11 and 6. This I love, as much as I love my day job. (I know, lucky me).

So, I don’t want to stop one to be the the other and how can I? I can’t stop being Mum and it seems unnatural to me to stop being ‘work me’ when I am home being Mum.

This leads to the scary blurring of lines as explained in my latest post about twitter. And this I need to work on.

Being alone and wasting time

I have always valued being alone. As long as I can remember I have been the ‘geek girl’ the one who sits absorbed in books, ‘living in my own world’ or just alone. I love that time in my own head. Recently I have found my way back to it through running. Living life as a working Mother brings little solitude, at least little solitude without guilt! The perambulatory needs of my dog has created a wonderful opportunity for me to get at least half an hour a day to myself.

Wasting time: now this I do online. It does often seem as if I am wasting time when on here; but I never am. I am either learning or communicating – often both. And this is also important! Again there is the guilt thing. If I am on my computer, I am not doing something else that needs doing, therefore is it a waste of time?

I don’t know, I really don’t and as I write this I begin to feel the edges of guilt creeping in.

So, twitter et al

In this post I have been brutally honest. And I feel as if I am wasting your reading time because I do not yet know the answer to balancing work and life. But I do know that there are no defining lines and I am trying to find my own balance.

I do know that my use of twitter has had a detrimental effect on my own life: for example I started to text my friends and acquaintances as if they were on twitter. Passing on titbits of information that I found fascinating about my life and wanted to share – twitter stylee – regardless of their wish or need to know this information. Wrong! Sorry gang, you know who you are, and actually most of you don’t read my blog. 🙂

Somehow a line needs to be drawn, I think it is a very wobbly line, that frees up my ability to keep learning and sharing, but protects my friends from my tendency to over-communicate the stuff I am not sharing at work.

You see, it is not my professional life that I need to protect – that is enhanced by my overt nature and mind that loves to learn and thrives on other people. It is my personal life and my friends who suffer. I need to work on this.

4 responses

  1. Em – proves the insanity of how my information overload can be, not been reading much of RSS as of late and only if and when have time at the end of the week or a weekend. Only found this post from you after you linked to my blog post on information overload! I’m not spending half the day going back through past tweets these days to see what I’ve missed or not, so have probably missed your final tweets about all of this!
    Good luck, I’m still trying to find the perfect fine line of balancing/managing and keeping human at the same time. Will never get there fully. But learnt to switch off the internet when needed (was easy actually, just disabled my connection.)
    You can always join me in Info-a-holics Anonymous (no, IA doesn’t stand for Information Architecture, that’s just a guise for the outside world).
    Keep connected!

  2. Pingback: twitter update - (warning: this post makes no sense unless you understand @hubmum) « Emma Mulqueeny

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