The Power of Being Unavailable

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( — April 18, 2017) — If you ever wondered what is the most valuable asset you possess, you need to understand that it is not material. It is not your family or beloved ones either.

The most valuable asset everyone possesses, but constantly underestimates it until it is too late, is the time that is divided into two basic streams: the time for yourself, and the time for others.

The digital era of smart devices, GPS, and the Internet imprison our personal time and allow us to become available to anyone. It is easy to say that you are in control, because you can always choose to become unavailable by turning your devices off.

The truth is, however, that most of us start freaking out if our smart phone battery dies in the middle of the day, since we left the charger at home. Every time our online device beeps, alerting us that a message has arrived, we simply have to look at it because it may be something important.

In fact, most of us don’t have the power to take time for ourselves from the claws of an army of those who decided to reach us that very moment. Calls, texting, Viber, Messenger, Skype, Whatsapp, Google talk, Facebook, LinkedIn are amongst many apps that consume our time, our most valuable asset, leaving us with no time for ourselves.

The importance to overcome the urge of answering a call or replying to a message is beyond imaginable, according to all those who improved their quality of life by learning how to resist. Managers who deliberately make themselves unreachable, report an increase in productivity and their own value.

The idea is simple – what is harder to get, has greater value.

Explaining how the action of unavailability actually improved his work, ‘Management Ninja’ Craig Jarrow, author of the article on time management published in the Lifehacker, wrote that learning not to reply immediately when someone is in need made him more successful in his work.

“I can go to my own island to avoid interruptions. And I may be unreachable for some time while I am getting work done. You are welcome to join me. Just make sure you turn your phone ringer off,” Jarow wrote.

The model is applicable not only to the working environment but to relationships too. Playing hard to get is not a game, it is a strategy.

When Susan J. Elliot JD. Med. was a practicing therapist, working with women moving on from a relationship and getting ready to date again, she encouraged her clients to be a little less available.

“Okay, well why are you an always available person? Why would anyone in his or her right mind find that attractive?” Elliot wrote in an article published by Psychology Today, and she is right.

It might seem like a game, but being unavailable or unreachable just a little bit is actually a necessity for a healthier and more successful life, depending on what we chose to do with the time reclaimed. It is a step forward in regaining the control of our own lives from devices and apps.