An exception to the rule
I’m generally not prone to feelings of sadness. Looking back, I realise that I have tended to stumble upon coping mechanisms at times of loss or when life gets difficult. Having someone to lean on, and someone to learn from has been a tremendous help. Daily meditation helps me look at things from a different perspective, so that the ordinary growing pains that accompany change don’t scare me like they did before. Not for long, at least.
But there’s one annual exercise that is the exception to this rule – the annual filing of our income tax returns. I usually do this during a non-teaching week, because I get really stressed with it. My husband just has to take one look at me, and he know’s that it’s ‘that’ time of the year.
This phase of sadness usually lasts four days each year. I pull out papers – not a lot – this is the easy part. Then, I bravely open my email – which is so full of spam, advertisements, and constant reminders, that I can’t find any mails I really need. And that when panic hits!
You’ll know I’m having a bad day if you see me at the local coffee shop with my never fail solution, that helps me through this stressful time each year. Chocolate cake and hot cup of chai!
SPAM – the big Why
Those of you who moved to Kharghar early might know what the postal system was like here many years ago. Things are better now, but back then, nothing worked.
We moved to Kharghar, and then moved all our stuff from physical to email. And that was the source of the problem for us. Because getting physical statements is just so much easier.
But now, almost everything is online whether we like it or not, and paperless is here to stay. But there’s an issue with spam.
The DND (Do Not Disturb) registry for cell phone numbers doesn’t seem to work, and we have to keep deleting messages just to see what we really need to. Blocking a number doesn’t work, as they just call or sms from another number.
And it’s the same with email. EVERYONE spams us! From banks, to shops and businesses that have taken our contact numbers because we need them to call us up for something. In some cases, we’ve neglected to take care to unselect the options for marketing emails, but in many cases, we are subscribed automatically. Until we unsubscribe from the email list by clicking a link in the email.
I sat down this year, with a mug of hot chocolate and actually wrote down my struggles, until I realised it’s not the tax work that’s an issue, because it’s not really that much of it to do.
The beast I need to conquer and tame is the spam in my email inbox!
I am going to fight this beast and I am going to win. And here’s my plan.
- Schedule what I have to do.
- A little at a time.
- Well in advance of the due date.
- Use a method or a tool.
I looked at what I’d written down and realised that I talk about these things during piano class, when I’m teaching my students how to practice. And trying to impress the importance of method and practise techniques upon them.
I realise that I make all the mistakes with my annual income tax exercise, that new piano students make with their piano practise.
I put things off until they’re urgent.
Then do them all together in one go.
In a desperate panic, like the erratic piano practisers who have a goal, and are worried they won’t make it on time.
My list above is quite self explanatory, except for the last. So here’s my method / tool.
- Use the email filter to sort mails automatically and send unwanted emails to a ‘See and delete’ label in my mailbox.
- Label emails, delete unwanted emails and unsubscribe from them, as I read them, rather than keep this for a later date.
- A see and delete policy with SMS messages.
A short poem titled ‘Fight this beast’
I’m going to fight this beast and I am going to WIN!
Then enjoy my chocolate cake and chai with a satisfied grin.
‘Fight this beast’ Copyright © Anita E Kohli, August 2019. All rights reserved.