Whenever I get into a spin with too many things to juggle, a catch phrase from a 1970s UK ad for Penguin biscuits (dead ringers for Aussie Tim Tams) springs to mind: “Chop, chop, busy, busy, work, work, bang, bang.” The ad featured penguins dashing around in offices and factories until they ran out of steam – the bang, bang bit – and sat down to boost their energy with an eponymous biscuit. An ad using live penguins and the same refrain was also used by British Telecom in the ‘80s.
Life in our fast-paced, globally connected world has a lot of busy, busy, work, work in it. And with social media zinging across the airwaves 24/7, it can be hard to switch off or to draw a clear boundary between work and home life. So it makes me smile that some high-flying business bods are paying vast amounts of money to stay in retreat centres around the world where they can unplug from all forms of technology and treat themselves to a Digital Detox.
What happened to self-control, simply not checking in and chilling out instead? Sometimes I do manage to switch off from the various forms of social media for a weekend, but I have to admit it’s not easy. Thanks to my lovely niece, Anna, I now have a Google Nexus – an excellent piece of equipment – but it does make a pinging sound when emails come in or other platforms and Apps update. So even if I’m exhausted and need to sit and do nothing, I respond in true Pavlovian style and jump to attention when I hear the ping.
Now talking of Pavlov brings me back to dogs! Regular readers will know that I have a 13-week-old puppy, Bertie. Well, let me share a house training story with you. Since going to puppy pre-school at the vet’s earlier this week, I’ve learnt some new tips. Forget lining the floor with newspaper; that just encourages him to see the place as his personal potty. And I’ve stopped mopping the floor with scented or ammonia-based detergents that smell yummy to Berts and encourage him to re-mark the spot. But the biggest change is that I’m now taking him out in the small hours to avoid a flooded floor in the morning. As it happens I tend to wake in the night anyway, so nocturnal trips to the garden are not as disruptive as they sound.
However, last night at 3 a.m. as Bertie mucked about – is this playtime Mum? – in the flower bed, I found myself saying – “Come on Bertie! Chop, chop, busy, busy…”