As a New Yorker, I use public transportation to get where I’m going. It’s generally fast and relatively cost effective (especially when compared to the cost of owning and maintaining a car here).
It also provides a snapshot into how human beings act. Whether as individuals or in groups, commuters here speak quite clearly–through their behavior, dress, and other means–even as they avoid eye contact. One observation I’ve made over time is this: New York City commuters carry lots of bags. Now this is unscientific, but I can say on my normal commute to and from work most passengers carry more than one with them. The vast majority of multi-bag carriers are women. Based (again) on personal observation, most carriers seem to carry one bag for personal effects, and another contains essentials for the commute, such as gym clothes or work items (e.g., laptop, paperwork).
For me, people carrying multiple bags present a challenge. They take up more room on the subway, which my main form of transportation. When you consider that close to millions of people take the subway on a daily basis, every available inch counts! In addition, I can’t help but think that lugging that much stuff around consistently will have an impact on the carrier’s health. If nothing else, it probably puts a lot of stress on one’s back, shoulders, arms, and legs. I imagine that there’s an enterprising chiropractor out there that specifically targets people impacted in this fashion. I know of one that has a sub-practice centered around clients who are in need, due to poor posture related to how they utilize their cellphones!
With all of this, I strive to carry one bag with me when I’m out and about. Sometimes this presents difficult choices, but for the most part I can successfully balance my needs with my ability. I have bags of various sizes and shapes, and I also try to take care of myself so that, in the event of having to carry a particularly heavy load, I don’t overdo it. I also try to carry items that perform multiple functions. For example, utilizing cloud based services such as Evernote, Google Drive, or Dropbox allows me to carry less paper files around. Because they able to be used across multiple devices, I can mix-and-match which ones I carry with me. Most days, this helps me to avoid carrying around my laptop, by far the biggest and heaviest of my work related devices. That being said, I’m overloaded in other ways. It doesn’t necessarily manifest itself physically, yet it still can be exhausting. My issue is communication overload. Here’s a snapshot of the various communication devices or channels I manage:
- Two smart phones (one for work, one for me)
- Several emails (roughly 1/2 dozen)
- Fax machine (don’t ask)
- Two physical work mailboxes
- Two phone landlines
- Social media outlets
There’s a multitude of methods to reach me. And while it doesn’t weigh much physically, mentally it can be a lot to manage and maintain. It demands that I check all these different methods, to insure I don’t miss anything important. From a security perspective, the different programs and electronic devices I use means multiple access codes. It’s a lot! With that, it’s time to start thinking realistically around assessing, consolidating, and/or eliminating these items from my life. Wherever possible, as Erykah Badu would say, it’s time to let it go…