This conversation was from a week ago with our dear Charlie. He got a new laptop. Anything new is extremely exciting and he was no different after receiving the laptop. I was asking some casual questions about display, battery etc, when he mentioned he wants to partition the drive. He wanted to call someone so that the drives could be partitioned because he wasn’t sure how to do that. I asked him why he wants to partition because after SSD (Solid State Drive), there is almost no clear advantage of partitioning the drive unless one needs dual boot or really want the data from a particular drive to be backed up. I explained him it wasn’t necessary at all. He snapped back with a question, “Do you partition your laptop drive?”. There was an instant smile on my face. I don’t and I told him the same. That’s when he was really convinced.
Partitioning itself is a beautiful concept, not for laptops alone but for human beings too. There is a term for it, compartmentalisation. Couple of years ago, someone mentioned to me that they compartmentalise their life. It did not occur to me immediately, but, a while later I realised I compartmentalise too. In fact, all of us compartmentalise life without paying much attention to it. We separate professional life vs personal, best friends vs close friends and many more.
Our brain is wired in this way to protect us, to allow us to function better in life. The ability to compartmentalize means we can create psychic barriers to protect from the stress of conflicting thoughts. It’s a natural way to play offense. There is a WhatsApp joke that circulated sometime back – An old man refers to his wife always as Darling, Baby etc. When other people express they admire how much the old man loves his wife, he says he actually forgot what his wife’s name is. I have seen many boys not refer to girls with their names. I always wondered if all they wanted was to not mix-up names. Lol.. It is still unanswered, if anyone of you knows the answer, please enlighten me.
A simple rule of thumb that I follow in life, is to identify the tasks I need to perform and the tasks that make me happy. For example, doing the dishes is my responsibility. However, that does not essentially make me happy. On the other hand, getting a new plant or gardening does make me happy but not an essential task. In life, it is important to draw that line to set aside time. The hardest part of course, is not to let things from these compartments overwhelm you until you are ready to process them together or one along with other. The easy part are the common ones. For example, my career brings me happiness and also is essential for my survival. So, in reality, the only thing I need to keep track of the time I am spending on my career so that I don’t disturb other aspects.
Of late, due to work from home, many people started to feel that there is no difference between work-life and professional life. Some of my colleagues said that they continue to think about work all the time. A simple hack that might help is to have dedicated spot in your house to work that is not the same place as you sleep. Keep work related items out of your sight if you are really struggling. We have to compartmentalize the various goings on of our own life experience to keep them from disturbing other parts of our life.
There is also an unhealthy compartmentalisation that some do without realising – Locking their emotions while grieving or trying to cope up with some loss. This form of compartmentalisation leads to distress and often leads to depression. Processing all of it by yourself could be more than you can handle and it is always better to open up to a friend or well-wisher. What kind of compartmentalisation could help here, is to not let this pain bleed to other areas of life.
After all this, some day we are going to run out of memory. So, just let go of !!!
Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism employed to avoid cognitive dissonance. – Author: Zack Love