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GEORGE: When life derails your procrastination plans

June 26, 2018 - 12:30 PM

 


OPINION


Writing this weekly column has taught me a lot about myself. 

For the first couple of months, I had everything ready to go long before the Tuesday morning deadline. As the weeks went by I developed a routine. I would spend a couple of days at the beginning of the week selecting a topic, a couple of days researching and then start writing on Sunday evenings to meet the 9:00 am Tuesday deadline. Procrastination has tended to compress those timelines and much of the writing got pushed to Mondays as a matter of routine.

I even had a couple of columns written ahead of time, just in case I needed them. I have used up that safety buffer over the past nine months. Life happens. I resolved that I would double up this week or next week (or any week) and rebuild that buffer but procrastination, the main reason I used up those extra columns, has met that resolution and has so far prevailed. So writing the column has fallen mainly to time spent Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

On Sunday night, June 24, the North Okanagan and Shuswap were hit by a pretty violent storm. My first indication of something amiss was the horizontal rain coming through the bedroom window at 3:00 a.m. If that hadn't woken me, the sound of the power cutting in and out certainly did. My wife and I both woke up just in time to see a huge flash of red to the west of our house followed by blackness.

It turns out that the wind took down two large cottonwoods just down the road from our place. We live on a smallholding in the South Shuswap. Those two trees took down three spans of wire and cracked a pole. The school bus on Monday morning picked up the kids as usual but had to turn around and make a twenty-minute detour before proceeding with its route. Crews started working on the problem at dawn on Monday and power was finally restored at 1:45 a.m. on Tuesday.

Needless to say this disruption to my routine put my idea for this weeks column out of reach.

My research was all on my computer, as was my text editor. I attempted to use paper and pencil to get it done but it didn't feel right and without my research notes what I was writing simply wasn't working for me. I would simply have to postpone this week's column until next week. Procrastination led to routine and that routine was entirely disrupted by events.

One thing that this experience did do for me was to point out how much my daily routines rely on electricity.

Living rural we rely on our well pump for water, so right away a power outage eliminates doing dishes, laundry, bathing, and even flushing the toilet. Cooking without power becomes a challenge at this time of year as lighting the woodstove to heat food simply isn't practical. Warming water on the barbeque to make coffee would work better if it wasn't raining and windy. Warm coffee is better than no coffee though.

So lesson learned.

Allowing procrastination to drive routine is all fine and dandy as long as events don't derail that routine. But life, apparently, doesn't work like that. My resolve to get ahead and to not procrastinate has received a boost and now that the power is back on I can get to work on those columns. And I will, I promise. Right after I get caught up on the dishes and the laundry.

Maybe tomorrow.

— Chris George believes one measure of a just society is found in how well it balances fiscally conservative economics with social responsibility and environmental soundness in all of its living arrangements.


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