Tuesday, 8 April 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Tell us your tried and true techniques for focusing when that deadline looms and you need to get work done. In other words, how do you avoid wasted days and wasted nights?

London Underground

Waiting with my friend at a London Underground Station late in the evening for the next train, was not really a waste of time. I had been away from London for so many years, it was interesting to watch the movements of other waiting passengers and the illuminated notice boards. The first train that arrived was not the one I was waiting for. The second and third trains were also not mine and half an hour later my train arrived. I decided things had not changed very much on the London Underground, they still did not deliver the trains that people were waiting for. I noticed the artistic decorations supporting the ceiling and how everything was surprisingly clean. In the olden days everyone was smoking and the floor was strewn with cigarette ends and ash. Since it was discovered that smoking damages your health and a station caught fire by a burning cigarette end that landed on rubbish that had accumulated over the years at Kings Cross Station, smoking was banned on trains and platforms and so everything is now clean and dirt free. Looks good, but does not have the same atmosphere I knew many years ago.

I do not waste nights or days and never have. When I was a working woman, my job seemed to revolve on “just on time”. Deliveries were important in all corners of the world and had to be planned. You could not send the goods when you felt like it. Sending something to Dnepropetrovsk was not easy even if you could pronounce it. Finding a flight for the goods and making sure that the bill would be paid by the customer were things to be organised and doing it at the last minute would not be a good idea. As this place lays in the Ukraine, it might even be today that it would be diverted to Russia as no-one is quite sure where the Ukraine now belongs – ask Mr. Putin.

One of the problems of working in export was that countries changed daily. Send something to Iran and hope that you find a flight, as you are only allowed to use Iran Air, everything being done by Letter of Credit. Meticulous planning was necessary. These are just a couple of examples from my working days. Eventually the whole concept changed slowly but surely to next day delivery and you definitely did not waste time. An order received in the morning was processed during the day, packed, invoiced and shipping documents established. The goods were picked up in the late afternoon, flown overnight or transported by truck and the customer opened his parcel the next morning somewhere in the middle of Europe. Fantastic the modern world, but the fact that the export clerk’s hair became greyer with every consignment, her nerves became frayed with every little step that did not move as it should were not important. That the export clerk eventually disappeared from her desk for half a year, was taking happy pills to help calm her nerves and for a time could not bear to be amongst crowds or near any stress occasions, was not important. The export clerk had a burn out. There were even fellow workers that thought this was all a show, did not believe that a person could burn out. The job was being done, no days or nights being wasted.

Looking back on all this I must say I am glad I have it all behind me. It was not human and not healthy, so good luck to the person that followed me in the job. I believe she is still alive, but she was younger than I was.

Now I am a golden oldie and no longer need to join in this rat race, but I do it all the same. I cannot waste time; it is precious and cannot be replaced. However, I now adapt. I am not wasting time when I take a golden oldie sleep after lunch, just refuelling my batteries. I am not wasting time when I read a book, but feeding the little grey cells in my brain (yes, I have one). I am not wasting time when partake in housewife challenges, I even enjoy my housewife chores today. I have no boss, no-one to tell me what to do and when to do it and I have a reliable assistant (Mr. Swiss?), so what could possibly go wrong.

If I have a deadline I make it myself. There is one small exception, the Swiss State still wants the tax forms duly filled out once a year, but I am working on that one. This year Mr. Swiss showed me half of it, and I hope that next year I will learn the other half.

Of course, in this attempt not to waste time I fit in a daily prompt. Today I was away for part of the afternoon, Tai Chi with my other golden oldie colleagues. I arrived home worn out refreshed from the exercises, pounced on my computer and wasted no time in sending the electric impulses through the central processing unit. I had a very fruitful and rewarding day, no waste of time here.

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  1. In my job, deadlines can often be same day or next day, so I'm used to being under pressure. Outside of work I try to avoid deadlines where I can, although sometimes they can be unavoidable, like paying my 6 monthly road-tax on time!!

    1. I also had a stress job. Exporting goods had to be done according to deadlines, beginning in the factory making sure the tools were produced on time, getting it all packed and going though the export details which varied from land to land. If it was an L/C you had to comply with the details to get the money. I had a lot of stress and did the job 30 years, but eventually I had a burn out. That was not fun, and in a way I was glad to be retired two years too early. My company even paid me a full wage for the two years I was no longer working, They treated me fair.