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The Big Storm

The Big Storm

5th November 2013

Last weekend we had a ‘big storm’.  Some were very badly (and tragically) affected; others less so.  You may have been one of the latter and forgotten all about it by now.   If you saw my Twitter feed you will know that we were without power for something like 80 hours.  Yes, 80 hours.  That’s nearly four whole days without power.  So, no heat, no lights, no computer, no broadband, no voicemail.  And everything we did had to be planned as we had to find a different way to do it, and then of course it took three times as long to do!
I did a lot of ‘non-power’ stuff: hand writing articles ready to type up when the power came back; making telephone calls instead of email (luckily we have kept the old fashioned telephone handsets in a cupboard for emergencies just such as these); filing (!); clearing out old files; and planning.   Lots of planning.   But by day three we had a pristine office and were still feeling frustrated.  I was truly shocked to realise just how much we rely on electricity to get through our daily lives; work as well as home.   Power allows us to progress, not simply to stand still and maintain things.
There was some excitement in all of this though: we had the BBC local news cameras here twice!  Once in the morning of day two to gauge the impact and then again late in the evening to check on progress: fish and chips by candlelight is not as romantic as it sounds!
And then there were the automatic behaviours I found myself doing:  turning on lights when I went into a room (with a candle in my hand!); wandering into the office to check emails and being surprised to find the screen blank; looking at the voicemail counter on my phone; reaching for the kettle.   My brain could not quite get round this lack of power.  Most worrying for me, is that I found that when what I take for granted is removed, it led to a general feeling of being down in the dumps:  the less I could do because I was restricted, the less I wanted to do!  Psychologists would probably have a field day analysing me.
All this got me thinking about our usual working habits.  We take ourselves for granted and frequently work on auto-pilot, not consciously realising:
  • what we do
  • how we do it
  • why we do it
  • the skills and processes involved
  • the benefits of doing it
  • that we can often find a new, better, way to do it
  • that we can be creative in what we do
So I learned quite a bit last week about motivation, routine and change.  All of which are going to be designed into the content, exercises and learning points for my courses on these subjects.
Have a great weekend when it comes.
Des Whitehorn


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