SYSTEMS BLOODY SYSTEMS


Now that we’ve had our running start on the new millennium, I think I am almost ready for the nineties. Here are some of my accomplishments that prove it.

I can tell time in digital without needing to translate the numbers into real time (i.e. a dial with hands and numbers.)

The computer is no longer a mystery to me. I can churn out a piece of literary fluff such as this without wondering about the difference between a bit and a byte.

I can send this fluff to a national magazine that pays $700 per column inch, and still have it returned with a rejection letter so fast that the stamp isn’t even cancelled.

I can operate the microwave oven at work without creating an urban myth about an exploding cat or some other piece of erstwhile livestock. I’m a millennium kind of guy. I handle the information explosion by I subscribing to a variety of newspapers I don’t have time to read. They stack up, then I throw them out. This is information bulimia. (Actually this isn’t true. I give them to my sister who has two balding parrots. She spreads the papers under their perch to catch the parrot poop twice a day. She invites me to watch the spectacle, but I decline. Birds give me the creeps.)

As I was saying, I dragged myself  through the first decade of the 2000s  by learning to use the state-of-the-art technologies available to make our lives easier. I proudly call myself a High Tech Systems literate.

It’s the Low Tech System stuff that gives me trouble.

One of these is the Post-It note pads. You know the type. They’re the little yellow pads the size of four postage stamps upon which you write encyclopaedic memos then tear them off the pads. A film of glue on the back of each page sticks the memo in a noticeable location such the telephone.

The other day I came to work and the phone was so full of Post-It messages that it looked like plumage. It reminded me of my sister’s parrots. I used another phone.

Many of my friends found their lives incomplete. They sought a means of organizing time to help them meet the challenges of the new decade. They settled on a Low Tech Systems called Day Planners.

Day Planners are minor league technological items with major league prices. They are calendars that come as three- ringed binders that cost between $50 and $100, depending on their complexity. You get to purchase additional pages as the year progresses. This adds to the overall cost.

The system records what you have to do, when you’re going to do it, what you would like to do, and when you would like to do it. There are pages assigned to describing in detail, why you never got to do any of it. The reason is that you spent all your time recording details such as temperature, wind speed, and relative humidity. Such is the essence of time management.

Systems such as these bring to mind a philosophical dilemma. Is the system an aid to help you manage time, or is the system managing you?

Suppose you have an important meeting to attend at 2:00. It’s now 1:15, and you see it in your system. Flipping through the system, you find the reason for the meeting and the agenda. You phone up the weather hot line for data to add to the weather page. You can’t find your pen. The phone rings with a problem commanding your immediate attention. You handle it, and record it in your system with a paper clip dipped in your own blood.

It’s now 1:30. You check your system and find you need gas. You go to the gas station and record the purchase so you can balance your budget at a later date. You write in that later date. Still no pen. You use your dipstick.

On your way, you notice the wind direction changed. You need to record, and you find a pen lodged in the passenger seat. You are at a highway on-ramp. An elderly man in a DeSoto waits, for some reason, to join the main stream of traffic. You nudge his rear bumper. You’ve just goosed one of the Budweiser Clydesdales. When the paperwork is done, it’s 3:45.

I don’t have a solution to these not-so-High-Tech systems. I suppose they help some people manage their time, but I am not one of them. I guess I’m just not Millennium Man yet.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.

Advertisements

6 Responses to “SYSTEMS BLOODY SYSTEMS”

  1. JODY Says:

    I lauged at the “good old days of the 90’s”. The real good old days are the 50’s. I have in my closet an actual manual operated, throw the carriage return typewriter and it still works. It never goes down. It is highly unlikely to ever get struck by lightening and if the power goes out, so what? I do occassionaly have to buy a new ribbon, off the internet of course, no one makes them anymore.

  2. Marti Says:

    Great piece Mike! Glad you’re not blowing any cats up in the microwave *grin*

    Loved the “writing with a dipstick” bit. I laughed a lot while reading this, this for the chuckles!

  3. energywriter Says:

    So funny! What’s a dipstick? Just kidding.

    Years ago I took the 7 Habits… course, per my employers request. Learned some good work and planning techniques but sprained my elbow carrying the day planner. This is why I stick to the 4×6″ day planner that gives me about 1.5″ per day and a phone list.

  4. Robert Gilchrist Says:

    Mike:

    Wonderful stuff. Did you mention that when using a “dipstick” to compose there will probably be a unwanted residue which will permiate the note paper, or do you enjoy the smell of used oil on your daytimer.

    It gives the daytimer that particular fragrance, does it not.

  5. Robert Gilchrist Says:

    Mike:

    After shave is probably a more desirable smell, especially if you are wanting to make an impression with the ladies. (however depending upon present ongoing relationships, this latter course of action may prove down right dangerous.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: