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Adaptability Means Planning Ahead

Posted by on 2 December 2010

I considered writing this with my eyes closed but the pain has eased off enough that I can keep them open most of the time. The harsh firecracker of my fingertips on the soft keys of my Mac is unpleasant.

It is, once again, Headache Day.

Headache Day arrives whenever it pleases. It is a celebration, I believe, of having some large patches of skin cancer removed from my face and the subsequent reconstructive surgery. It is celebrated by laying in bed, struggling to find a position which doesn’t break my head; hot showers to temporarily ease the pain; and eventually, the doltish numb brain which results from having all synapses firing simultaneously for hours and hours.

Since HD arrives unscheduled, then steals an entire day, planning for travel and work has to accept this unwanted guest. While we could adapt on the fly, canceling client calls, pushing back deadlines, arriving late at our next destination.

Instead, we’ve planned in advance to allow room in all those things for the unexpected. Our work deadlines are loose, and we always try to finish early, meaning no last minute rush. Sue is perfectly capable of handling nearly all our client calls, and of doing the driving were I to be unconscious (though I’m truly hoping we never have a long day of travel when I feel like this, which is why we try to leave space for pushing back travel days without impacting unmovable plans.

We cannot plan for every contingency; it’s not possible. But we can certainly get over the misconception that we can plan everything and have it all work out.

Nomads are adaptable. Adaptability means planning ahead to be adaptable.

6 Responses to Adaptability Means Planning Ahead

  1. Tom Bentley

    Headache Day BAD! Go away, Headache Day! Joel, that’s crappy. And then some. Two Gongs Banging in the skull ain’t good, and I hope it passes soon. I have Backache Day on occasion, and but that’s when I beat the animals, curse the poor and relieve myself on the couch. (Well, sometimes the floor.) Feel better.

  2. Joel D Canfield

    Fortunately I’m now in the final phase, often referred to as Slow Stupid Huh?

    Not a lot of fun, but so much better than the two guys fighting with sledge hammers, lances and lasers.

  3. caitlyn

    Had a migraine day the other day. Not extreme on the headache pain like some people get. Probably could work through that pain level but the nausea made going to work impossible. After a mid-morning nap I was in the “slow stupid” phase – I prefer to call it unfocussed – until the end of the regular school day. So, I felt better just in time for twilight to begin, rush hour to make running errands by car ridiculous (if not nearly impossible), and Oprah to wave her queenly hand, beckoning me to her 4:00 p.m. side.

    Hate those missing days – but always believe I needed to give myself a day and I forgot to read the memo.

    So, read your memos, take time when you need it, and sell your first, second, third, fourth-born (whatever it takes) to prevent a recurrence. Good advice from your good friend.

  4. Joel D Canfield

    I like to take my time off on my schedule, but I’ve also accepted that if I can’t control something, I should, um, do something I can do.

  5. Dorothy Shapland

    Sorry to hear of the headache. Stay hydrated & always take care of YOU first.

  6. Joel D Canfield

    We have a firm agreement that when either of us isn’t feeling well, they shut down, knock off, and get better. Far too much at stake these days to have half the team incapacitated because one of us pushed too hard.

    This morning, I woke up an hour early. I feel great. Today’s drive will take us through one of my favorite places on earth, Oak Creek Canyon, between its Grand cousin, and Sedona, Arizona. Perhaps I’ll post pictures from a previous trip.

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