I had plenty of time. Surely I could just pop downstairs (wouldn’t it be cool if I could ‘pop’ ala  I Dream of Jeannie or Bewitched?) , wake up my computer and log on, then click the link on today’s To Do list. After that it was simply a matter of filling out a short online form and submitting it. How long could that possibly take? A minute and a half, tops, right?

Except our wireless wasn’t connecting. No worries. I can handle this. I select ‘detect and repair’ from the network flyout menu and… why isn’t the network listed? Botheration. Some update probably shut it or something. I’ll have to reboot.

No worries. I still have time. Less time than before, but still enough for this less than 2 minute task.

Cold rebooting works best –well, it’s usually overkill (using a field cannon to get a field mouse level of overkill), but if a Windows restart fails to resolve the issue (which we all know is probably all it needs but just in case). a cold boot-up (shutting all the way down and waiting a few seconds) generally does.

Hmmm…

Ummm….no network found.

I trudge upstairs and inform tech support that I have no wireless access.

Tech support sighs, looks up at the router software tab and begins the process of rebooting the wireless server. The process will reset my IP address. I will need to ‘detect and repair’ my wireless service. I may also need to reboot.

Now I have much less of an abundance of time than I had when I began this 90-second quick task. At this point stubbornness takes over.

Back to the login screen — oops — typo — retype login. Waiting for the boot-up process seems to take longer and longer as the second hand sweeps faster and faster, almost spinning around the dial on my analog wrist watch.

.Now I realize that I won’t be early. To even be on time I will need clear traffic , a close parking spot, and my car keys in hand (where did they run off to this time?).

With the whirling dervish on the monitor still indicated that more absolutely necessary programs and code were in progress and not, alas, done. Any requests I made to the CPU at this point would either be ignored or queued for after the essential (hah!) setup programs completed. 

Bleah!

I left  the computer in this state, knowing that it would wait for my return far more patiently that I waited for it. 

So many of my projects get derailed like that. I may start out with a clear focus, a quick action plan with a well-defined goal and a familiar process to follow, but then…
There’s nothing to write on.
The pen has no ink.
The keys aren’t on their peg.
The battery is dead.
The phone rings.
The wireless is down.
The store is closed.
I forgot to bring the pattern.
The site won’t remember me or my password.
I have the wrong size needles with me.

Friend Paul understands this and so does Christine. This is how he explained it to her:

Paul wrote: “where i work now, this is termed “yak shaving”. i don’t know how widespread that term is, but the idea is that one thing leads to another, like your list above, and pretty soon you find yourself out in the shed shaving a yak, wondering what that has to do with heating your cup of coffee.”

* I believe this is related the the “But First…!” syndrome. Thanks to Paul for the title of today’s post.

I finished my quick 90-second task 2 and a half hours after I initially started it, and yes, it did only take 90 seconds once I actually got to *do* it.

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