WE seem to have acquired the notion that we must be connected, plugged-in, and on-line at all times, but that is not necessarily a good thing. Do you interrupt your tasks to respond immediately to the arrival of new messages, or do you schedule time to respond to any waiting messages? While there might be something exciting about responding to each new message immediately, there is also a down side. If you are realistic or analytical, you may realise that the constant interruption and distraction may reduce your productivity. Of course, people whose jobs depend on the real time interaction with news and messages should not change their ways of working. Equally, when in the middle of an electronic conversation, then you should continue until the conversation is over.
What about the rest of us who are not journalists, firefighters, or emergency operators, and who do not need to respond to real-time news and messages? Although it is difficult to unplug and disconnect from the distraction of other messages, sometime we just need to unplug and focus on a specific task. That is not easy to accomplish. I should know, because I have already responded to several messages since I started writing this very article.
Some time ago, a colleague described her experience of getting trapped with another civil servant in a faulty elevator. It took about half an hour for the fault to be fixed, and for her piece of mind to be restored. Her trapped colleague was mostly calm and matter-of-fact. He sat down cross-legged on the floor, in his suit, took out some papers, and started reading. I was very impressed when she recounted that story, it seemed to be a vindication of the spirit of our civil servants. The moral of that story, was we can survive, like we once did, without a real time connection from moment to moment, or from floor to floor.
Here are some tips for coping with potential disconnected operation:
* To maintain power, invest in a UPS or backup generator for your business;
* Water storage will let you cope with a break in the water supply;
* Amateur radio (HAM) communication works without telephone or internet supply;
* When in a rush, avoid the elevator, and use the stairs!
After reading this article, I hope that you may view an outage differently. The supply will eventually be restored, but in many ways, what is even more important is how prepared we are to deal with disconnected operation.
You may share your views and contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The VOICE.
About the Author
Dr. Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. He builds capacity and advises on data management, systems analysis, and system development.