After years of battling deadlines, the COVID-19 crisis has cleared my personal calendar of all deadlines except this blog posting. If you are “sheltering in place” as well you may be experiencing a strange disconnected feeling. As much as I would like to say I am making progress on my long list of deferred projects, the truth is that when nothing is urgent, nothing gets done.
Some may remember, back when the goal was to get more things done every day, being encouraged to read self help books. One of my favorites was 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey with its great “four quadrant” method of assigning priorities. I feel stuck in the “important but not urgent” square. The book grew into a cottage industry of journals, calendars, seminars, and follow-on publications. You hardly hear a thing about this topic anymore. Even before this crisis, the “self help” genre had shrunk to almost nothing. This is probably a good thing since the goal of individual super productivity was rather silly.
Many of us have been getting a crash course in online meeting technology. As discussed previously in this blog, I participated in some of the first AGMA technical committee teleconferences. With experience, online meetings can be effective but they are just not a substitute for being able to ask a colleague a question privately or for someone to sketch out a possible solution on a scrap of paper while passing your desk.
The hustle and bustle of daily life in the shop might have been tiring but it resulted in better results than working alone. When working from home, you can find yourself running into roadblocks that in “regular times” could be demolished by a shout over your cubicle wall or a quick consult on the shop floor. I frequently tout our online archive but recognize that even remembering the “keywords” can be elusive.
If you hit a dead end, why not call, text, or e-mail another gear person? They might not have the answer but they can point you in the right direction or suggest some different “keywords.” We all want to see the crisis in our rear view mirror. Until then, stay healthy and get something done!