Sometimes It’s Time To Clean The Works

Cleaning Out The Works

Cleaning Out The Works - When a perfectly Good Ink Cartridge Goes Bad!

Week in review, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

This past week was, for me, both productive and frustrating all at the same time. While I accomplished a lot of what I set out to do, by weeks end not everything on my To Do List got done.

In fact, a few of the tasks that I did complete only got done after overcoming many unexpected challenges and at a certain amount of mental anguish. Well, at least it felt that way at the time.

The picture in this post relates to one of these unexpected challenges. You see, one day I had planned on finishing a couple of survey plans, in addition to several other tasks, when my plotter acted up. With the first survey plan nearly complete, I printed a check plot. All went well. I then made some revisions and corrections, and plotted another check print. Again, all went well.

When unexpected "Stuff" happens.

With everything now up to snuff and looking good, I then went to print copies of the final and complete survey plan. All did not go well. Apparently, one of my ink cartridges went bad (Black, it turned out), so I couldn't plot the survey plan. The picture I first mentioned above results from me trying to clean the ink cartridges and isolate which one went bad (took me a while to find the bad apple and because I hadn't plotted in color recently, the color cartridges also needed to be cleaned and un-gunked).

This all took some time, and it turned out I didn't have the extra black ink cartridge that I thought I had, so more time was lost going to buy a new black ink cartridge. Frustration and pushed back schedules ruled that day. Now that the week is the week that was, and I've reviewed my task list and checked off everything that I accomplished, things don't seem so bad now. But, as with any planned schedule, you have to recognize that "stuff"' happens, like the unexpected plotter issue.

So, did I plan on being able to do too much? Do you?

It's much better to over plan, which generally promotes getting more tasks done, overall, than if you under plan. Setting your sights high often delivers better results. Every once and awhile, though, certain realities will force you to either change your plans or to better learn what your actual working capacity is. Like the plotter issue I experienced and several other roadblocks I encountered this week.

What I took away from this is this: Time to clean the works.

What does that exactly mean? For me, it means that I need to rethink what a workable schedule is and not to over schedule my days. That's not to say that I won't still aim high, because I still will. On the other hand, planning to do what is entirely too ambitious and completely out of the realm of reality, just sets you up for feeling like you failed, even if in actuality you still accomplished a whole lot.

And, literally, I needed to clean the works. Taking time for regular maintenance issues, like cleaning those color ink cartridge, needs to be scheduled for, too. Taking the time to think and proactively plan for these types of bumps in the road is a good idea, too. Like deciding to run at least one color plot a week so that he color cartridges don't get gummed up in the first place due to lack of use. Additionally, my office and workspace also got to a point where I needed to clean house, organize, and get things in order. Like organizing one place for the ink cartridges so I could easily tell that I had an extra one on hand or not.

The new week is a new opportunity to do better!

What are your tips and techniques for good scheduling, time management, organization, and handling unexpected roadblocks and delays?

Eric D. Colburn, PLS, "The Geo-Business Innovator", helps geo-professionals improve through innovative solutions, mastery of marketing and business growth strategies, and coaching/training. Eric is a successful, serial entrepreneur, podcaster, industry writer, product development consultant, and RI licensed professional land surveyor.

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