Keeping options open

July 15, 2014

After yesterday's celebrations we got home in the early evening.  I really should have spent the evening working and packing, but the knowledge that I was about to have three weeks with only one or possibly two days of exercise was weighing on me.  So I quickly changed and took the bike out for a spin.   I have a starting point from home that heads up to near Wooton Rivers and then speeds down the Vale of Pewsey.  It then has 30, 40 and 50 km options but with dusk rapidly approaching I had to take the shorter of those.   There is a utility to this type of option, where you hold commitment progressively at different stages. 

I wish I could have done the same with the trip itself, but while I knew I had to pack for Singapore, I also had to handle an Australia and (more severe) New Zealand winter.  That always adds to the problem of what to take,   In addition I have a side trip to Colombia but do not know how many days in Bogota and how many in Medellín and there is a big difference in temperature.  My normal time between guest laundry algorithm was not really working either so other than packing layers and using the largest bag I have I could do little.  If only I had had more time I could have packed less volume, rather like letters, articles and software code!

Even using a large bag and taking the shorter option on the evening bike read still left me short of time.  I made the car park on what I thought was a JIT basis only to discover that the direct bus to Terminal 3 had been cancelled and I know had to get to Terminal 5 then catch the train and all in all it did not look good,  However the ghost of Uncle David smiled on me and I got to the platform two minutes before the train left which meant I made check in with five minutes to spare.  With the next train five-teen minutes later life would have been more traumatic had it not been for that.  I even managed ten minutes in the lounge downloading stuff from the iPlayer, although I pushed my luck a bit there.

I've found with long flights that planning is not a good idea, the idea is to have work that you can do on the computer, on the iPad or just reading then see how things work out .  I normally spend the period from take off to the arrival of the first meal to catch up on the various journals and magazines that now sit on my iPad.  I used to take the physical copies and leave them on planes as I finished them  In that respect I used to like leaving copies of the New Statesman in the US but that pleasure is now denied me.  Then after the meal there are choices betweens sleep and work.   These days my view is very simple, there is no point in trying to stay awake if you feel sleepy unless you have an overwhelming need to complete work.  On one Singapore trip where the need to watch Wales defeat England in Cardiff had resulted in me taking the over night flight spending the whole 12 hours working on a presentation and delivering it two hours after I landed.  That can be a lot of fun but the body punishes you later.

On this occasion I choose to sleep until I woke up (somewhere over India) and then proceed to clear email.  That also works on adjusting to time zone and to be honest I influenced the choice by have two G&Ts as well as wine ….


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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

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