Hump Day: Procrastination, network crashes and sympathy on Facebook

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

If the Christmas season isn’t crazy enough, it doesn’t help when things don’t work the way they should.

Surely, this is a sign of the apocalypse. Or maybe I’ve taken the Lord’s name in vain once or twice too many times or maybe it was more like a thousand times. I have a terrible habit of swearing. It’s an awful habit, I tell you!

For several months, I’ve wanted to publish a newsletter that focuses on social media and communications-related content. I would use a robust online newsletter system to which I’d subscribed. I had my mailing list. I tweaked it. People subscribed through my website. All was good.

After weeks of procrastination, I finally bit the bullet and forced myself to put out a first edition last week. Come hell or high water, that newsletter was going out! I put my nose to the grindstone and cranked out the first of many issues and sent it to my list. I was very happy with the reaction! A few people opted out, which is perfectly fine, and some e-mail addresses bounced, so I just removed them.

The newsletter system went through a major upgrade, so there were a few bugs to work out. After talking to the help desk, they gave me tips to use while they work things out. Oh, this was going to be awesome. I would have millions and millions of subscribers and make billions, maybe even trillions, of dollars.

But someone forgot to remind me that technology doesn’t always work. And being a perfectionist when it comes to these things, I care what things look like on the end when people receive the final product. This means I was spending more time than most would spend on such a venture, especially one that’s not obligatory in my business. It’s a way to connect with my network, promote some community events and hopefully inform and educate a bit.

I thought the second edition would go smoother than the first since I was more used to how things worked and the contact list was stabilizing after the first round of wrong e-mail addresses and recipients who had chosen to opt out.

So, in my infinite wisdom, when the weekend rolled around, I took it easy. I told myself I had lots of time. My plans for getting up early on Sunday morning ended up being a morning with a late start followed by hours and hours of The Sopranos reruns. I relaxed on the sofa with a dog at my feet and a twinkling Christmas tree in front of me while I watched people getting murdered in the most horrible ways in high-definition on a big-screen television. It was wonderful. I even napped a few times.

Sure, I’d have enough time to finish the newsletter. What could go wrong? Nothing, of course. Everything would be perfect. So, I procrastinated some more. I had my Christmas cards to do, too. I use an online system and am equally fussy about how those look, too. Sure, I’d get those done at the same time as the newsletter.

Now, you may be wondering when, in all that is holy, I was going to actually find time to do paid client work. Oh, don’t worry! I’d carved out a bunch of time for my clients, too. I would make them cry with joy because of my creativity. I would write documents that would make the angels sing. I would translate news releases from French to English so well that the ghost of William Shakespeare would appear to me in order to kneel and kiss my feet.

Oh, I had it all planned out, but I had it all planned out with that Sunday morning as a working morning, not being spent on the sofa watching people getting strangled, shot and beaten to death on The Sopranos.

So, on Monday, I got really working on the newsletter. Everything was going well. It was going out much later than I wanted it to, though. By now, my Sunday morning with The Sopranos wasn’t looking like the greatest idea I’d ever had.

Monday night at about 5 p.m., I was finished my newsletter. It looked beautiful. It was art, I’m telling you. Picasso would have been proud. Then, I pushed “send” and nothing happened. The screen froze. And froze some more. And some more. Then my heart skipped a beat when I discovered it wasn’t going to work.

Not a problem, I thought. I’ll just cancel that out and re-send. Unfortunately, something happened when I closed the screen and it pretty much obliterated my newsletter back to a draft that was saved several hours before when it was just a shell. I wanted to cry. I was dumbfounded, stunned and perplexed.

I lost most of my newsletter. I’d have to start again. It was 5 p.m. My Christmas cards had to go out. A column had to be written. And to add to the complications, I had a 7 a.m. meeting the next day followed by interviews and lots of other work.

I whined about it on Facebook and got some much needed sympathy. Many others have worked on documents and other things only to find everything disappear right in front of their eyes when technology doesn’t work. It’s happened to everyone at point.

This was a lesson in staying calm, which I did. But if I ever catch Tony Soprano alone in an alley, I’m going to kick him in the shins and run away screaming like a little girl. That’ll teach him for making me spend Sunday morning with his addictive show.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.