Emergencies abound. But, they don’t always mean you have to lose personal productivity. With some contingency productivity planning, you can stay productive even when things break, when technology fails us, and when people snap!
Also, this was recorded a while back and since then, we’re glad to note that Francis has since upgraded successfully and happily to Windows 10. 🤓
(If you’re reading this in a podcast directory/app, please visit https://productivitycast.net/082 for clickable links and the full show notes and transcript of this cast.)
Enjoy! Give us feedback! And, thanks for listening!
If you’d like to continue discussing contingency productivity planning from this episode, please click here to leave a comment down below (this jumps you to the bottom of the post).
In this Cast | Contingency Productivity Planning
Resources we mention, including links to them, will be provided here. Please listen to the episode for context.
Francis Wade had Ray Sidney-Smith on his podcast to discuss backup systems:
- Ep 60 Creating a Storage Decision Tool w/Ray Sidney-Smith p1
- Ep 61 Creating a Storage Decision Tool p2 w/Ray Sidney-Smith
- Ep 62 Creating a Storage Decision Tool p3 w/Ray Sidney-Smith
- Try the Storage Decision Tool here
Raw Text Transcript | Contingency Productivity Planning
Raw, unedited and machine-produced text transcript so there may be substantial errors, but you can search for specific points in the episode to jump to, or to reference back to at a later date and time, by keywords or key phrases. The time coding is mm:ss (e.g., 0:04 starts at 4 seconds into the cast’s audio).Read More
Voiceover Artist 0:00
Are you ready to manage your work and personal world better to live a fulfilling productive life, then you’ve come to the right place productivity cast, the weekly show about all things productivity. Here, your host Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:17
And Welcome back, everybody to productivity cast, the weekly show about all things personal productivity, I’m Ray Sidney Smith.
Augusto Pinaud 0:20
I am Augusto Pinaud.
Francis Wade 0:22
I’m Francis Wade.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:24
and Welcome, gentlemen, welcome to our listeners. Welcome to you all listening. And what we’re going to do today is we’re going to talk about backup plans, that is contingency planning for greater productivity. We all come into contact with situations where stuff just goes south. And we need to be able to be prepared. We need to be flexible and adaptive. We need to be dynamic in the circumstances to be able to recover from those situations. And so today we’re going to talk about three umbrella areas. Pretty much when things break when technology goes wrong. And of course, when people say The app. And so those will be what we talked about today in terms of what happens when those three areas of our worlds melt down. And we have to still be productive, we still have to get things done even when the problems arise. So let’s start off with the notion of when things break, and ugly. So do you want to start us off with a personal example
Augusto Pinaud 1:27
to kind of start with a personal example as he wake up this morning, grab his glasses out of his nightstand and end up with half of the glasses on the hand, the legs, one of the legs is broke. So traveling this week and I have all these PC things and it throws your morning off when you now need to add something that you know is time consuming. It’s not as simple as say, Okay, well I need to replace it is I need to go stop on a particular place that only open on a certain time so it throw a big wrench on your planning. And like that many of the things many of these on expected failures and some of them you can plan the contingency I mean I went open the drawer on my nightstand and pull an old set of glasses and I have glasses otherwise I will not be able to see anything okay but but he’s still a problem that now needs to be turned into a project that we need to look for next actions and everything else. So what do you do well, those things come in you’re already complicated life
Francis Wade 2:29
number conscious of this. The whole business of having backups because when I I, a migrated to Jamaica from living in the US, it was it was like moving from the land of reliable everything to the land of To a land of random, random everything random everything else. It was it was a culture shock to go from being able to live a very ordered, reliable, trusted, in some ways boring life in which everything was extremely predictable. And things were easy as a result, to move to a country where, where every day is a breakdown of some new concoction that you sort of have to navigate. And it was it was it was very difficult at first it’s still it’s still extremely challenging because he when the when the things that you can rely on, develop and become new and all of a sudden intrude into your world, it’s it still takes the same level of ingenuity and effort. Like for example, just in the last year or so by cell phone services basically stopped working. Part of it is that I live up in the hills but something has changed in the networks here in Jamaica, the two major cell phone providers and the service that they provide has deteriorated to the point where Half of the time, it’s impossible to have a phone call. And I’ve basically stopped receiving phone calls because people call me and all they get is voicemail. So I’ve had to adjust and readjust and use FaceTime and hat and Google Hangouts and, and telegram and Skype and WhatsApp is of no help. Unfortunately, it’s very popular. But it’s so popular that the word is that the telephone companies are throttling it, because they’re losing too much revenue. But the other ones all work somewhat. So this is required. And this is just in the last year. It’s just an example of what the kind of thing that when there’s no copy of the source code create one,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 4:45
you bring up a great point, which is that when when things break, like your cellular network, telephone network generally, then you need to make sure that you’re aware of some some pieces of the puzzle. One is that it can break almost everything in your world can break I have a microphone that I’m speaking into right now and we’ll get to technology stuff soon. But you know the the microphone arm could break. It’s there’s springs and joints and I’m use it every day. And it could just break. And what happens in those cases where there is a breakage and you need to now recover from that and still move on. Now my contingency plan is understanding what the scenario is. Right? So what are the various ways in which things could break and knowing what are the ways in which the contingency plan kicks into place? Right? So there’s a scenario there’s a cyber attack you you then think of Okay, what are the scenarios within which there could be a probability of some impact on your ability to continue to have continuity in this case for me, I always think of business continuity, but you were talking about your productivity system. So your productivity continuity then becomes a What’s the probability of an impact? And those are the things that we pay attention to. So what could break in your world? And what would trigger you to know that there is a break. And so, for example, if your car’s engine light comes on, that’s a trigger, because it’s at least warning you. And you then have the opportunity to do that. If you are writing with your pen, and all of a sudden the pen starts to and it’s your only pen, you know, you have on an off site meeting, and it starts to you know, give not have enough ink in it, right? You know, you’re like, Wait a second, why is this not? The why isn’t the ink not flowing properly? That’s a warning, that’s a trigger. And then you have to figure out how you respond to the whole scenario. And so in the pen example, I always carry extra pens. I actually carry way too many pens on me at all times. And this is actually two problems and one, the first problem is that my pen could run out of ink I traditionally write with fountain pens, and I just like having a nice, you know, everyday nothing fancy fountain pen, but I tend to feel like it slows me down enough to think more thoughtfully about what I’m writing, especially when I’m taking notes by hand on like physical agendas that might be given to me at meetings. The other is I’ve been forced to use the the the friction pens that go with the the everlast, the rocket book everlast notebooks that I use for capturing my own internal notes when I’m meeting one to one with clients. And so that notebook uses the the gel ink pen that comes with the friction, you know, inside the friction pen. And so I have those two so I already carry two pens for when I’m capable of writing on my own or when I’m taking specific notes, but I want to use some automation through everlast notebook and Evernote and any other automation that’s going to then get triggered beyond that. Automatically sending it to to whomever I need to. Well, the problem is that I frequently go to meetings and other people don’t have pen and paper. And so I actually carry extra pen and paper for those people. Because frequently, I’m delegating or making recommendations of projects and actions to those people. And I want to make sure that they capture them. Because I can’t depend upon others to have great productivity systems. And that by itself is a contingency plan. My contingency plan is that no matter what other tools people have, or don’t have, or systems they have or don’t have, I want to be there to at least help them say, Okay, well, here is a half sheet of paper and here goes a pen capture and not rudely. You know, I’m trying to be empowering. I’m not trying to be condescending or controlling, even though I am a control freak, and admittedly so. But it really helps to be able to come into those perspectives
Francis Wade 8:59
my life in In my new life in Jamaica has something new anymore 15 years but I have developed a ethos that I never had before, which is that I keep things as simple as possible. What I mean simple, I mean, like, for example, I’m a I’m a cyclist, as you probably know, probably recall from prior episodes, and yesterday, we did a 90 something mile ride that took about eight hours long. So there are choices that you have to make when you do a long ride like the one I did, about the kind of equipment, food nutrition equipment, the kind of choices you make, so that you can last basically and make it to the end. And what I’ve learned over time is the I need to make simpler choices, more mainstream choices. So for example, the derailleur, which is the gearing on my bicycle is not electric, which is the brand new fancy thing that people have. Some guys have it but if it breaks the number of people Here in Jamaica who can fix an electric gear is maybe less definitely in the single digits, maybe only one. And the first person to get it when his broke, he had to send it back to Miami to get it repaired. So there was no riding for him until it got repaired and came back. And so what I’ve learned is that when it comes to making choices, like for example, what to eat on the bag, what to drink, I need to keep the choices simple. In other words, mainstream, in other words, not stay away from being on the cutting edge of anything, because cutting edge stuff is more likely to break. And when the cutting edge stuff breaks, it’s harder to find someone to fix it. In other words, it’s not sustainable. So that ethos has sort of permeated my life. And in many ways, I am still using Windows seven, as you know, who is using Windows seven is that I tried upgrading to Windows 10. And I noticed that a bunch of stuff broke and I said oh Heck no. And I reverted back within within uno back to Windows seven. Same same philosophy, I want to stick with making choices that, that keep me in the mainstream, they’re already proven. people already know how to fix them. There’s lots of stuff on YouTube that tells you how to repair it. So I stay away from choices that are new fangled and cutting edge as a result, unless I’m testing something that is of interest, for the most part, operational daily stuff. I’ve moved away into the mainstream just to reduce the mean time between failure
Raymond Sidney-Smith 11:33
but you bring up a great point. And to kind of underscore what you’re talking about here, which is that the less moving parts the less complexity of the system, the more likely hood that there are fewer points, I’m not the likelihood. The fact is, there are fewer opportunities for something to break when you develop a system that does not have as many moving parts. And I mean this both in the abstract sense and in The physical sense. So if Agusta had a pair of glasses that was made out of all one, you know, they have those glasses, what are they called? You guys probably know this, the ones that are made out of all one sheet of metal, you know, and they just kind of like, bend it and torque it and bend it and so forth until it’s fits into a, you know, the shape of glasses. That’s one of those things where it’s like, because it has only one part. Other than the the lenses, there are a few points of breakage. And so therefore, they’re more durable glasses, for example, solid state drives versus spinning hard drives, right. And we’re going to talk about technology in a moment. And the important part is that I as quickly as possible transition to solid state drives as I could in all of our backup systems at the office and at home. And the reason for that was because less parts to break. You know, spinning hard drives have a lot of ways in which they can fail. They’re all pretty reliable. From all the major companies nowadays, but why why risk it. And so solid state drives have fewer moving parts, therefore higher likelihood of working for a longer period of time. And as Francis said, then it’s a an increased meantime before failure. And just for those who don’t know what that means, every product that you own, in the world that has been manufactured, has what’s called an mtbf. And mean time before failure. That is the average time mean, right mean modal, average and range are the four averages. And so the mean average of time before that thing breaks. And so everyone who develops a product, calculates the meantime before failure, or they should if they’re good, and that’s the time in which you should understand when to replace things. So contingency planning also, that includes the notion that you should know when to replace something before it breaks. So that you don’t have that or in the case of a situation where you don’t want to replace it yet, because it’s still working, you may decide to purchase the replacement at the time of the mtbf mean time before failure, such that when it does break, you immediately have the replacement to get started. Let’s move along now to when technology goes wrong. What do you do when the tech goes haywire? So we’ve been muddling in those waters a little bit in our prior segment, when we were talking about when things break. But in reality, technology is one of those things that I think about in terms of more digital technology and electronics and the stuff that you can’t see. So more, more software and more in the in the background. Like you don’t really know the what’s happening in terms of your DHCP licensing in your Wi Fi. So those are the kinds of things that when those technology functions go wrong, you have a little little less control, but you want to be able to still have a contingency plan in place. So let’s talk about that what happens when technology goes wrong for you? Give us an example and how you archetype contingency planning in that environment.
Augusto Pinaud 15:15
Now there was an important thing mentioned here on is how do you simplify that and as you were looking at that you’re talking about that I was looking at my, what is in front of me, and one of the reasons I rely so much on on the iOS is the fact that for because of what I do on the mobility I have, it is really important for me to be able to be productive, almost anywhere. So having the iPad and not only having the iPad, but having the iPad that can replicate on any iOS device, including walking into an app. Store, put in my ID on having all my devices or all my things in there. He’d really give me a fantastic contingency plans. I have two iPads, I can grab any of them and he will have everything in there. Can I do that with a Mac or a PC? Just you can I did it many years ago I travel was to well at the time heavy laptops, okay, because of that contingency plan because of the amount of traveling I was doing. I could not afford to lose the laptop. And as Francis was assigned, it was describing I was traveling a lot to latinamerica countries where if your laptop die, it’s known as Oh, let me work to Best Buy and get the replacement. It is it can be a significant problem. So having all that it’s me now these days, I really can walk into any place, grab an iOS device, put my credentials, and everything will be synchronized in there and have all my information that really allows Me to relax to a certain extent, my backup plans because I know it’s really easy to solve the problem, it may not be the perfect device, but it allows me to solve the problem in a ways that no other device right now will allow me to. So because of that my business has moved significantly to rely on on iOS devices.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 17:26
On the flip side, the reason why, and in full disclosure, I’m the Google Small Business advisor for productivity. So as you can imagine, I am a Google fan, if you haven’t listened to this podcast before. And, and there’s a reason for it, though, and in my personal life, I have embraced Google in almost every way. And in my professional life, we are a G Suite shop. And so I’ve embraced Google in that professional way as well. And the reason for that is because of what Cousteau is talking about having that kind of backbone ecosystem to be able to depend upon Pon is very powerful. And if I took my laptop right now and threw it out the hotel window, guess what doesn’t matter, I could pick up any laptop, any computer anywhere. And with my login credentials, and my two factor authentication, little key fob that I have to plug in, in order to be able to access my account for extra security, I have the ability to log into my, my Google ecosystem, both personal and professionally, from anywhere that has an internet connection. And that is that just allows me to be productive in so many ways. And as part of my contingency plan for almost everything, you know, if I walk in, I give seminars all the time. And when I step into a workshop environment into a into a theater or any place like that, you know, all I have to do is walk up to the machine that’s already in existence, log into my Google Drive, pull up my presentation, and I’m ready to go. And people are always amazing. By this, and frequently, I have to tell conference planners and summit planners, I’m not sending you my slides beforehand, because they’re in a, they’re in the cloud, there’s no, there’s no other, whatever. And so I always download and have on a thumb drive a backup just in case for some reason we can’t get internet access at the location. And, and I always I do now send to most summit and conference planners, a link to the Google Slides presentation. So they know I’ve actually prepared it’s not like I’m not preparing for the for the presentation. It’s just that there’s no file to really send because it’s a it’s a document in the web browser. But anyway, the goal is for you to be able to depend upon an ecosystem where you do have those things. And for example, I have a contingency plan for Google as well. I back up my entire Google ecosystem in a fairly complex way. But you don’t have to do this as much. In my in my perspective, I’m not going to trust Google with Everything that I own except to the extent that I already do. And then I want a backup of that. So I actually take everything in my Google system. And we I think we discussed this in a prior episode. And I’ll put a link to that episode in the show notes. But the reality is, is that I actually take all of my Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and I actually download those as Microsoft formatted files through a piece of software. And then that gets backed up into the into OneDrive through Microsoft. So I actually have backups of all of my files synchronously being done, I forget what the what the, you know, the frequency of its synchronization is, but I want to make sure that those things are being backed up in some other system such that, you know, should Google have an outage or something like that, life goes on, you know, productivity still needs to happen. And so I use that contingency planning. process for being able to look at all the various places where there could be an incident. What is its impact on me. And it’s pretty profound if I walk into a seminar or workshop environment to teach a full day workshop, and I perceived that I was going to have internet access to be able to open up my presentation and work from that those slides all day long. Well, what happens when Google has an outage? And now I’ve no access to it? Well, I go over to my Microsoft account, I don’t log into office 365. And I pull up the PowerPoint presentation that has been mirrored from the Google Slides. Is it going to be perfect? No.
Is it gonna be a little bit fumbling? Because I’m not used to using PowerPoint from the cloud or PowerPoint on the desktop as much as I am Google Slides now after a decade of using it? No, but am I going to get the job done? Absolutely. So just be mindful of those kinds of things. I will note one other thing. The other day, a friend of mine was using Google Maps And there was an outage for whatever reason that was it was localizes, seemingly a small Google Maps outage. And what I had him do was just change maps google.com or google.com, forward slash maps, change the.com to dot d, or dot s, or whatever other top level domain you want to that Google has. And voila, Google dot d, which is the German for Deutschland, the German version of Google, Google Maps pops right up and you’re good to go. Usually, that will fix it. So if you’re at Gmail or Google Calendar, or otherwise, if the.com is not working, because there’s just seemingly an outage and you’re getting a server 500 error, just try one of the other top level domains, typically D. s. i, t, for at least is that at least. So just try one of those other top level domains and it usually kicks into gear and you can use that temporarily while while the outage passes. I want it to director
Francis Wade 23:00
listening to the podcast you and I did. And the tool that came from it put in the show notes. I learned a lot from talking to you first big. And we capsulate encapsulated the learning into the stories decision tool, which is really all about information and backing up information and what goes wrong if or how to mitigate against something going wrong. With respect to information, data, the idea was to essentially download the best practices that you have stored in your mind. That was that was sort of the intent. And over three, three podcast session, we did that and you gave a wealth of information and turn that information into a decision tool, which would allow someone who wants to set up or buttress or improve or or add backups to their personal information system, their personal system from for managing all the data in our lives, and came up with an approach that the tool allows you To ask and answer questions that the system puts to you a little bit like a chatbot. In a way, as you answer the questions, you put together a plan for managing all of your data across all platforms. And that was the end product and very, very insightful, very useful exercise. I personally learned a whole lot. And that the idea of meantime between failure actually was one that you reminded me of, I never thought of it in terms of data. But that came from that conversation that we had, for example,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 24:32
data always eventually corrupts. And so yeah, so go back and listen to those episodes. I’ll put links to all of those in the show notes. It’s a it’s a it’s a long haul, I think, I think we probably recorded for several hours, all told. But remarkably, this is an area that I spend a lot of time thinking about because of my clients and just because I’m built that way. And so hopefully those episodes are are beneficial to those who who decide to put in the interview. And effort to be able to, it’s not just about backup either. You know what while we think about it from the perspective that you’re just backing up data, it’s also about being able to have peace of mind for access and, and segmentation of your data so that you’ve diversified the risk across potentially different places
Francis Wade 25:20
want to add something about production technology, which is that I made this mistake. But two years ago, I’ve always been an outlook user. And I got seduced to the dark side by it. So in an email client that shall go unnamed, but it was, it was being developed, but they had some features that made it very attractive. It seemed like you could do all these great things. They basically had a browser built into the the email software and I thought, oh, cool, nice, shiny object. And I switched over my email. And then I had a problem. And when I tried to resolve the problem, I discovered there were no forums. The tech support was Was non existent. I email the founder of the company and got no reply, and eventually had to make a painful reversal back to Outlook. And what I learned is that when it comes to production software, so this is not software like for leisure purposes or for entertainment or to watch a movie, or to try out some new, like software you just mentioned, I’d go and try it. This kind of see what they’ve done. I’m talking production software, which is a software you must use every day, the essential stuff that when it comes to making a switch or making a choice as to what to use, you need to examine the entire ecosystem, because chances are if something breaks, you need to answer 12 o’clock on a Saturday night. You need to find a forum where there’s a lot of people who have solved that problem. 10 different ways from Sunday, if you hope to be in to save the day, and to be able to To continue working, and that’s that’s, that’s no small feat. They’re very they’re relatively few that have a larger of followership to have all the answers provided or many answers provided. So before switching over, take a look at what kind of support there is either from the company itself or from other uses.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 27:20
That is a great point, which is that you should always always know what kind of technology support you’re going to get. And customer service that you’re going to get from the vendor who’s producing that software. You know, one of my my values is that I where possible, I want to use free open source software that is free isn’t the license structure not as in no cost, but no cost is a is a potential benefit but free isn’t the free license free isn’t freedom and open source is the also the license structure. So free open source software or FOSS is designed around a set of principles that is We believe in from a from a security perspective, and from a community perspective. And the reality though, is that many false, it comes with no customer support. You know, there’s a small team developing and putting their, their their full energy into something like that. And so you have to be mindful of the fact that that software may come with limited to no support. Yes, you can see the code, and that’s a benefit. But without a business model, or at least a very, very strong community behind it, then you have have trouble about a third of the world’s websites are powered by WordPress, which in essence means that they’re also powered by PHP, which is a another programming language, a web programming language and server programming language. And the reality there, though, is that you have a company that runs the whole process of developing wordpress.org. And so there’s the strong foundation of managing And control over the software. And we have a huge community behind PHP because it’s one of the most widely used server languages in the world. And everyone can feel comfortable with using those those pieces. But if you come across some little FOSS community that’s developing something and you’re going to use that for critical infrastructure in your productivity system, I would think twice and really hearken to Francis’s thoughts there. I wanted to make one one other note about technology, which is, as I as I started off the segment, on the notion that sometimes technology that is in the background is and is possible, can possibly break beam be aware of the fact that you don’t always have to depend upon things just because of convenience. So one thing that we have come to depend upon for convenience purposes is Wi Fi. And like I said before, you don’t control how Wi Fi, you know, connects to your systems and Because of the way in which the Wi Fi Alliance, this is the organization that builds the Wi Fi standards, they happen not to be free open source software, they don’t have open standards. So the process is not transparent. And guess what, when you have an A an opaque and you know system, you get greater security risk, you don’t have as many eyeballs trying to protect you. And so the Wi Fi Alliance has put out most recently, Wi Fi six, the Wi Fi standards for that will that will supersede all of the other Wi Fi standards. That’s a very slow process, and we’re talking decades, but they produced it in a vacuum. And so therefore, there weren’t as many smart cybersecurity people looking at it. And so I’m sure there are already bugs that have been identified in that. And so, the reality is, is that your Wi Fi is a security risk number one, but let’s set that aside. When it breaks. You have virtually You know, no way to fix it. So when possible, go out there and buy one of those rj 40 fives. And an adapter most likely because most computers now, or laptops don’t come with a with an RJ 45 port, which is an Ethernet port typically called an Ethernet port. And you you can buy those and then just plug into the machine, what I find typically what people are doing is that they’re they’re losing productivity, because what they’re getting is mediocre internet speeds. And that slow down. Even if it’s, say, five seconds here, 10 seconds there over the course of a day, you lose 30 minutes, maybe an hour of time, every time you wait for something to refresh for some web application to come into come into view and fully load or you know, you see the spinning disk in your web browser and the web page isn’t loading fast enough. That’s all because there are a number of different mitigating factors in being able to bring into To you, and all of those seconds matter when you aggregate them into the hole. So from my perspective, as much as possible, I like to be physically connected to the internet. And I know that doesn’t make it as as convenient because you can’t, you know, bring your laptop wherever you want in order to be able to do that. And I’m not saying you do it all the time. But if you want to be most productive, being stationary in your environment connected physically to the internet means you’re going to have a more solid feed and you’re going to be more productive, and there’s just going to be less things to break. Remember the moving parts part, you know, discussion? Well guess what, when you’re connected to Wi Fi, you have potentially thousands of moving parts per second. Okay, so you have you have thousands of moving parts per second. Clearly there are more opportunities to break and that’s all happening over the air. And with an Ethernet port, Ethernet plug or cable, you are now reducing the number of things That can break by putting a hard line connection between you and the internet. So just a quick tip there that as as much as I can, I like to be hard connected to the internet. And that means I have less problems. And you know, if I’m just writing a one Google document, you know, and I want to go move to someplace else to do a bit of writing, or if I’m at the cafe, that’s not possible, but where possible when I’m in control of the environment, I like to be hard find in. Alright, let’s move on. There comes a time when people snap.
Francis Wade 33:33
Raymond Sidney-Smith 33:34
you know, physical things can break, infrastructure can break. There’s always going to be times when we have meltdowns. And I’m going to give a very clear example here of a situation where I normally have a great and wonderful interaction with one of my clients. We know each other well, but in this particular circumstance, one day, I get back an email that is, you know, the the the dreaded email right all caps app’s crazy, you know, kind of making language. And I’m just stunned because I’ve never heard this type of, you know, reaction from the client. And I’m just like, what is going on here? Thankfully, I have a plan, which is that when anybody responds to me in a heightened or an elevated emotional state, I become fully rational with them and I just stay in that place, that is I model the behavior that I want to receive. And so when people snap, I try as best as I can to, to respond in exactly the manner in which I would want to be respected, that I want to be respected. And it turns out that this person was undergoing, you know, like some kind of audit and not a tax audit, but you know, some kind of other you know, business audit and was just under an intense amount of stress, obviously, to the point of breaking. And I’m so, you know, after, after about five or six emails back and forth of me just being very Curt or terse, but just very direct about the fact that these are the things I can fix about the situation. These are the things that I cannot fix about the situation. and subsequent to whatever the circumstances that you’re dealing with, I’m willing to sit down and have a conversation about it. That just helped flip the switch off. And the client immediately came back to center and was able to respond and you know, apologize and just say, I’m really sorry, I’m just under a lot of stress. This has nothing to do with you, and, and so on and so forth. And I knew that and so part of my contingency plan is to remember one, if someone lashes out at you over, whatever you’re doing, it’s most likely not related to you there people are going through things in their own lives, that you don’t know that you don’t hear. And they could sound benign to you like, my dog has a toothache and I need to take them to the vet which creates financial problems, which then causes me to lash out those you don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives. And we all have to take a greater sense of compassion and empathy for people in our interactions and dealings, not that we shouldn’t hold people to commitments, not that there shouldn’t be consequences for people not making good on their commitments or renegotiating them effectively with us. But you really don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives. And just a little bit of showing of that compassion and empathy can actually go so much further in being able to connect with them, and then for them to be able to help you get things done. How do you gentlemen deal with people, when they snap
Augusto Pinaud 36:49
read a person who has been in the world of sales and customer service for a long time, it’s often to deal with people who have snapped and Not only that people who are coming in is snapping where you have no right prior relationship, and you don’t understand necessarily what is happening with these people. So, coming to try to deal with that, and understanding how to stay yourself in the solid ground, so you can deal better with this person instead of react to this always, always help and it’s always an important part. And he says, and he says, skill doesn’t matter, really, if you know or don’t know the person, it is still a skill. And it’s a skill that that you need to have.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 37:40
Francis, any thoughts there?
Francis Wade 37:43
You give a great example of what I do bet I do in my wisest moments, which is to make sure that I’m centered myself. So there’s a possibility that the interaction could throw me off especially if it’s an urgent need. Or it’s in my face. But no, it is, you know, a if it’s not in my face and it’s not urgent, I find that taking a step back to first center myself, and make sure that I’m in a good place deal with any thoughts I’m having that are are unproductive or unwanted. And all the resulting emotions that come from those thoughts. And I have a process I picked up from Byron Katie for dealing with them in the moment, a four step process. But then there’s also just the idea that this person to bring some compassion to it is in a moment. They’re not this may not be their personality. This may not really be who they are. They’re just in a moment. And the best thing sometimes when someone is in a moment is just give them time. And we’ll and come again, maybe an hour later a day later a week later, whatever it is, it takes, let go of your have your initial assumptions or judgments and then allow them to The space to recover themselves as as needed. And if they come again and you realize, okay, that this is not, this wasn’t a moment, this is who they really are, then there’s a different choice. But many times people, especially if you have a background relationship with them on, you know, that’s not who they are, and that this is just a moment, then it’s really useful to give them a grace period, just to sort of recover themselves. If that’s really who they are, then they’re, you know, there’s a whole business of letting toxic people go. In other words, getting them out of your life in a graceful way. That’s, uh, that’s sometimes called for.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 39:43
totally understandable, totally understandable. All right, so we’re in our final minutes of the recording. And so let’s do some action items for folks. What’s one action everyone can take to do some contingency planning today?
Francis Wade 39:59
I think K through K through K through their back to this idea of what they need to do on a daily basis. They’re their routine activities. They’re sort of operational core
Raymond Sidney-Smith 40:13
Francis Wade 40:16
real managed record spotting way of seeing the stuff you do every day that you have to do. And think through. Do I have enough margin? Do I have enough space time money but everything I need to recover from the breakage of this core activity, as this is not the same as Netflix breaking, which is not a core, hopefully not a core activity at all, but but it’s along the lines of you know, what if, like, for example, my Windows system may my, my Microsoft 365 license expired because the company I was Getting it getting it through, change their policies and I had to go and get my own. So I had a backup I found a backup but that’s that’s for me is go to software that I use every day. But to play through what happens, what happens if you can no longer use Microsoft 365 I’m going through this right now because windows seven is supposed to explode on January 1 or something of the sort. So I’m going through my backups and saying, okay, no, no, what do I do? What’s my next next big step? But to play it through in your mind, play the play out, clear out the failure and say, Okay, here’s my contingency If this happens, but only do it for the core stuff.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 41:36
Right and we in psychology, we call it rehearsal and rehearsal is actually very, very powerful for you to be able to both increase your improve your import performance, but also to think about challenges and problems that might face you might face in the future and and tackle those great, great suggestion. Francis.
Augusto Pinaud 41:55
Do you know sometimes when when things are not crazy, It’s always good to look at what are those key things that you have? You know, as you mentioned early in the episode, you can go and log in everywhere. With your Google credentials, I can do the similar with with my iOS with my iPad. So but what are those things that are key? What are the things that you need to have plans for those emergencies? Now, I’m not saying you can expect to plan all of them, but you can plan to have a lot of them if you start looking, you know, with them. So what are the ones that you need to have to be able to plan to be able to be okay, I’m ready. When that happened.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 42:45
My one suggestion is to just backup your main device. I know that this seems very simple, and maybe the vast majority of you who are listening are already doing that which you’re doing a true backup Your main device, but how about going to your family, friends and colleagues and just making the suggestion to them that they back up their main devices? The reason why is that when you which is you’re probably the most productive person in your world, that tends to be the case for people who are productivity minded. We tend to be the people who are most productive in our world, we tend to be the people who are most tech savvy in our own world, that may or may not be you. But when stuff goes wrong, you are going to be the person everybody looks to for advice and for assistance to get themselves back up and running. Basically, for a lot of people in your world, you are the contingency plan. I know that I am. And you know, I get the cold phone calls from ons and from my parents and from brothers and sisters, and from friends and colleagues. When things go wrong. They come to me and so I have chosen to be proactive and go out there and say hey, Now’s the time to go back up. Hey, by the way, what are you doing with your photos? Are you are you actually backing those up from your phone, and so on and so forth. And that way, when stuff hits the fan for them, you have already helped them help you by having a backup plan for them. So that would be my suggestion. All right. This has been fun, really fantastic episode and thanks to Cousteau for suggesting the topic. I’m curious from you listeners, what your experiences are with contingency planning? Let us know if you have a comment about this cast. hop over to productivitycast.net there on the episode page at the bottom is a comment section. Feel free to jump in and let us know your contingency plans. Maybe some horror stories if you want to share them, but go ahead and let us know there at the bottom of the episodes episode page. You can leave a comment or a question and one of us will be glad to respond there on productivity cast dotnet you’ll also find the show notes for the episodes as well. have links to anything that we discussed here. We talked about a couple of things. And so I’ll put links to those there in the in the show notes, feel free to jump out to. It’ll also have a transcript available on the page, as well as a PDF download. And you can learn how to follow us in your favorite podcast app there on the website by clicking on the subscribe page link. So there’s a little subscribe link there. And on the Subscribe page, it has all the various apps and you can go ahead and find out how to follow us there. Now if you have a question, other than this episodes topic, you can go over to ProductivityCast dotnet forward slash contact, you can leave us a written message or you can click the little record button. And you can actually leave an audio message for us there on the page through your web browser. And my understanding is that it works both on the desktop and mobile, so pretty cool. Also, if you can if you’re an apple podcast or Stitcher I think they let you leave a rating or review. Please feel free to leave us a rating review one it lets us know how we’re doing. But it also actually helps the, the, you know, apples of the world figure out how to show us to more people. And so it really helps us to grow our personal productivity listening community. And so thank you for rating and reviewing us. Thank you for being a part of the community. And we hope that that’s helping you have a more professional and personal life that’s more productive. So that makes us feel great. Finally, thanks to Augusto and Francis for joining me here on this cast. Here’s to your productive life everybody. Take care.
And that’s it for this ProductivityCast, the weekly show about all things productivity, with your hosts, Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.