April 5, 2005

About procrastination

April 5, 2005 - Categories: emacs, productivity

From http://www.dictionary.com :

pro-cras-ti-nate

(v. intr.) To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.

(v. tr.) To postpone or delay needlessly.

Procrastination might not be the best word to advertise so
prominently on the wikiblog of personal information management
software maintainer, what with all its negative connotations. After
all, don’t we want software to help us be more productive, not less?

So what’s with planned procrastination, anyway? I renamed my
blog from the informative-but-boring “sacha chua – wiki” to the
huh?-and-slightly-less-boring “planned procrastination” on a whim. I
wanted to mention some kind of planning, but I didn’t want to project
myself as some kind of productivity guru. At least, not yet.

Besides, what’s wrong with the word “procrastination”? I joke about
PlannerMode
being the best procrastination tool I’ve ever used. When I think about
it, though, that’s why I like it so much. Planner doesn’t force
a particular way of thinking on me. It doesn’t bury me under a list of
urgent TODOs that must! be! done! today! Planner simply lets me get
things out of my head so that I can rest assured knowing that things I
plan to do someday won’t slip through the cracks of my memory.

Sure, a lot of self-help books tell you to stop procrastinating and
do things now.
I might be one of the rare people not
bothered by the idea that I procrastinate. I keep ideas simmering on
the backburner, ready for lazy afternoons or moments of inspiration in
the bath. My procrastination is a gleeful exercise of power over my
life, making space for other unplanned things. I don’t mind putting
things off until tomorrow if there are unexpectedly wonderful things
going on today. =)

Note that this doesn’t mean I’ll put off doing things until the
absolute last minute. In fact, I enjoy doing things with time limits
as soon as I can, and I often submitted programming assignments soon
after they were given. I once majorly freaked out when one of my group
projects was delayed not because of my part (which I had finished
weeks before) but because the other group members hadn’t even started
on their documentation until the day before (or something like
that)…

For me, procrastination is simply the ability to choose what I’d like
to work on today, knowing that I can work on other things tomorrow or
the next day or the day after that. It’s not perfect, but it does give
me a happy feeling about how much I accomplish each day and excitement
about what I’m going to do tomorrow.

I’m looking for a stronger title. “productively procrastinating”?
“structured procrastination”? Something that doesn’t mention
procrastinating but still manages to express this idea? =) Any
suggestions?

この猫はネズミを追いかけない。 This cat doesn’t chase rats.

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Chat with Sean

April 5, 2005 - Categories: barkada, friends

I finally managed to have dinner with Sean earlier. It turns out he
wasn’t avoiding me (heaven forbid). He had just been just buried under
work, having recently had his workday extended by an hour or so.
Dinner out was a welcome break for him, and we spent a few hours
leisurely chatting over soup and pasta at Almon Marina. I showed him
my feeble attempts at sketching and he gave me a few tips on facial
expressions. We chatted about movies and retrogaming, too. (No, we
didn’t mention the weather at all.)

We headed over to Bizu for dessert, where we ran into Aaron—an old
college friend I hadn’t seen in ages. It was a lot of fun chatting
with Aaron, and it looks like business is treating him very well
despite the demanding schedule. He juggles and is looking forward to
our show. =) As for me—the low-sugar chocolates and the positively
decadent chocolate souffle sent me into seventh heaven. I can’t
recommend that place enough.

The evening was great fun, and I look forward to meeting Sean and our
other friends soon. It’s funny… I really _do_ think meeting some
people would be more interesting than watching TV—or maybe even
working with the computer. Oooh, my hidden extrovert is showing… ;)

イヌとは対照的に、ネコはごく最近になって飼い慣らされたものである。 In contrast to the dog, the cat has become domesticated only in recent times.

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Horrible customer service

April 5, 2005 - Categories: business

I took a taxi just to make it to my 4:00 appointment at DermLink,
a small dermatology clinic along Arnaiz Ave. near Park Square 1. I
made it there by 4:05. The receptionist retrieved my record, which
indeed had “Tuesday 4:00″ written on it. However, there was no
available slot, so they asked me to wait.

After finishing an entire magazine (cover to cover, including articles
on swimsuits and makeup and all of these things I’d ordinarily not
even glance at) and sketching a stool (complete with shadows from two
light sources), I looked up at the clock. Thirty minutes had passed
without a word, an apology, or even an estimate of how much longer I
would need to wait.

Eventually the middle bay cleared and I was asked to recline on the
elevated bed. I had scarcely settled in when the assistant was told to
transfer the person in the far bay to the bed I was in the process of
occupying, so I put my glasses back on, gathered my things, and moved
to the next bay.

As the assistant smeared cream on my face and wiped it off with a
sponge, she kept asking me: “Are your meds complete?” It took me a
while to realize that she was asking about my medication. I said yes.
Not that I would know if it was complete or not, but hey, we sat
through the song-and-dance yesterday and my mom bought whatever the
dermatologist was pushing. A short while later, she (or another
assistant) asked again, “Are your meds complete?” I was starting to
get really annoyed about the hard sell, but I decided that it wouldn’t
be wise to piss off people who are working on your face.

So I patiently waited… and waited… and waited… I even fell
asleep at some point. When I woke up, I heard the whir of machinery
from the next unit. After a short pause, I heard the dermatologist’s
voice from the unit near the door, giving another consultation. It was
probably the exact pitch she’d used on us last week; no questions, but
rather just a high-speed rattling-off of things one needs to buy.

I turned my head and affixed the assistant with an impatient glare.
That netted me nothing more than a perfunctory “Please wait a while.”
I tried to settle back down, but I simply couldn’t stand that kind of
service. I got up, pulled the towel headband off my hair, and stormed
off, telling them I really couldn’t wait any longer and that their
customer service could _really_ be improved. Then I left. Looking
back, I wish I’d said something stronger, but disappointment choked my
voice and I still haven’t gotten over that innate dislike of making a
scene.

I stalked through Glorietta searching for some place that would make
me feel like they valued my business. I was annoyed. No, I was more
than annoyed—I was aggravated. I felt terrible wasting all that time
at DermLink. I thought going to a regular dermatologist would be
better than just going to a skin clinic and having a facial, but that
place just sucked. This wasn’t the first time I’d had to wait without
explanation, and I should’ve clued in that first day and refused to go
for any more treatment there. Sheesh.

I ended up going for a really painful facial at Let’s Face It, but at
least people there smiled, attended to me promptly, and explained what
they were doing.

If I’m going to go for this entire dermatology thing, I’d like to have
a dermatologist who’ll ask me about what I eat and how I live; who’ll
find a way for me to keep eating chocolate, who’ll tell me what to do
when I have pimples the day before I expect pictures to be taken…
If I can’t have that, then I’d rather not have clear skin than put up
with customer service as bad as DermLink’s.

Moral lesson: Customer service is very important. Keep your customers
in the loop. Don’t let them feel neglected. Care about them; make them
feel special instead of just another source of income for you.

ARGH.

I was thinking of heading back to DermLink and really giving them
a piece of my mind, but then I passed by National Bookstore and I got
sucked in. Still.

Oh, well. Good lesson in how personally annoying bad service can be.

この写真の猫を見かけたら、お電話ください。 Please call us when you see the cat in this picture.

Warren also grips:

I don’t think companies in Manila understand the meaning
of “customer service”. A very good example is PLDT :). Another one is
one of the biggest bank in Manila; METROBANK. They have like 40
clients in queue and they only have 1 teller serving them. My GOD!!! I
don’t know where the Managers/Supervisors of these organizations
obtained their degree.

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