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Use reality as the basis for your plans

April 27, 2018

Another important lesson I have learned.

In my youth I would always opt for an overnight coach over a daytime coach and a night of paid accommodation. The red-eye coach fare being way cheaper than the alternative, and cost often being the deciding factor.

This cultivated a planning style that has been described, fairly, as hare-brained. I once flew to Budapest via Frankfurt: the direct flight would’ve taken two hours, with a stopover it became a 13 hour journey. Most of the ~€30 I saved was spent on airport meals and extra coffees.

Now, even with age, the lesson to plan with Future Me in mind has been slow coming. This is the Me who must actually trudge through two planes and three airports and two security queues, not the Me who is tempted by a saving of £x to add an extra xn hours to a journey.

I decided to write about this today because I have been hoisted by my hare-brained petard once more. I’m on a coach heading north out of London. It’s daytime: the overnight coach preference finally having been ditched a few years ago. My plan was to use this six hours to do some work. Coaches have WiFi nowadays after all.

But what coaches don’t have is WiFi that can reliably connect to sites protected by HTTPS, and several such sites are vital to my workflow:

  • Gmail, where I access my work email account
  • The hosting provider for my website, which is an alternate access point for my work emails
  • Toggl, the tool I use to track my time
  • CodeAcademy, a learning platform with a course I am currently taking
  • WordPress, where I want to upload this damned blog post

Coaches are also lacking in table space for laptops, or the possibility of compensatory seating positions that don’t result in backache or torsion of particularly important internal organs.

None of this is a surprise to Present Me, who was Future Me at the time now-Past Me booked this coach. Past Me made the booking nonetheless, although he also downloaded an audiobook in case the WiFi wasn’t working, or some other mishap occurred that prevented effective work.

This contingency plan that wouldn’t have been made several years ago, suggesting that progress is happening, albeit slowly. Now I’m going to turn and face forward, untwisting my spine and hopefully experiencing some semblance of comfort for the next part of the journey.