Friday, October 26, 2007

Home after vacation

One of the things I wanted to do on my holiday was to try to catch up with my email. Email had been something that felt like the sword of Damocles over me, and as fast as I tried to catch up... I never got there and this 'thing' was hanging over me worrying me that I had missed something or not replied to something.

I had not managed to file emails for about a year and in the process of filing I found that I have been corresponding with 394 individuals and 136 companies and organisations.

I replied to many that I should have replied to over the year and after working hard at it managed to get down to 50 outstanding messages. I felt that was a possible number to clear over the remaining 10 days of my holiday - 5 per day. The trouble was more kept coming in and as I wrote between 5 and 10 per day, I never seemed to get down below the 50 outstanding messages. So the sword still hangs over my head!

The holiday has been really great - basically just hanging out with Daniel and at times his friends. Yesterday we managed to get a day sailing - the doctor from the ship he is on, Daniel and I rented a Hobie 14 [14 foot catamaran] and took it out for a couple of hours sailing. We were sailing in the South China Sea and the wind was light. Its a wonderful place to sail. I wish we had more opportunity to sail there.

Daniel is a natural sailor and I look forward to the time he will be back in Cyprus for a few months, when hopefully he and I can go out sailing at least once per week.

We also helped with the International Night for the ship - this is a presentation, this time done in the local Anglican Cathedral about what the ship is all about. Because so many people wanted to come they wanted to do a video relay to another building. Talk about following in father's footsteps... Daniel was directing the video relay and I was one of the camera operators.

It was great to see the vitality of the young people from the ship in this presentation, though like many church things they couldn't allow the creative presentation to stand on its own as a form of communication and had to have a talk as well. I guess nothing is perfect... except God!

Biggest problem they faced was lack of equipment - they had about 25% of the equipment they really need for this sort of presentation so everywhere people were trying their best... and struggling. Nevertheless, the audience enjoyed it. It would be interesting to see what these young people could do with the right equipment and the time and opportunity to develop the presentation fully.

By the time you read this we will be back in Cyprus. We're not really looking forward to the trip back. We have a 3 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, a 12 hour layover in KL, an 10 hour flight to Dubai, 3 hours in Dubai and finally a 5 hour flight to Cyprus. The flight from KL to Dubai is overnight... famously called the 'red eye' due to what the passengers look like at the end of it.

I guess it will be back to trying to feed the email beast now we are back in Cyprus... looking at what I was filing I think I read more than 22,000 emails per year and write at least 2,500 emails per year. Admittedly that is less than it used to be as so much is now done with IM. I haven't logged on to any of the IM systems while I have been away, though urgent messages have come via SMS [didn't count these, but more than 50 of these] and direct email to my phone [52 of those].

I was hearing how the the officers of Daniel's ship, like the officers of most ships these days have loads of emails back and forth to the company. Gone are the days of the master of a ship BEING the master. Accountability means communicating and involving decisions. The same is true in most lines of work these days. I wonder how much more we would achieve if we trusted people to make the best decision before God they can and didn't have all these extra layers of communication and accountability. My bet is we would gain between 1 and 2 days per week and possibly more.

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