something more about managing Mercury retrograde…

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On our road trip yesterday my parents were talking through some tales of technological woe.

Their land line has a fault that Telstra had advised could take 2 weeks to fix. This meant that all their calls had to be diverted to a mobile they maintain only because us kids tell them they should have one. This then caused issues with the alarm company. It’s all been sorted, but…

Then Dad was concerned because one of the right wing shock jocks he listens to each morning had said that Telstra was going to cancel all lines from 2014 and where would that leave them? I suggested that maybe the plan was to begin to phase out land lines- given that most people rely on their mobile phones these days, and that perhaps the message hadn’t meant to come out quite in the way that it had. Apparently the lines were full of enraged (mostly older) listeners, so I daresay the message came out exactly the way the radio announcer planned.

The stories are everywhere- mixed messages, delayed plans, traffic snarls. This morning I was 10 minutes late to a skype meeting with someone who so didn’t deserve me to be late, simply because an unscheduled 10 minute round trip turned into a 40 minute one.

I could blame Mercury retrograde, but the truth is, I should have left home earlier to make sure I arrived back on time. If I’d been thinking clearly, I would have factored in the possibility of delays and done that. That’s what I usually do, but as I said in my earlier post, I’m not thinking on all cylinders.

I’m asked a lot how to avoid having Mercury kick your butt, and the answer is easy- slow down, leave earlier, plan ahead and build in contingency- and a plan B. Mercury incidents may still happen, but if you’re flexible, the kicks won’t hurt quite as much.

It’s like the business continuity planning and disaster recovery planning that I used to do. It’s all common sense, but having it there means that when the brown smelly stuff hits the whirly thing, you’re able to assess, adapt and recover- more quickly than those who haven’t done the pre planning.

I read this article this morning by a travel writer whose course I did a few years ago- when I first started on this freelance lark. Although Sue is not an astrologer- nor do I think she is into it, but who knows, the post is pertinent for everyone.

Personally, I back my words up constantly. Once to a hard drive, then to the cloud (in case my hard drive and computer is stolen). In the case of my fiction and manuscript work- for which I use scrivener– I also export to word every few days and then back those documents up in the same way…just in case. It doesn’t mean that I won’t be inconvenienced if the worst does happen, just that I’ll be mitigating my risk and minimising the impact.

Travelling during Mercury Rx periods has taught me a lot too. Things like:

  • Always pack a toothbrush, a stick of deodorant and spare undies in your carry on- in case the bag doesn’t make it. This one comes courtesy of a Virgin flight to Perth where none of the bags were loaded on the plane.
  • Always carry your charging equipment with you- in case you need to empty your laptop/tablet battery entertaining yourself during long delays (same flight as above- 6 hours delay)
  • Always carry a real book with you in case of extra delays or for when the plane doesn’t level out and the seatbelt signs don’t get switched off. A few flights out of Wellywood back across the Tasman in wind will give you this experience.
  • Never get on the plane with a full bladder- if you’ve ever been stuck on the tarmac or on a flight out of Wellington in wind (see above) you’ll know why I say this.
  • Never keep the only copy of your travel documents in your check in luggage.
  • Never lock your house keys in your check in luggage. Don’t ask.
  • Always take out travel insurance.

You can survive Mercury retrogrades with your professional reputation and personal stress levels intact, but only if you make friends with flexibility and contingency plans.