Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The "Last Minute Syndrome"

Last Monday I spent a good deal of the day in bed. No, I wasn't sick or nursing a hangover - I was just sleepy but when I think of what made me so sleepy perhaps I was sick. You see I think from time to time I get infected with a certain syndrome, what I call the "last-minute syndrome". Now this syndrome is not contagious but from my discussions with others I have discovered it has a high infection rate in Kenya.

The Last Minute Syndrome (LMS) is a fully preventable disease, but do not be surprised if you are re- infected severally. Worse still you face a higher risk of re-infection if you come out of the disease unaffected. We can say you build up a psychological immunity.

Ok, lets rewind about two months back and I explain how this all started. I was sitting in my office going through the daily when I saw an advertisement inviting tenders. The ToR seemed in line with SoftLaw's business so I went ahead to purchase the tender documents. I had a whole six weeks to submit my proposal so I put it on the back burner as I attended to "more important business".

Amazing how six weeks can fly by. It was the Friday before the 9:00 am Monday deadline to submit a bid proposal and I had not even started writing it. "How hard could it be anyway", I rationalised; I had done it before, the specifics of the proposal were within my knowledge, and I had a whole weekend. Yes, I had a whole weekend - and I blew it away. By Sunday mid-morning, I was yet to start. Still I remained unfazed, I even had time to read the Sunday papers and squander another two hours. Finally as one o'clock approached I forced myself to start writing it, but the easy stuff first: I filled out the pre-designed forms and drew up the table of contents. Someone once said that the only thing that doesn't delay is time. No truer had this statement felt than by that Sunday evening, my proposal was still-born and time was on time. The minutes merrily passed by and doubts about my ability to deliver the proposal on time started growing.

By 11:00 pm I thought another hour and I would be done, I even made arrangements for a late-night dinner date. Its only when the calls of the muezzin summoning Muslim faithful to prayer filtered in at 5am that I knew I was in trouble. The proposal was more or less done, but I still had to proofread, print, copy and bind it. Four opportunities for something to go wrong; and of course I still needed to actually drop the proposal in the tender box.

Murphy's law as usual did not disappoint, "if something can go wrong, it will go wrong". Of all days the automatic feeder for the printer refused to function and I had to feed each page manually. Not a problem when you are printing a couple of pages and have all the time in the world. Disastrous when you are high on caffeine and stress, deprived of sleep, have a financial deadline, and a hundred pages to print. Binding also had to claim a share of the fun; on that day I saw a document take twenty minutes to bind (usually takes about five minutes). Finally at 8:40 the proposals were ready. Jumping into a taxi for a distance I would normally walk was one of the prices I had to pay. My nerves were all frayed, my breathing was irregular, my body temperature was above normal, and my eyes kept drifting to my watch which I noticed was showing a time five minutes earlier than the street clock. The disease was now in its final stages, would I survive or was the disease going to get me? Find out in my next post.


Native Son said...

Hey HK!

Keep fighting the good fight. I am too. catch me at http://wirelessforthepowerless.blogspot.com
Let's build! Uhuru na Biashara.

Unknown said...

LSM is real and true, im affected and afflicted, eloqountly put, its like i wrote it myself...