Mission Creep

Mission CreepThis post is inspired by last week’s worry-filled rant about waiting for my husband to come home from the neighbor’s house.  (If you didn’t read it, check it out here.)
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I did indeed drive over to tell him it was time to come home, that dinner was cold, and I had worried about him.  But when I showed up, grabbed my flashlight and walked out to the neighbor’s shop, I found my husband and neighbor bent over a piece of old machinery and parts from the machine strewn everywhere.
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“Mission Creep,”  My husband explained, and with that one phrase, I knew he had not missed dinner from just chatting with the neighbor.  Rabbit trails, one thing leading to another, starting a project thinking it’s the whole iceberg and realizing (usually hours later) that it’s just the tip of the big ol’ thing about to sink the Titanic… that’s Mission Creep.
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I looked it up on the Google and this is what I found:
mis·sion creep noun: mission creep: a gradual shift in objectives during the course of a military campaign, often resulting in an unplanned long-term commitment.
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Yep… that about nails it.  My husband had gone over to move one giant steel piece from the machine for my elderly neighbor.  But underneath that steel panel was all sorts of cogs, wheels, pins, gears, and a complicated greasy mess.  It seemed like an issue of “If I can only get this one part removed, I’ll be able to get to the part I need to remove.”  However, when I showed up, there were dozens of machine parts already removed and the problem had not yet been resolved.  The boys decided to call it a night since their [ever-so-patient] wives had dinner waiting for them.
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I tell this story because I’m sure you’re all too familiar with mission creep.  I know I am.
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I start out in the morning with plans to work on one project, like writing a blog.  I take a break from the blog-writing to make my breakfast and as I’m in the kitchen getting my oatmeal doctored up to perfection, I glance around and see some dishes.  So I go to put the dishes in the dishwasher, but it’s full.  So I empty the dishwasher, load it, and then wipe down all the counters… but now I see the floors need sweeping.  And, actually, it’s been a long time since I’ve mopped, so I’m going to do that as well.  As I return the mop to it’s place by the dryer, I remember I have laundry to do… so I grab it and throw it in the washer…. and sure enough, the dryer is full when the time comes, so I have to take those clothes out and fold them.  Next thing I know it’s lunch time and I’ve written ONE paragraph of the stupid blog and I haven’t even got to the pile of tie dye I need to do yet!  Sometimes mission creep results in getting a ton of little, but necessary tasks done.  Sometimes it succeeds in only wasting time.
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But look at me, I’ve finished this blog and it’s still dark out!  I guess that means it’s time for breakfast.  And then I’ll tie dye the three items I have on my list.  But then I’ll have to mix more colors… and if I’m only doing three, that seems like a waste… I’ll do eight – there’s that dress I’ve been dying to dye… But what design should I do?  I’ll ask my friends on Facebook their opinions…
Not today, mission creep.  Not today.