A very informational piece by Aung Khant and Oattra

Aung Khant’s dramatical recreation of his experience during power outages

Think about a magnificent country. A country with gorgeous religious sites as well as a developing modern economy. Now scrap all of that and tell me what you think about incessant power outages, because that’s our reality right now. While there are a lot more issues that are a whole lot more serious and concerning than us having to deal with power outages, you’ll hear people say that the regular outages still affect our daily lives greatly, especially since we’ve gotten so used to relatively consistent power consumption and availability for so long.

Aung Khant feels much sadness. Picture on the left: FEBRUARY 15, 2018: “The evening walk along the crowded Maha Bandula Road, decorated with Chinese New Year lanterns, on February 15 in Yangon.” (Source) Picture on the right: “Junta under pressure to restore access to electricity in Myanmar” (Source)

Some issues that are prominent includes the following:

  • School and work schedules being disrupted due to power cuts during working hours.
  • Difficulty for students to focus and work.
  • Not being able to continue work that requires electricity.

After enduring and working around power outages for about two months, we’ve discovered and come up with a few ways to solve some of the problems stated above. Of course, there are some issues that are just out of our own capability of fixing. 

There are two types of problem solving in this situation. 1) You power through your obstacles with sheer mental power and sturdiness or 2) You spend some money to make your life just ever-so-slightly easier. Below we’ll detail how to solve some of the aforementioned problems using both types of problem solving. 

Schedules being disrupted

When the power cuts started, it just went out randomly. But now, it can be observed to be following a consistent-enough schedule, emphasis on enough.

So, we should schedule our work according to what time the electricity will be cut. Work on the things that require electricity in the times that electricity is available. But how do we do this?

Learn to make lists. Lots of lists. Too many of them perhaps. The easiest, and possibly the worst, thing that could happen is that you forget about some assignment or project that you have to get done. There’s no feeling more horrible when you wake up in the morning and suddenly get slapped across the face by an assignment that’s due that you’ve completely forgotten about. Completely ruins your mood, I swear.

There are several ways and methods to go about making a list of tasks and assignments. Of course, the easiest method of sorting is to prioritize them by due date. Make sure to finish the assignments that are due earlier; a very no-brainer strat. But there’s something else, something you might not have thought of before. Say you have six assignments and two projects due within the next three weeks or so, you probably have a lot of steps and tasks you need to complete for those assignments. Instead of only having those six assignments and two projects listed into your to-do list, you should also detail the different smaller tasks and steps to complete those assignments and also set a small due date for those tasks. Instead of a due date, you can also add the day you plan to work on that step. For example,

instead of:

To-do List:

  • ICT project (Due 20th)
  • the other ICT project (Due 30th)
  • ELA summative (Due 29th)
  • Bio exam (Due 1st)
  • AP Psych exam (May 3)
  • Biopsych project (Due 25)
  • Maid cafe (May 20)

try going for something like this:

To-do List:

  • ICT project (Due 20th)
    • write initial draft (12)
    • revise (13)
    • begin on multimedia (14)
  • the other ICT project (Due 30th)
    • plan/sketch (21)
    • add vital parts and progamming (22-25)
    • add all the pretty parts (26-28)
    • final testing (29)
  • ELA summative (Due 29th)
    • rough draft (24)
    • revise (25-27)
    • final draft (28-29)
  • Bio exam (Due 1st)
    • review (25)
  • AP Psych exam (May 3)
    • review (24-30)
  • Biopsych project (Due 25)
    • consent forms (12-13)
    • experiment sessions (17-25)
  • Maid cafe (May 20)
    • practice performances (15-16)
    • practice with heels (17)
    • practice with partner (18)
    • practice with partner AND heels (19)
Our very intuitive solutions to heat. Picture on the top (Source) Picture on the bottom (Source)

Difficulty focusing

We understand that working on something else during a blackout is really annoying. But there are some ways to solve it. 

First, we can’t focus because there is no light. So, we recommend you to buy some light bulbs that work on battery, so you can charge and use them. You know what happens when you don’t have power? You don’t have air conditioning. Don’t try to deny it, you need air conditioning as much as we do. Especially in a country like this where the average temperature during the day during the months of March and April is 40 degrees and above. 

How do you solve this? There is no way to reduce the temperature while having a blackout, so you have to calm down. Well, there’s one other way to power through this through pure mentality. Just take more showers. Feel the cool, refreshing sting of cold water against your skin. The only downside observed by this method is that you’ll likely return to your hot and sweaty state soon after your shower if you happen to be an active person. But you know what you can do then? Take more showers. Just keep taking showers. Your problems and worries will wash away like the dead skin cells on your body.

The other method to solve this problem (which also happens to completely dry out your wallet) is by investing in a generator. You’ll be spending a lot of money but at least you won’t drown in your own sweat, right?

Interrupted work

We’ll start off with solving this issue through pure mental capability and strength. What we regret to inform you is that there is no way to solve this issue through mentality and mentality alone. There will always be work and assignments that require the use of your devices which require the use of power. If you really want to try, you can attempt to persuade your teachers to only give out work that you can do on paper but as you’ll have already guessed, they won’t really do much for it.

So now let’s move on to ways to avoid your work being interrupted by spending some money. Imagine this, you’re working on your incredibly important master’s thesis for your physics major but suddenly, the power goes out and you lose all the work you’ve done for the past twelve hours because you forgot to press save. Oh, poor you. Now imagine you had this magical invention called a UPS hooked up to your computer that gives you some extra time, enough time to save. Wow, mind blowing, is it not? So yeah, we’re telling you to spend money on a UPS in exchange for your effort not being lost and in turn, your sanity is preserved. 

You can also spend money on external batteries that then power inverters to keep some power going for a while. If all hope is lost because you’ve been running the inverter too long and it can no longer handle your excessive power usage, you can turn to the battery-powered light bulb to attend to all your light-requiring needs.

Aung Khant swears by these items and tools to preserve his sanity during rampant power outages.

Extra tips and advice

Other than excessively taking showers to lower your boiling body temperature, we have a few more big brain strats and tactics to alleviate the sheer discomfort and pain you’ll endure during power outages.

  1. Stay calm and breathe
    • People say that learning to control your breathing is a great way to relax. It doesn’t hurt to try!
    • It’s also a great way to focus your attention on one thing.
  2. Don’t stress too much
    • There’s a psychology concept that asserts that your performance is determinant on the level of stress you’re experiencing.
    • In general, it’s better to have a intermediate level of stress in order to reach peak performance. Too little stress leads to loss of interest while too much stress leads to impairment of performance due to high arousal.
  3. Don’t be too hard on yourself
    • You can’t be on top of your game all the time, it’s not humanly possible.
    • If you feel like it, just take a nice, long nap. The power’s out anyway, might as well catch up on all that sleep you’ve deprived yourself of. You can go finish up your work later.
  4. Self-efficacy
    • If you start your day telling yourself that you won’t be able to accomplish anything, you won’t be able to accomplish anything. Mindblowing, right? So, do the opposite. Head into your day telling yourself that you can work on and complete your tasks, errands, and assignments. Of course, you won’t be able to maintain it everyday but it’s a good mindset to have.
  5. Everyone else is struggling too
    • All your friends, teachers, and classmates are getting power outages too. They are most likely having the same issues and problems that you’re facing. They’ll understand if you give them a valid excuse.

In conclusion, your life will be easier if you spend money to fix your problems. Oh we already knew that? Got it. Another thing we can say is that if you really try hard enough, you may be able to solve some problems through sheer mentality. Just some problems though, most problems will require you to spend your money. So go get a job.

Our solution to everything. (Source)

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