I am getting rather good (though I say so myself as shouldn’t) at Time Management. Better than I was in those far-off days when I was a Working Gal, always flying from one meeting to another and driving my poor PA
to despair because of my inability to stick solely to the appointments she had carefully entered in my diary.
There is a reason for my marked improvement:
these days I can’t leave Mr B for longer than, say, three hours at a time without finding a friend to keep him company. I am fortunate, indeed, in my friends but I can’t keep calling on them. If I’m to be out for a couple of hours, I have
to maximise my Time Out. I am therefore becoming an expert at knowing how to fit in a Quick Shop before or after a meeting, for example; or combining a trip to the library with a meet-up with a Kindred Spirit. I know exactly how long the Pulse bus will take
to transport me into town, give or take the extra minutes if the driver has to stop at every single bus stop on the way. I know the nearest bus stop to all my main haunts, with particular preference given to those which have arrival times displayed on an electronic
notice board. When Time Is Of The Essence, these small details are all important.
Before I start congratulating myself further, I need to confess that it doesn’t
all work out perfectly every time, owing to my failure to consider minor factors which turn out to be major issues. I will give you an example. You would, I know, expect nothing less from me…
This afternoon I was expected at an important meeting, the venue for which was The Happy Teapot. This is one of the things I love about retiring in style - even important meetings tend to be held in coffee shops. For one such
as I, this is a Definite Plus. The Happy Teapot, moreover, as well as being a, well, happy place to be, with funny and inspirational messages decorating its walls, is situated just a few yards from the bus stop. My reasoning, therefore, went thus: if I caught
a slightly earlier bus than need be, I could just about fit in (i) a visit to the M&S Food Hall; (ii) a hasty appearance at the Pharmacy in Boots; and (iii) a swing by a Hole in the Wall to draw out some funds for the week ahead. This would allow me to
catch the bus home at the end of the meeting without any further delay.
So far, so good in Time Management Terms. Unfortunately I had forgotten to factor in the
need to carry with me a heavy case containing a projector which I had pass on to one of the people I was meeting. This meant I had to shoulder a considerable burden (quite literally) on my travels around the Food Hall, the Pharmacy and the bank. Why didn’t
I think of that when I was being so very clever about managing my time?
Then again, the other day I was determined to give my garden a tidy up before the approach
of winter. I carefully thought through the order in which I would tackle various tasks in order to complete them before the frosty weather created problems. There was also, in Time Management Terms, the timing of the day of the week when all the green Council
sacks I would be filling would be collected by the bin men. Most of all, I had determined to plant a carpet of snowdrops to brighten up my life on the Coming of Spring. I had researched how to do this - I would take the snowdrop bulbs, scatter them around
the grassy area at the end of our garden and plant them where they landed. The whole exercise appealed enormously to my Inner Sower.
Except that when I opened
the box of 100 Spring Surprise mixed spring bulbs bought for me by the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, it turned out that none of the 100 bulbs were of the snowdrop variety. Daffodils, yes, plus tulips, irises and grape hyacinths, but not a single snowdrop.
What a very mixed Spring Surprise!
It wouldn’t have been a surprise if I’d only studied the picture on the front of the box. There was a clear
absence of anything even vaguely resembling a snowdrop. You see what I mean about my lack of attention to detail? Now - having set my heart on planting a carpet of snowdrops - I shall have to find time for another trip to the garden centre. Which is no great
hardship, you understand, but will involve me in more time juggling.
I turned my attention to the rest of the Big Garden Tidy Up and I was going great guns, there
would be no problem in meeting the refuse collection deadline. Which was when I realised that I had just one garden sack and at least three sacks-worth of greenery.
Yes, I’m getting really good at managing my time. It’s everything else I’m struggling with…