In those rather-too-far-off days when I was studying business management, I spent a lot of time on Critical Path Analysis. This is (if I remember rightly) a project management technique that involves mapping out every
task necessary to complete a particular project, with particular attention needed for the dependencies of any one task on others. My favourite example (as in, to be strictly honest, the only one I actually remember) is that it is no use boiling the kettle
until you have filled it with water. You know it makes sense. Except that I almost always have some water left in the kettle from the last time I made us both a cup of coffee - but that, in business management terms, is Beside The Point.
Be that as it may, when I cantered off the corporate carousel just over nine years ago (can it really, truly be that long?) I rather thought that the theories of Critical Path Analysis
would be of little use to me in retirement. Instead I have adopted the mantra “One thought at a time, one task at a time, one day at a time.” Many is the occasion that reciting this useful advice has sent me back to sleep when I have lain awake
with a hundred thoughts about a dozen tasks, any one of which would take days to complete, circulating inside my weary head. And so it has (mostly) proved until my Waterfall Experience of recent days.
Even while the water was cascading through my ceiling, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and her fella, Dunk’em Dave, were urging me to contact my insurance company immediately. Being (for the most part) the obedient
type, I did as I was told. Which was how it came about that I had a surveyor on my door-step last Thursday, here to assess the damage wrought by my Watery Emergency.
I had been treated to several scare stories about insurance assessors and the hoops through which they demanded their victims / clients to jump so it was with a certain trepidation that I invited the surveyor into my home. I shouldn’t have worried
- he was kindness personified. Perhaps he was blown over my interest in his tools of the trade - in particular his damp meter. I always think professionals like the uninitiated to treat such essential equipment with respect. Hence I followed the poor fella
around the house, demonstrating my endless fascination with the way the damp meter assessed the damage to my bathroom, hall, stairs and landing.
damp meter, the surveyor and I) were doing really well at first - the bathroom floor, landing carpet and laminate flooring were all registering a healthy green light indicating there was no presence of serious damp. My stalwart efforts to air the house by
opening every door and window had obviously paid off, despite my incurring the wrath of Mr B (not something to be recommended) for allowing draughts to circulate around him and causing serious discomfort of the Chilly Nature.
When it came to the walls and ceiling of the hall, however, it was a very different situation - red alert, screamed the damp meter. The friendly surveyor gave his verdict - a complete redecoration
of hall, stairs and landing would be required. He proceeded to reel off a list of forms to be completed, decisions to be taken, actions to be, well, actioned. I felt quite dizzy at the enormity of the task ahead. So much for “One thought at a time, one
task at a time, one day at a time”…
The Eldest of the Darling Daughters messaged me, urging me to “Be positive!” It was the addition of
the exclamation mark that brought me to my senses - here was my chance to have a complete makeover of our hall, stairs and landing. Surely I could apply my knowledge of project management to the task at hand. I didn’t need Laurence Llewelyn Bowen to
advise me, now did I?
I put the kettle on. First things first. You know it makes sense…