I am getting pretty good at Time Management (though I say so myself, as shouldn’t.)
This newly acquired skill can be
put down to a combination of two different, but related, issues: firstly, the fact that I can’t spend too long away from Mr B these days; and secondly, on account of the Tyranny of the Whiteboard.
Every day, when I venture out - say, to the shops, or the garden centre, to church or to choir - I write on the whiteboard where I am going and (most importantly from Mr B’s viewpoint) when I can be expected back. I
generally illustrate my latest outing with what can loosely be described as a drawing, some better than others but none of them exactly Picasso-esque. Despite this (or possibly because of this) all our visitors appreciate my illustrations, especially Mr B
who, though somewhat critical of my artistic abilities, always laughs at them. Claire, my lovely “Carers’ Carer” tells me that it is a great example of “carer problem solving in action.”
Yesterday is a case in point. I was volunteering on the Summer Reading Challenge desk for two hours from 2 p.m. till 4 p.m. and scribbled on the whiteboard that I would be back home by 4.30 p.m. The theme of this year’s
Summer Reading Challenge is Space Chase, commemorating the fifty years since man took his first steps on the Moon. As far as the littl’uns at my table, this is way back in The Olden Days, along with the Romans and Henry VIII of the six Unfortunate Wives.
On my whiteboard, I drew a spaceman walking on the moon with a flag marking the historic event. I wrote captions like “moon” and “flag” just in case anybody wondered what was what...
Now here comes the scientific art of time management. In order to arrive home by 4.30 p.m. I knew I must time my departure from the library as soon as possible after 4 p.m., scoot across the road (narrowly avoiding oncoming
vehicles) in order to catch the Pulse bus drawing up at the bus stop. However, I did have a number of small errands to run, the most important of these being posting a birthday banner and card for Samuel’s Big Day. It was therefore necessary to time
my arrival in town so that before I entered the library, I could visit the Post Office and negotiate the self-service machine which is rather like the Spanish Inquisition. Is my package a large letter? Is it a small parcel? Is there anything inflammatory in
my package? Are the contents worth more than £20? To which I wanted to respond Yes, No, Definitely Not As I Am Not An Arsonist, and Absolutely Priceless - but, as with many a customer survey, I had to content myself with a simple yes and no to every
question. I just about managed to post my package and hare along to the library to make it for 2 p.m. Time management at its best, don’t you agree?
was even trickier, time-wise. All the way to the Goring Road shops, I studied my shopping list, trying to work out in which order I should visit the shops in order to time my return home for 11.30 a.m. The fact that the bus was later than scheduled didn’t
help but I suppose even the best time managers falter occasionally. Should I start with the Card Factory (other shops, it goes without saying, similarly stock all manner of greetings cards) bearing in mind that my mind might be so blown by the mammoth task
of choosing cards for all the August birthdays on my Birthday List (Mr B says I send more cards than anyone else he knows) that I will have no time left for essential food shopping? Or do I leave it till last, so that I can calculate more or less to the minute
how much time I will have left to choose each greetings card before the bus trundles along. Is there a post box near the bus stop, thus saving me precious minutes racing along to the Post Office to post an important letter?
I phoned Mr B on the way home to update him on my ETA, with a few fully justified excuses why I would be ten minutes later than the time stated on the whiteboard. Engrossed as he was in the First Ashes
Test between England and Australia, I doubt he had even noticed that I had been and gone and would shortly be back again.
But give him time...