Tag Archives: schedule

Never Lego

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Hello, lovely reader!  How are you doing?  Did you have a nice weekend?

I know I said I wouldn’t write too much Fringe-based bloggery while I’m away, but I’m afraid this one does start with an Edinburgh issue.  (It doesn’t stay there, I promise.  It moves swiftly onto more general silliness.)  

One of the strangest side-effects of being at the Fringe is that you find out a lot about people based on how they behave here.  This is especially true when it comes to time management.  There are people who plan their time to the very last second, with colour-coded, highlighted schedules.  There are also people who have a vague idea of what they want to see, but who are happy to go with the flow.  And then there are people like my friend Harry, who try to do way too much too soon and end up, five days in, lying on the floor in the middle of the day and singing “Smack That” to themselves.

At the Fringe and in real life, everyone has very different approaches to planning their time and achieving what they want to do.  Some people panic as birthdays approach because they see age as part of a huge, colour-coded schedule that we are supposed to blindly follow.  Surely by 25 we should know what we want to do with our lives, surely by 35 we should have met the person we’re going to marry, and surely by 45 we should have stopped enjoying Lego.  (Never stop enjoying Lego, by the way.  Lego is awesome.)

Others tend to amble happily through, cheerily meeting long-term partners and exploring career opportunities as they go.  Being slightly more laid back about when you achieve your life goals means that you’re more likely to be ok if things don’t go the way you expect them to.  Crises and bizarre eventualities are disconcerting enough as it is: if you have an imaginary schedule with post-it notes and a symbol key, it’s a nightmare. 

The other thing about being more relaxed about this stuff is that it has a knock-on effect on your own self-esteem and the people around you.  If you are frantically concerned about not being married before you’re 40 (or whatever) you will obviously discuss it with your friends.  Your friends in turn are more likely to get the idea into their own heads – the power of suggestion and all that – and then they will start to worry about themselves, too.  Before you know it everyone’s too worried about hitting an imaginary deadline to enjoy what they’re actually doing in life.

In terms of your self-esteem, you do not have to let go of your dreams or ideals if things don’t materialise the way you expect them to.  If you’re not married when you thought you would be, not living in the kind of house you dreamed of, or even rocking a hairstyle that you’re not entirely happy with, you’re still absolutely fine.  Things not happening when you think they should doesn’t mean they never will – it just means not now.    

Have a sensational Monday.  

Truly Madly Busy

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Good morning, dear reader!  I hope you’re revelling in the glory of a well-earned Saturday.

Today’s blog starts with a confession: my short-term memory is beyond appalling.  This will come as no surprise to those of you who know me.  I can clearly picture many of you smiling and rolling your eyes, probably thinking about a conversation that you had with me at least six times before it got lodged in my head.  Sorry about that.  It’s not that I don’t care; it’s that my brain is a very leaky sponge.

Having a rubbish memory is both a blessing and a curse.  In one way, it’s a joy to go through life in a Dory-esque fashion, constantly believing myself to be discovering things for the first time.  On the other hand, my lack of retention heralds in the slow but sure descent into dementia that definitely awaits me in my old age, and it tends to make my diary a lifeline rather than a useful reminder.  Even when I do look at my diary, I appear to have started writing things down in a haphazard manner, without any reference to times, places or even dates.  It’s a miracle that I’m ever on time for anything.

I would love to be able to say that at least some of this woolly-mindedness comes from the fact that I’m very busy, and that it’s difficult to keep track of all of the things I’m meant to be doing.  In some ways this is true, but I know lots of people who are far busier than I am who cope just fine.  My friend Laura has only recently stopped working 82 hour weeks, and another friend balances drama school with two jobs (and still finds the time to learn lines, write emails and – I sincerely hope – sleep and eat at some point).  My life is full of self-employed people who co-ordinate incredibly complicated schedules, and still more full-timers who find time for very active social lives.  One of my friends lives in Singapore working something ridiculous like 7am – 8pm every day, and he finds time to explore local countries, play music and be on a sports team.  I cannot get my head around any of these people’s schedules.  Their diaries must look like the Matrix in paperback format.

I love being busy, and I think that most of us can agree that being busy (even if we are perhaps a bit stressed) is much better than being bored and feeling unproductive.  Sometimes we feel the need to occupy ourselves to the point of frenzy in order to avoid thinking about a certain person/problem, and that’s ok, too.  I am a big fan of denial as long as it’s making itself useful, and if you can use your issues to make yourself more productive, more power to you.  You might even find that a solution pops into your head unbidden while you’re doing something else, or that bit of space from the problem makes you feel differently about it.   At some point you’ll be forced to confront your fears, but in the meantime I firmly approve of using the fingers-in-ears approach to get stuff done until you work out the solution to your dilemma.

Having said that, in yesterday’s blog I tasked you lovely people with the challenge of taking a chance this weekend, so maybe this is the perfect opportunity to get your head out of the sand and go and fix the issue…you never know, you might end up solving the problem.  If you don’t, I hope you’ve got access to some nice coffee and a friend who will hug you.  If not, you can borrow one of mine (friends, that is.  Mine are pretty awesome, as friends go.  I’ve also got enough coffee for everyone, so do feel free to pop by if you’re running low).

Have an insanely good Saturday.