Posted in Writing

Never Too Late

Mr. Micawber on Happiness
Image by Terry McCombs via Flickr

Do you fight a constant battle to fit more chores into the day than the hours and the laws of physics will allow? I reckon multi-tasking is the scourge of the modern world.

Mr Micawber famously observed that having slightly more income than expenditure is the recipe for happiness, while the opposite leads to misery. I’m sure the same applies to time and tasks.

So I welcome any new idea that will help me make better use of my time. And this month I find a new ally. It’s a handy gadget on my new mobile phone. A “Lists & Things” button allows me to compile any number of action lists with deadlines. I can colour code tasks according to priority and hide or reveal items as I see fit. I can even get the phone to play a tune to remind me when a task is due for completion. I need never miss a deadline again.

Equipped with this app and a phone-based calendar, I decide to do away with my printed diary. (Frankly, I could do with the extra space in my handbag.) From now on, my phone will be all I need.

So I set about inputting appointments, tasks and deadlines. Some have very clear time constraints – dental appointments, print deadlines, term dates.

Having input all these, I start on the tasks for which I can set my own deadlines: when to write my next online blog entry, when to complete the first draft of that book… Scrolling down the screen to set the date for the first of these items, my finger slips and I find myself accidentally advancing the year instead of the day of the month.

And so I discover a major difference between this and my old printed diary: the phone version doesn’t end on 31st December 2011. I scroll down the years – 2012, 2013, 2014… A few moments later, I’m still going: 2087, 2088, 2089. Why was I so worried? There’s still plenty of time to fit everything in. The only problem will be if I lose my phone in the meantime.

This post was originally written for the Hawkesbury Parish Magazine, August 2011 edition.


Author of warm, witty and gently funny fiction and non-fiction, including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mystery series, beginning with "Best Murder in Show", inspired by her life in an English Cotswold community, short stories and essays about country life. As Commissioning Editor for the Alliance of Independent Authors' Advice Centre, she writes guidebooks authors. She speaks at many literature festivals and writing events, and is part of BBC Radio Gloucestershire's monthly Book Club broadcast. She is founder and director of the free Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival which takes place in April, a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, and an ambassador for children's reading charity Read for Good and the Type 1 diabetes charity JDRF.

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