23 July 2007

Running on empty

"The 0707 to London Paddington is running" says the announcer ominously, pausing to allow everyone's hearts to sink, "on time!"

Nothing did the previous day, because of a signalling problem at Acton: Steven, one of the staff at Didcot whom I have been on nodding ters with for years - from whom I have bought countless tickets - tells me that it was just as if someone was flicking a lightswitch on and off, they were changing from red to green and back for no reason and the maintenance people couldn't stop it happening.

At least I learnt about the problems in time to abort my journey to the station, and work from home instead. However, having been out of the office all the previous day (presenting on competition law compliance to the management of a client who has already faced plenty of competition law problems), and with tomorrow off too, I didn't need another day away from my desk.

I have so much work to do, and however carefully I try to husband the time it is never enough. It's easier now than it was in the Goldfish Bowl, but I still have a roommate to contend with. Then there are matters like the Great City Run next week, for which I am the team captain, and the firm's Regatta the week after, and I have ended up being the department's captain of boats. It falls to me to organise training rotas, and deal with requests from other departments to swop. I also have to deal with the fact that we seem to have been usurped by another department on our first visit to the river this year, which is an added complication.

I can't choose the pace at which I work, either, because matters acquire urgency independent of my actions. Never a great time planner, the older I get and the more crowded my life becomes the harder I find it to deal with everything that needs to be done - the harder to remember what needs to be done on any particular day. So today there were three things I had to do because I had already left them too long.

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