Idle Eye 148 : The Eisenhower Matrix

It’s harder than you think, being your own boss. Try it sometime and see for yourselves. Traditionally I have been pathetic at organising my day, which is why I usually get other people to do it for me and hopefully throw in a few quid at the same time. But right now, I’m out of the plane without a chute and unless I sort something out pretty quick, I’ll be land pizza before you know it. There are, however, little tricks you can employ to create the illusion of structure, some of which I shall outline below for anyone in the same predicament:

1)  The old ‘leaving the flat’ ruse is a bit of fun – Get dressed in a hurry, swig down a mouthful of instant coffee (leaving the rest) and, if you’re feeling bold, give yourself a quick peck on the cheek. Then walk around the block a couple of times and come back in, panting and complaining bitterly about the inefficiency of whichever rail network you weren’t on.

2)  Create a few formal breaks. These will prevent you from atrophying at the computer and provide the added bonus of allowing you to catch up with all the latest gossip. It’s important to stay in the loop.

3)  The Reward System, albeit rather primitive, is a great incentiviser. That call you made to Virgin Media Customer Services took a while, right? Have a sweetie. Made it through thirty emails about erectile dysfunction and/or PPI? Have another sweetie. Anything whatsoever to do with the Inland Revenue or TfL? Crack open a bottle of single vineyard Central Otago Pinot Noir. Actually, make that two.

4)  Stay focused. Tempting though it may be to stray with another episode of Inside Health and discover you’ve probably got shingles/leg ulcers/something irritable going on with your bowel, you’ll only spend the rest of the day on the med sites and give yourself PTSD to boot.

5)  Draw the curtains. Because the people you can see outside are almost certainly having more fun than you, will be rich in Vitamin D and couldn’t give a monkey’s that your delete key has packed up again. For them, life is one big picnic. For you, it’s an eternal game of chess. Against Magnus Carlsen.

6)  Nothing of interest will come through your letterbox and no-one of interest will ring the doorbell. Ever. Hold your nerve.

7)  Facebook and Twitter are not your friends. They are the Trojan horses of the internet, willingly invited into the workplace where they bed in and beckon, stealing your time and reason. Like Mata Hari. With cats and babies.

After these, you’ll need an endpoint. Something to neurotransmit a strong signal to the brain, telling it to pack in the chores and loosen up a little. Sex, recreational drugs, alcohol and repetitive pop tunes have always been popular with the young, but if, like me, you find yourself in your twilight years, The Archers seems to work okay. In conjunction with the above.

Idle Eye 8 : The Hit Parade

London 2011. I’m on the phone. It’s been two hours, thirty seven minutes and six seconds but the show is far from over

Da Mudda:  Yes, yes! Now, which one is the Delete key again?

Me:  It’s the one with the backwards arrow, Ma. Like a Turn Left sign, remember?

Da Mudda:  Yes, of course, like a Turn Left sign…a Turn Left sign, yes…ooohh, the little flashing line seems to have gone. Is that meant to happen?

Me:  Did you press the key?

Da Mudda:  Which key?

Me:  The Delete key!

Da Mudda:  Now don’t get annoyed, I know you’ve told me…hold on, hold on…it’s the one…umm…it’s the one with…the…with the…is it the big one at the bottom?

Me:  Not the big one, that’s the Space Bar, remember?

Da Mudda:  Yes, of course…the Space Key…sorry, Bar…Oh look, I’m fed up with all this email stuff, it’s quicker to send a bloody letter for God’s sake! Can we talk about something else, please? Your brother tells me you’re getting lots of viewers on the blog. Is that good?

Me:  It’s early days, Ma. We’ve only been counting for a week but it’s looking promising.

Da Mudda:  Well, I’m sure you know what you’re doing. All that money we spent on your education, it’s about time something looked promising.

Me:  As I said, it’s early days. But we’re getting comments already and we had over 300 hits in the first week.

Da Mudda:  Over 300 hits! Well I never! (long pause) Do you remember your seventh birthday at the Imperial War museum? I gave you some hits then, with the bristly end of a hairbrush if I remember correctly, but probably not as many as 300. I suppose that makes your brother a…hit counter!!! (laughs hysterically)

Me:  Yes, I suppose it does.

Da Mudda:  Ah, he’s just on the other line now, can I put you on hold?

Me:  Sure, Ma.

A cacophony of clanking (not unlike that bit in Alien when the monster bursts out of John Hurt’s stomach) followed by a violently distorted version of The Archers

Da Mudda:  Stephen, I’ve got your brother on the other line. Can I call you back in a couple of hours?

Nibs:  (over loudspeaker) Ma, we’re really busy tonight, I’ll call you later. And could you ask him to call me about the blog, there’s a few things we need to straighten out.

Da Mudda:  Well he’s here now. Shall I put him on for you?

Nibs:  Not now, Ma. Get him to call me tomorrow. After 6pm.

Da Mudda:  Ok, will do.

More clanking, deafening digital keystrokes and mild swearing. The Archers disappear into a Smallbone of Devizes vortex and I once again make contact with the Mothership

Da Mudda:  (coughs) Er, hello?

Me:  Hello mother.

Da Mudda:  Ah, you’re there!

Me:  Yes, I am. By the skin of my teeth, but still here. Just.

Da Mudda:  Excellent! So, where were we? Oh yes! Now, which one is the Delete Key again?

Ad nauseam