Man Interrupting XII - Planning
Who's saying what
There are many different people in this world but columnists always like to establish binaries, so here’s a decent one; there are two kinds of people in this world: those who know what they’re doing at 8pm next Friday and those who think they might be free tonight, but they can’t be too sure. Surely there’s data somewhere that shows the success rate of men who plan properly and know how to schedule as compared to shambolic idiots such as yours truly who work on the understanding that they’ll never be invited to separate events on the same evening, accept a commitment when they already have one or forget their girlfriend’s graduation and sign up for a wine-tasting session – in another state. They probably had a briefing on it too; and just forgot and went to see Moonrise Kingdom instead.
2012 was the first year I bought a diary and it took me a good three months to start using it. For some reason I’ve always had a massive issue with planning, despite the fact that I love writing things down. In fact, when you tie that up with all the concert tickets I hoard, journals full of witty quotes that I’ve jotted down from books I’ve read and other such wonders, it’s clear that the earlier binary is related to another, namely that I’m really good with keeping up with the past, and terrible at dealing with the future. I rely purely on my memory to tell me what’s happening this October, admittedly something which worked better when I went to school five days a week.
Being unorganised is something frequently associated with the terrain of men, but not entirely justified. I have had publishing managers who can be across six different publications while I can’t even keep track of my own, who have iCal appointments scheduled until 2022 and ensure everything runs smoothly. I’ve also had others who consistently forget every single important meeting ever. There is a crucial piece of information to be gained here, and it’s not as simple as what everyone from my mother to my boss says. ‘Getting organised’ is one thing, but being organised is another. I’m not sure if these men necessarily enjoy their lives more than I, but they certainly never show up the day of a client meeting with nothing to show for it but lunch.
Now, men do have a fear of growing up, which has been around as long as Peter Pan and the forever-ten-years-old Bart Simpson. It is possible that by embracing a bevy of diaries, calendars, intranet systems and god knows what else, we finally acknowledge that we are, in fact, adults. But that doesn’t account for the high-functioning, well-planned corporate types who still act like children at any given opportunity. Rather, I feel that being organised, and not in the way many of us are which is Knowing Stuff Is Happening Today So Bring A Nice Jacket, makes us realise how little of our life we are actually living. Those who are experts at timetabling are fully aware of the way their commitments are slowly eating up every allotted increment of their day. Because they’ve planned gym right after a meeting followed by a work dinner, they’re aware that the only free block of time in their day are the six hours in which they’re going to try and sleep.
This affects how you approach every new morning. Super-organised dudes are the ones you see on the train who totally have their shit on lock but are stressing out anyway. They probably know that they have another twelve days exactly like this one in the pipeline and they won’t smile until annual leave in December. Perhaps that’s scheduled in too for Christmas. I’m not advocating being a slob, because I’m not one either, but there’s a certain magic in waking up and not immediately knowing how much doom is coming your way. It’s the life skills you learn from having to bluff your way out of something you didn’t want to go to, or something else you didn’t prepare for every once in a while.
Besides, this completely isn’t my fault, anyway. I had that thing written down in my diary. I just didn’t open it today.
Lead image via Shutterstock.