“The best laid plans o’ mice an’ men”…and women who are trying their best to be organised “gang aft agley” in catastrophic ways.

“I want to tell you what happened…but it’s not easy”.

Readers, it all started so well.  What’s that old adage?  Pride comes before a fall?  Oh yes, pride most definitely came before a fall.  Or, to put it more accurately, pride in myself for being organised and kicking butt with my new morning routine came before I was forced to do an emergency stop with painful consequences… but I get ahead of myself.

To start at the beginning, I should begin by saying that I’ve had a pretty good start to my new year of improved organisation.  Two weeks into the new year and I was gradually starting to build a routine and had developed a good attitude of getting work done so it’s not hanging over me.  This has meant choosing to remain at work that little bit later each day to finish off some marking or planning and it’s also meant that I’m not taking work home, aside from a bit at weekends as that’s unavoidable.  It feels good and, as much as I hate to admit it, I wish I’d done as my mum suggested and adopted this practice when I was a student, rather than the teacher.  But then, it was mum’s suggestion, which made it categorically impossible for me to follow – it’s in the rules of being a teenager, as I’m sure all those of you who have been teenagers are well aware.

My routine was nothing special at this stage.  I had made little changes and they were working.  I think it was week 1 of the New Year that I designed a morning routine and so far it had only stuck in places but I was fine with that and, on the 14th of January, I felt ready to think about refining it.

I started with two “musts”
 Start the day with water.  glass-water-lemon-mint-14766062  This was a tip I got as a result of my Pinterest research about being successful.  One thing that struck me was how many well-known successful people drink water rather than coffee first thing in the morning.  Coffee seems, in popular culture, to be a symbol of power, energy and success – hence why I think so many people tend towards it.  It’s quite glamorous and, apparently, a little bit sexy….  GeorgeHowever, when I really thought about it, the water thing made sense.  In my first year at uni I’d suffered from dehydration and, once hydrated, I had compliments on my skin (hadn’t realised I looked so rough!) and my reaction times were much faster when playing badminton – I was even asked to play for the uni team!  It was an incredible experience.  I felt amazing as I returned shot after shot from close to the net, and people complimented me on my speed.  Water, therefore, is now an essential.

Get out of the door by 6.30.  Having a set time to get out of the door allows me to ensure I can be at my desk in good time to get some admin bits done before the main tasks of the day begin.  This leaves me 1hr to get ready in the mornings.  Therefore, my before bed routine is as important as my morning routine.  This led me to my third “must”.

Have a before bed routine. 
It’s the mornings when we are most pushed for time, when those little unforeseen things happen that can set us back.  It makes sense, then, to get as much of that stuff out of the way as possible the night before.  Consider things like:

* Choosing and setting out your outfit for the next day.
* Making a packed lunch for work – saves money and is healthier than grabbing something “to go”
* Check your diary, e-mails etc. and put everything you’ll need for the next day near to the door.  (I forgot this one last night and had to go back inside three times this morning!)
* Clear the sink and take out the trash – nothing sets you up for the day like having a clean kitchen to come down to.
* Man or woman, I’d also recommend a cleansing routine – taking time to pamper yourself.


For more on routines for productivity and success, see the relevant post (which I haven’t written yet so it will be a few days!)

That done, I could set about building my morning routine.

  • 5.30 alarm
  • drink my water
  • wash my face (cold water helps me avoid the snooze button)
  • bootcamp exercise (google 10m workout vids for a quick energy burst in the morning)
  • shower, dress, feed cats, eat breakfast
  • take hubby a cup of tea for when his alarm goes off at 6.20 (lucky bugger)

and we’re off!

I was so proud of myself – including the three unplanned trips back into the house, I was still in my car and on my way by 6.40am and had had time to make myself a flask of healthy herbal tea.

So here’s where it all unravelled…

Parked in a traffic jam, I thought that it was a good opportunity to sneak a sip of my herbal tea.  BIG mistake.  My new flask, it turns out, is excellent.  I spat the scalding water out in shock and popped the flask back into the cup-holder, looking around frantically for something cold and finding nothing.  Lips burning, tongue no longer feeling natural, I eased the car across lanes of traffic (not easy when everyone was parked with their feet up) and took the slip road to a convenient services, where I dashed inside, almost forgetting to lock the car, and raced for the fridge.  Opening a bottle of water, I took a great relieving swig before joining the queue – something I’d never normally do but this was an emergency.

Having paid and feeling much better, I started off on my journey again, having resolved never to drink something hot in the car again. Still feeling alright, I continued happily on my way, rejoining the main carriageway.

Then an HGV decided it liked the look of my lane.  More specifically, my spot in my lane.

I was forced to do an emergency stop and miraculously I avoided being hit by the HGV and the car behind me, seeing as I had the danger ahead, had also stopped in a timely fashion, leaving my rear bumper intact.

However, my flask was no longer in the cup holder as the action of my emergency stop had flung it forward and somersaulting out of said cup holder and towards the footwell on my side, spilling scalding hot liquid all down my thigh.  Yelping, I grabbed at the flask, only managing instead to tip it upside down into the other footwell but that was the least of my problems.  My thigh was burning and, with no services for another 10 miles, I had no way of making it stop.  In my haste to pull into a services after the first burning incident, I’d neglected to put the cap onto my flask and then had forgotten all about it on my return.  Now, somewhere on the A2, I had to resort to pouring cold water from the bottle onto my leg and thigh, soaking the seat and myself.


  • Planning does not guarantee success
  • Herbal tea is dangerous
  • The car is no place for a flask
  • Nancy Drew had it right when she packed an emergency bag in her boot!

So my journey to improved efficiency has a little way to go and, for all my meticulous planning, something still went wrong so remember: when you see those yummy mummies making everything look effortless, or when a stilettoed, powersuited woman glides effortlessly to work, coffee in hand…


You’re only seeing the staged performance of everyone else’s lives and the only back stage you see is yours.  Theirs is probably just as messy!



One thought on ““The best laid plans o’ mice an’ men”…and women who are trying their best to be organised “gang aft agley” in catastrophic ways.

  1. Am liking that last paragraph, very true! We all get days like that (not exactly like that but you get my drft). Remember that tomorrow is another day. All the best with the new routine. X


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