Having accomplished

Photo (altered) by Andrey Grushnikov from Pexels
There is that lull
Where you can’t unhook
from sinkhole hours lost
to nothing with nothing
to show for it.

Having completed no task,
cursory to dos
eating, basics, coffees, two
evening closes in
and mad-desperate panic
of IS THIS ALL YOU LEAVE?
will be your watching gong
of dervish disappointment.

17/05/2020


With a book token I was gifted for my birthday, I bought Four Thousand Weeks (by Oliver Burkeman). The title comes from the calculation that if one lives eighty years, one lives four thousand weeks. (I find this calculation as terrifying as the estimation one will spend 80,000 to 90,000 hours in the Day Job in one’s lifetime.) Four Thousand Weeks is about how one may, or may not, make best use of this time. In some accounts, it is identified as a time management book for not managing one’s time. What I took from reading the book is, you will do what you will do – and will not do what you will not get around to doing.

Which is an apt start for this Monday morning (25th October 2021). I have a week’s leave ahead of me, during which I intend to accomplish All Manner of Things: 7,000 word output for a study deadline, Korean language homework, exercise, bleaching and washing the white towels and getting a stain out of some linen. There was this post that in my mind I’d prepare for a 10am posting; here we are nearing midday. Usually I join an online writing group for 7am(ish). It was during that slot I was planning to write this post. I slept through and would still happily be resting my aching self under the duvet, only – really – it’s nearing midday.

This poem is very similar to What is it even all for?, which was posted back in March as Airtime will be of little use. Of course, we get things done day-to-day, week-to-week. It astounds me though, that I and so many of us, have this ability to sidestep the big project. The “big, hairy, audacious task” as time management lingo might call it. It’s no surprise that a whole industry, which in turn can morph into procrastination, has ballooned around setting out to conquer your BHAT to do.

The sinkhole in this poem may refer to that moment in a day, or when you’re reviewing your week, when you realise, there is no time left to make significant or minute inroads into your BHAT or SmaTs (smaller tasks). For me, that’s usually 11pm. At 6pm, I convince myself I have another 2 to 3 hours to accomplish a few items. The most dangerous is the mornings, when I’m convinced – at 7am – I’m going to Get Stacks Done with my fresh brain before 9am or 10am. My aching, tired self protests and it takes a lot to overcome this do otherwise.

Yet, as Burkeman suggests, here I am having done the thing I was going to do and having not done the thing I have not done. The October 2021 blog post is complete and 600 words of study writing and a short jog are still on the list. I have resigned to being underprepared for tonight’s Korean lesson and have had my first cup of coffee for the day.

This poem is in Necessary Work, an unreleased collection that BeadedQuill has in the wings. In the meantime have a look at Jangle between Jangle, a collection of verse written in 2018 while jangling to-and-fro during the London commute.

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Published by BeadedQuill

Author of over 300 poems, also books, essays and short stories. Published in the Johannesburg Review of Books, Carapace and Type/Cast. BeadedQuill's titles are for sale via Blurb.co.uk

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