Category Archives: home improvements

Time is of the Essence – –

Jack uses a time management tool to get his post up on time –

When I was first promoted (to everyone’s surprise, including my own) to head of the construction department at Lauder College in Scotland, I was immediately overwhelmed by the tasks I was faced with. But eventually two things saved me.

The first was learning how to delegate, which more or less happened by accident. What I learned was that, given half a chance, people will take on tasks if it’s something they enjoy and if they feel competent to do them well. As long as I remembered I was still responsible it worked.

The second is really what this post is about –

A member of the senior management introduced me to a time management tool that has stuck with me ever since. I later discovered it’s called ‘The Eisenhower Matrix’ and many variations have evolved over the years. The closest to the one I used is pictured above.

I used this tool so much that eventually I didn’t have to put it on a white board on my office wall – it just sat in my head.

After I retired I continued to work as a self-employed training consultant, so the matrix continued to be my fundamental template for organizing my work. Even when we moved to Big Stone Gap I was running a bookstore, organizing a Celtic festival, an annual group tour of Scotland and still gigging – so time management was still important.

You might think that after closing the bookstore, the Celtic festival and moving to Wytheville that I wouldn’t need a time management aid, but I still find it hovering – even with everyday domestic tasks.

The only thing is that I’ve no one to delegate to anymore, although when it comes to looking after our vegetable gardens Wendy tells me I’m management and she’s labor.

Finally – I am and always have been a serial procrastinator. So given the choice between vacuuming the floors or checking FaceBook  – – –

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

The Muckin o Geordie’s Byre – –

Jack thought it might be a good idea to get his Wednesday guest post up on a Wednesday – –

This week saw two important tasks finally achieved.

Back in November we were worried about whether our chickens might be frozen over the winter, but we discovered that leaving their poop lying in the coop would keep it fairly warm. So a win for everyone! But, of the course, the chickens always come home to roost, so I finally had to ‘muck out the byre/coop’ this week and put fresh straw over their floor. It’s probably a very good job I don’t have any sense of smell.

The other job was really odd. When we moved here we were a bit surprised to find that all the upstairs room had doors, but none of the ground floor rooms had. But we have five cats that we need to corral from time to time. So a few months ago I installed a folding door between our ‘ceilidh room’ and our sitting room/library. That was so that we would have some possibility of shutting the cats somewhere.

But it didn’t really help much to keep them out of the kitchen where they are inclined to get under our feet – or even on the counters! So, today I installed another folding door where the kitchen heads to the sitting room.

Fitting these doors is meant to be a breeze, but nothing ever is! The available space in an old house like ours is never the same size as the door, so a fair bit of ‘surgery’ was required. Despite the relatively light weight of the doors it’s still heavy going to position them. The other problem is when you have to add a length of wood to mount the top rail to and can’t find the right length of screws to fix it.

However everything worked out eventually.

The chickens are happy and so is Wendy – – -which means all is right with the world. Eggs for everyone.


Filed under animal rescue, between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch