I’m running hopelessly behind on my to-do list this week. My workload has been compounded by a conference-speaking commitment that I agreed to many months ago when my diary for March looked conspicuously empty. Sadly that conference now looks capable of tipping me completely out of control before the weekend.
I am being chased by the organisers for my slides in advance. I tell them that I will post them later today and they suggest I email them instead to save time. In a bid to buy myself a little more time, I advise them that the images are very large and that they will be difficult to email.
I am on the verge of securing temporary respite when the organiser phones me back with details of a special FTP site where I can download my slides, thus avoiding Royal Mail and any email file server hurdles.
The game is up. I am like a desperate teenager who hasn’t done his homework. Should I fess up and plead for an extension or blame my PA for failing to upload my slides?
“The time management courses that I was sent off to earlier in my career have had little impact”
After careful strategic thought I opt for the latter route and carefully screen my mobile.
Talk about self-inflicted stress. I am a master of it. The time management courses that I was sent off to earlier in my career have had little impact. I have always taken things to the wire and part of me isn’t happy doing anything early.
Having spent an inordinate amount of time dodging the chasing pack, reality dawns that I still have to write my slides. At midnight I find myself watching Sky Sports News with my laptop short on battery. I manage to spend the next hour or so fiddling around with fonts, text sizes and images, still avoiding the real task in waiting.
I’m not sure why I get myself into such a spin. I enjoy public speaking and am not nervous about it at all.
Luckily I am a big believer in not too many slides, so I eventually submit a few big pictures and rely on my adrenaline to deliver on the day. At least I won’t be accused of reading my slides or over-running on time.
What’s the worst that can happen? I could follow the lead of Burger King’s CEO with a misguided off-the-cuff sexist remark. Bet he didn’t have that on his slides. As a faux pas goes, that was a Whopper.