The Perfect To Do List

The Perfect To Do List

Who doesn’t love a good list at this time of year? I‘m gearing myself up. I’m at the stage of writing lists of the lists I’ll need for next 4 weeks…food, shopping, parties. And then when New Year hits I’ll write some more to-do lists to counteract the effects of it all. This is fine by me because there’s nothing better than the feeling of crossing something off a list. I have been known to add some already completed tasks just for the pleasure of putting a tick by them. How horrifying, then, to hear that according to Secrets of Productive People, Mark Forster argues that lists like mine hamper productivity. The main problem, he explains, is that while our time is limited, the number of things we can add to our list isn’t.  This can leave us assuaging our need to achieve by only attempting to do the things we like, adding yet more tasks and never actually addressing the important items that require disciple. As all list-addicts know, writing lists is a great excuse for doing nothing. Forster has a suggestion: limit yourself to the 5 most important things to achieve right now, and then attempt them in order, only adding new items when you have reduced the list to 2 items, and then only 3 more. So what is really important enough to make it into the top 5 items on your list? Here’s my suggestions (sign in and add your own to the comments section below): Take time to let the people you love, know how much you love them. Pray every day. See the...
An Interview with Ernie at Barrier Park Café

An Interview with Ernie at Barrier Park Café

Ernie is the owner of Natural Speciality, the café in the pavilion in Thames Barrier Park. If you’ve not yet visited, then I would highly recommend it. It’s spacious and open, with views looking out over the park. It’s a great place to meet friends for coffee or relax with a coffee and a book. (Top tip: Remember to take some cash with you as they have a minimum spend on their card machine.) We met with Ernie to find out more about what it’s like to work in Barrier Park and find out more about the area surround Thames Barrier Park. How long have you been running Barrier Park Café? I opened in 2003, so that’s 12 years now. It’s had its ups and downs, as many businesses do but it’s been a great place to work. Do you have any other businesses? This isn’t my only venture; I also have a coffee company in Canary Wharf and my own coffee farm in Nigeria. I learnt early on in my career that when you have a café you need to have a reliable coffee supplier, so I started my own. I visit my farm in Nigeria regularly and it supplies the coffee for my London businesses. How has the area around Barrier Park changed in last few years? There has been so much change! There was no DLR when we first started and the only housing was Barrier Point. All along the North Woolwich Road was empty land and the airport was much quieter too, before it expanded. Now there are so many new people moving here in...
Fall

Fall

I have a Virginia creeper in my back yard. It’s a beautiful disguise for the concrete wall just a few feet from my house. ‘New-builds’ aren’t too generous with outdoor space are they? The leaves are turning the most amazingly vibrant crimson. Over the next few weeks they will burst into flame before melodramatically falling to their death like so many over-enthusiastic actors. Which is what ‘Fall’ is all about. ‘Fall’ is one of the few expressions where American trumps English. Despite the fact that it comes from the Old English word feallan, meaning “to fall or to die”, here in the UK we hardly ever use it, preferring the term ‘autumn’ (the origins of which nobody seems to agree on). It’s an interesting season lying between the autumnal equinox and winter solstice. Its beauty is multifaceted; lively colour and reminders of death. Skeletons of trees revealed as the darkest season of the year approaches. One of the most poignant reflections on this is Clive James’ recent poem Japanese Maple (copied below). James has terminal leukemia and wrote about his anticipation of the beauty autumn would bring to a tree his daughter gave him. For him, this will be, he expects, one final time to witnesses the ‘flood of colours’, and this sight, if he survives to see it, will ‘end the game’ for him. Autumn splendour is like that. It reminds us of what our culture is dead-set to disguise. Death comes, beauty falls, the bare bones of our existence are always eventually revealed. Faith suggests an almost greater lesson from the Fall’s memento mori. Advent is the...