We All Need One More Day

This January I resolved to be more brisk and businesslike in future. Here’s how well it’s going so far:

The other day, using all my notverygood talents, I was discussing a deadline for a piece of work. I thought I’d done very well in setting a date that was realistic for both parties, and was both surprised and hurt when the client said gently that it wasn’t possible. Never at a loss for a witty riposte, I fired back: ‘Why not?’

‘Because,’ came the weary-sounding reply, ‘there’s no such date as 30 February.’

How we did laugh! Well, come to think of it, he didn’t. But I’ve been pondering this exchange, and I realise that the reason I asked for 30 February is that I badly want at least one extra day in every year. (Or possibly every month.) I surely can’t be alone in this. How about one day added on to, or included in, every year – we could choose it by lottery to start with- purely as an extra? No celebrations, no obligations, no botherations: just pure catching-up time to do what we like with.

What shall we call it?



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Where Was I? I Have No Idea

Hello, dear readers, if there are any of you left after all this time?

A mere 6 months after my last post, here I am taking time out of my hectic schedule to write another.

The last one, as I recall, was about idling. I’d love to be able to say I stopped writing because I was too busy idling, but it wouldn’t be true. What is true is that, like any notverygood, I’ll take any excuse to get distracted.

And getting distracted is very, very easy. All those lovely shiny things on the internet, and all the hours you can spend happily doing nothing at all … I’ve done some detailed research on this involving, oh, at least three people, and it looks as if there may be others out there who are getting a bit concerned about just how much of our time seems to get eaten up online.

So I’m now trying to do a bit more blogging and writing generally – if only because  ‘energetic Googler’ isn’t really enough to put on a CV under Hobbies – and if anyone reads this who also sometimes feels we’re overdoing it a bit with social media, please get in touch. And yes, I do realise that I’m using social media to ask people for ideas on spending less time on social media! I never was very good at logic.


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None of the Above

You know those quizzes you can take to find out your personality type/work style/tastes? And you know how none of the options in the quizzes ever quite fits? Or that may be just me.

Anyway, I think I may have found out why nothing ever seems to fit: why I’ve never managed to find out my work style, or whether I’m a team player or a lone wolf or anything else. It’s because they aren’t asking the right questions.

So I’ve devised my own, very short quiz instead, and have now definitively worked out my personality type. By all means give it a go:

1. If offered a challenge, do you

a) welcome it?

b) hide under the bed till it goes away?

2. If you suddenly became a millionaire, what would you do?

a) Invest in a thrilling new opportunity

b) Nothing. Well, maybe a little light gardening. No, ‘nothing’ probably covers it.

3: Which of the following is more often said to you?

a) You are such a force of nature – how do you do it?

b) Still here? I thought you left hours ago.


If you answered mostly b), then you can give up doing questionnaires for life, because you don’t need them. You are, like me, a type not catered for by your bog-standard personality quiz: the genuine idler.

More on this topic when I’ve got the energy. Have a peaceful weekend!




Ten Green Thumbs

I noticed something odd this morning as I was scowling over my accounts. A sort of yellow light, pushing in through the window. So I went to investigate, and there it was:

Sun! Spring sun, in fact. Yes, it’s back. Seems barely a year since last time. Well, we all know what this means: it means work. It means nosy splinters of sunshine poking into dusty corners and writing CLEAN ME over every surface. Even worse, it means gardening work: digging, and seed packets, and staggering about with watering cans only to find it starts raining 3 minutes after you’ve finished.

What’s more, I’ve tested all this under scientific conditions and I can confirm that plants catch weird diseases and die, or kill each other off, whether I look after them or not. In fact, the more I look after them the worse they get. Which should mean that the perfect solution is … to go on holiday and let them all get on with it.

So that’s my gardening tip. Next week: maintaining the notverygood home. Enjoy the spring!

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A Brilliant New Career for Notverygoods Everywhere

Some months ago I started the search for the perfect job for the Notverygood. Since then I’ve been working (not very hard, of course) on behalf of us all, and am happy to say that I’ve finally found it – the career for Notverygoods everywhere!

I got the idea last week, while someone was patiently trying to help me understand the workings of an online calendar (sort of got it now, but still managed to cancel all appointments yesterday and had to put them back one by one):

I’m going to be an Instruction Tester.

I’ve done some googling and it looks as if this gaping hole in our society hasn’t been filled yet. No wonder so many of us spend so much time throwing things at computers, stamping on our new flatpack furniture and so on, while wailing ‘But I followed the instructions – why won’t it work?’

What all the makers and designers should do is: employ a genuine, certified, highly trained Notverygood to keep trying and failing to assemble, install or use new products until finally we find a way of explaining them  that nobody – not even me – can get wrong.

Imagine seeing a package or device that carried an assurance: ‘The instructions for use for this product have been tested on some of the most inept people in the world, who still managed to follow them.’ Wouldn’t you be more likely to buy it?

So now I’m off to Ikea to pitch this. Or would it be better to start with something more modest, like how to use a tin opener? Better not get ahead of myself.

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A New Kind of New Year’s Resolution

Happy new year (I was about to say, before looking at the calendar and realising I’m nearly three weeks too late for that).

It’s taken me all this time to realise that 1) it is, in fact, January and 2) (stop press) I’m not getting any younger. (Do let me know if you ever meet anyone who is, in fact, getting younger.)

Of course, wasting time is one of those things I am actually quite good at (there will be a blog post dedicated to this noble art, for anyone who hasn’t quite got the hang of it) but as I hurtle deeper into middle age I begin to think it might be a good idea to try and be a little more careful with it.

So what next? As a notverygood I’m not about to start developing talents I don’t possess, or fulfilling ambitions I was much too lazy to have in the first place. So here’s a more modest resolution.

Whatever you’re doing: if you’re not enjoying it and nobody’s life depends on it, stop. Or at least think about ways of doing less of it in future. One thing we do all know about the future is that you never have as much of it today as you did yesterday.

Yes, I think I’ll be able to stick with this one (any resolution with ‘doing less’ in it works for me). How about you?


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Notverygood Wishes for a Nottoobad Christmas

I’ve been pondering what sort of greetings would suit a notverygood Christmas card range, but well, couldn’t come up with any good ones. So I’d like to end my posts for 2016 by wishing anyone who reads this:

  • an edible Christmas dinner (with no major injuries if you’re the one cooking it)
  • few family fights
  • no sitting down on a holly wreath left on your chair
  • at least one cracker that does what it’s supposed to

and above all, a nottoobad 2017!


… And Call Off Christmas!

It’s always a bit of a shock around this time of year: I leave my lair to do a bit of essential shopping and find myself being mugged by gangs of (admittedly quite small and squeaky) youths singing carols and rattling collection tins in a marked manner. How can this be? Surely it’s only October?

Well, I’m not very good at forward planning, obviously, but I can’t help noticing that the approach of Christmas sends a whole lot of people into the state of panic that we notverygoods get to enjoy all the year round. Small talk in December opens with ‘All ready for Christmas?’ and  we now talk about ‘doing Christmas’ as in ‘doing overtime’ or ‘doing 100 push-ups’.

So how about we drop the whole thing this year? Or else work it all out in such a way that everyone can actually enjoy themselves?

Next week I’ll try and come up with a not very cunning plan, unless anyone has one already?


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How to Rule the World While Not Being Very Good at Anything

Looking back on 2016, I’m slightly stunned to see how  Notverygoods seem to be running quite a lot of the world.  How, with a triumphant total of 8 subscribers *, has this movement managed to spread its message so far?

Well, now we know. It’s all down to something called the Dunning-Kruger effect. People who are good at knowing things will be way ahead of me on this, as indeed on everything: but to those who didn’t know about it either, the Dunning-Kruger effect can be summed up as:

a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is.

Just three hours of head-scratching later and I’ve worked out what this means: the less you know, the more you think you know. In fact, the less you know, the less likely you are to have any idea of how much you don’t know.

The more I think about this, the more sense it makes. I wonder how long Notverygoods have been in charge without them or anyone else realising it?

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Don’t Be Happy: Worry

I have a terrible confession to make: it looks like I may turn out to be good at something after all. And that something is … worrying.

Many notverygoods can go all week trying and failing to come up with a useful idea or an original thought, but when it comes to worrying, the imagination just soars. Why is it, I often wonder, that if you ask us to visualise something fairly simple – let’s say, the dimensions of a shelf you might want to put something on – we can barely work out what the thing is, let alone picture it; but picturing 6 varieties of apocalypse is a standard pre-breakfast warm-up to get the day off to a good start.

It was when I realised that I was managing to worry about a penniless old age and an early, painful death in the same moment (I’m perfectly healthy, by the way) that I began to wonder if this should be seen as some sort of talent. I know all too well that I’m not alone – could there be a way of creating some sort of international worrying contest? Take a scenario – like a nice sunny morning on a public holiday – and see who can find he most reasons to worry about it in the shortest time? Let’s put our talents to good use!

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