It's T-time

29th June 2007 at 01:00
Recently I have been concerned with the two big T factors in my life: time and tiredness. The former seems to be constantly slipping away from me and the latter keeps coming back.

Yes, I know it's nearly over. We are in the final throes of the academic year; that last little segment of term with all its post-exam, sunny weather, winding-down cheer. But no matter how many days I try to soak up with class trips and sport events, there are still lessons to be taught and jobs to be done.

The two Ts are aggravating this issue. Last week, during a generous window of PPA time, they made themselves uncomfortably noticeable. I had a whole afternoon at my disposal - a chance to delve into the depths of overdue paperwork hell and hopefully come out the other side with a relieved grin on my face.

As I sat among my files, mentally calculating how many seconds I could allocate to each task, an unwholesome feeling came over me - a concentration-draining, mind-swamping tiredness like never before, one which would inevitably prohibit me from making any kind of progress with the afternoon's paper trail.

Was it an allergic reaction to end-of-year reports? Or just an honest dose of mental exhaustion? Either way, I was stuck with a problem: for once I had the time, but none of the mental faculties to use it purposefully.

I made a feeble attempt to move piles of paper from one side of my desk to the other. I even made a list of things to do (lists are so full of promise). But as soon as the afternoon biscuits came out, I found my hand sliding uncontrollably towards the computer keyboard and starting to type the word Hotmail.

Ah, a happy half hour spent catching up on emails and filtering through the dodgy comedy circulars that friends in so-called office jobs seem to always have time to send. Then a 20-minute gossip with other easily distracted colleagues about the indignities of the Big Brother house and other such trash, followed by a stroll to the local shop for an ice-lolly. And lastly, my PPA time was finished off with a round of planning file tennis (if you hold the files firmly shut they make excellent bats, and a scrunched up Sats paper is the ideal ball).

That kind of tiredness is a bit like being drunk. The brain loses focus and gets drawn into foolery. Alas, it also has its hangover. I woke up the next morning with the dreadful recollection that, as a result of achieving nothing the day before, I still had it all to do. And no more PPA to do it in Louisa Leaman is a London teacher

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