Radio 4’s Today Programme, June 18th 2014

18 June 2014

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Radio 4’s Today Programme, June 18th 2014

Vicky is a regular on the Today Programme, Radio 4’s flagship morning show with 7.1 million listeners.

She presented Thought For The Day; the spiritual reflection, and her theme was The World Cup – and time management.

You can listen here on the BBC site.

(If you live outside the UK and that link doesn’t allow you access, click here instead)

To read more about the journalist I mention who read Shakespeare’s entire works in 6 months (Stig Abell) see this fascinating article.


Full script:

This is probably a controversial week to confess that I don’t like football. Everywhere I go, flags are waving and pub signs, billboards and newspapers are talking about the World Cup. Visiting a garden centre, I thought I could find solace and escape the madness, only to come face to face with a collection of small statues decked out in the England kit. A sign above them said: “football’s coming gnome”. Resistance is clearly futile.

Yesterday this programme contained something that made me smile – a specific piece for non-footy fans like me who need survival tips for the World Cup season. Their main advice was to escape the TV set by heading into the great outdoors; replacing crowd noise with bird song, and flashing sponsorship logos with the beauty of trees and sky.

However, according to The Royal Horticultural Society these two don’t have to be an either/or choice. The RHS have produced a rather amusing guide to the World Cup. They suggest football fans could give their gardens some TLC this summer during half-time and lulls in matches. Tasks like weeding or watering, they say, can be broken into 15 minute segments and before you know it, the jobs are done. They also suggest: “Mowing the lawn can be a good way to vent energy during the tournament”. If you’re feeling frustrated during a game they recommend “sharpening knives and secateurs”. Or if it the game’s too tense to watch, they advise relieving some adrenaline by “dead-heading flowers”.

Their recommendations are amusing, but they also make a pertinent point about using spare minutes, like half-time, for a specific task. Small moments add up, like collecting loose change. A smart journalist I know took this approach to his morning commute. Rather than sitting and whiling away time on the Underground, he decided to use each short journey to read a chunk of Shakespeare. Within six months, he’d read Shakespeare’s entire works.

In the book of Psalms, David prays “Teach me to number my days so that I gain a heart of wisdom”. Numbering days and moments, gaining a sense of the priceless value of every second is crucial to making the most of our lives. A few minutes here and there can seem of little worth, but their cumulative, snowballed size over months and years demonstrates that they hold vast potential. For example, just 15 minutes a day, over a whole month adds up to seven and a half hours. Over an entire year, that daily block of 15 minutes adds up to 91 hours – that’s almost 4 whole days.

For the many things we want to achieve but feel unable to fit in to our schedule, perhaps using these in-between moments could be a helpful way to start. Every second we’re given on this planet is a precious commodity, far too valuable to lose to carelessness or distraction. As the Persian writer Omar Khayyam powerfully and poetically put it: “This moment is your life”.