Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Don't be busy

General Slim's day in wartime Burma, fighting the Japanese, "the most formidable fighting insect in history":

6:30            get up
7:00            look at overnight messages
7.30 - 8.00   breakfast with air commanders and principal staff officers
8.30            attend joint air and land intelligence conference
                  other business
Lunch, talking shop with colleagues
                  more office business, then...
3.00            leave office
                  read a novel for an hour
                  go for a walk in the cooler air, accompanied by a member of staff
7.30 - 9.30  dinner, then mess bar for a drink and talk
9.30            last visit to ops room
10.00          bed

"I had seen too many of my colleagues crack under the immense strain of command in the field not to realize that, if I were to continue, I must have ample leisure in which to think, and unbroken sleep. Generals would do well to remember that, even in war, 'the wisdom of a learned man cometh by opportunity of leisure.' Generals who are terribly busy all day and half the night, who fuss round, posting platoons and writing march tables, wear out not only their subordinates but themselves. Nor have they, when the real emergency comes, the reserve of vigour that will then enable them, for days if necessary, to do with little rest or sleep."

Field Marshal Viscount Slim, "Defeat Into Victory", Pan Books (1999 edn.), pp.222-223


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A K Haart said...

I say - new wallpaper and furniture?

Sackerson said...

Spring is in the air.