A series of short articles on everything, from practical ways of getting things done, to how to handle your feelings and find peace in a hectic world.

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129. Another Year, Another Chance

A new year is just a date in the calendar, I know, but it is extraordinarily powerful nevertheless. So many people I meet have plans in place for this year - diets, exercise, new jobs, new hobbies, new partners. Here's something that might help those plans to reach fruition.... Many years ago, when I was a registrar in public health, I had a boss called Ken. Described in an article once as 'a mop-top maverick', he was bright, innovative and fun. One day I was in his office discussing a letter I'd received from an angry member of the public. It was not the first letter this person had sent and I had responded on each occasion, but nothing I said seemed to make any difference. Ken leaned

128. The Season of Goodwill

Christmas is a wonderful time of year but it also has its stresses, and Christmas and stress don't always add up goodwill, do they? Here's something that could help. Can you believe how quickly Christmas creeps up? One minute you're relaxing in November thinking its ages and ages till Christmas, bemoaning the appearance of Christmas paraphernalia in the shops, and looking down a little on the super-organised people who are already getting their Christmas cards written and then, suddenly, it's only two weeks to go and you realise that you haven't even bought your Christmas cards, let alone written them. You then go to Marks and Spencer to buy those lovely new white poinsettias they've got