Make a Pancake (Or Eat an Elephant)

Make a PancakeI’m really impressed by my close friend Anne. She’s a hard working (and very present) mum, with a senior role in a full time job, who somehow manages to eek every inch out of life.


Over the years I have witnessed her take every opportunity to travel the world, giving her daughter wonderful experiences in many different cultures, maintain a beautiful walled garden, support her daughter’s developing interests in dancing and learning to ride a bike, play a musical instrument, and still have the energy to make amazing pancakes for breakfast. It was during a weekend visit, I had an insight into how she makes this possible.


It was a Sunday morning, and the usual early start for our girls, who, as many young children do, awoke with enviable energy and vitality ready to greet the day at 6.00 am.


Having taken the time to come round (sometime later I might add- such is the beauty of a friend who gives the rare gift of a lie in when visiting), I wrapped myself up in my dressing gown and traced the sound of the girls’ giggles to Anne’s bedroom, where she was sitting up in bed reading a story to the girls whilst supping a warm cup of tea and enjoying a cheeky chocolate biscuit.


‘Good mornings’ were exchanged and after reading a series of stories between us to the girls, it was time to head downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast. I was just a few minutes behind Anne, but by the time I arrived downstairs, she was pouring pancake mixture into a pre heated pan; a bowl of chopped fresh fruits on the kitchen side, the kettle on and the table set ready for a feast; all with the grace and calmness that the Dalai Lama would be enviable of.


I can recall the moment so vividly……..How does she do that?


A series of searching questions later, I discovered that whilst waiting for the kettle to boil at 6am, Anne had made the batter, washed and chopped the fruit and laid everything out, before heading back up-stairs to enjoy the company of our daughters from the comfort of her bed.


These simple preparations for making breakfast, had given her a head start. With the preparation out of the way, she was able to speed up the delivery of food to hungry tummies (my own included which had been tempted by the alluring of the smell of the pancakes cooking), chat with her visitor and engage with both our daughters, whilst simultaneously removing the potential stress of working against the clock.


When I later reflected on her behaviour, I realised that this was the approach she took to life and was the reason why she was able to achieve so much. Her secret? ….she simply broke every task down into sizeable chunks, and completed them bit by bit, in much the same way one would approach Eating an Elephant!


To coin a Cadbury’s Crème Egg advertising phrase…How do YOU eat yours?


Let’s make life work!




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