"You must be a busy man, Patrick" So everybody tells me

I wish I had one of those proverbial 'hot dinners' for every time I've been stopped in the street and told how busy I must be.

It's true of course. And I am about to get busier still.

But not, perhaps in quite the way most people might imagine.

Relatively little of my time is spent in dramatic chases after our political 'heavy-hitters' on their whistle-stop tours of the key marginals.

Even less at Westminster: whether criticism of the 'Zombie Parliament' is fair or not, there is no doubt that the general legislative machine is running out of steam, notwithstanding the inevitable sound and fury that will accompany George Osborne's pre-election Budget in a fortnight's time.

So what exactly is it that's keeping me out of mischief?

The answer comes under the general heading of 'getting all our ducks in a row'. What I am working on now will come to fruition as the campaign intensifies when Parliament is prorogued at the end of this month and, especially, as polling day, Thursday 7 May, draws near.

Recently, for example, I have been working with my colleagues, the political reporters in each of our West Midlands local newsrooms, to compile profiles of our constituencies as part of the BBC's election briefings for our journalists here and across the country.

I have also prepared a presentation which I will take with me on a memory stick when my 'election roadshow' visits each of our newsrooms in Birmingham, Coventry, Worcester, Shrewsbury and Stoke.

Later this week, I will take part in a detailed planning session when we work out our precise staffing arrangements and deployments from election night though the counts the following day and into what could still be an unfolding drama during the days and weeks that follow: some of the most important judgements in journalism are less about what we write or say on air, but where and how we choose to invest our treasures in terms of our staff and resources deployments.

But perhaps my most important job during this preparatory phase is to play my part in recruiting the final members of our dedicated political team to bring us up to full strength.

Oh yes, and then there is the output!

I am currently mapping out the interviews for this weekend's 'Sunday Politics' (11.00 BBC One Sunday 8 March 2015). But I am also starting to get my head around what will be a first for me.

Live Q&A Facebook from 1pm on Monday 9 March

We know many of you go online first to find out what we have to say for ourselves, without waiting for the transmission times of our various programmes. You are doing this right now!

So let's make a date for my first live Q&A on the Midlands Today Facebook page from 1 o'clock on Monday. Let me know what issues you think will decide how you vote in May, the questions you want me to put to the political leaders and anything else you may want to get off your chest for that matter.

Now that beats stopping me on the street!