It is a fault of many (most) time-management books and courses that an important influence over how well we spend our time is completely ignored. I don’t ignore it as much in Police Time Management .
Although that said, more could be written – but then this 300-page ‘practice manual’* could easily turn biblical in proportion and the objective is to apply useful strategies, not get a degree in the subject of time and self-management.
The missing heading is ‘Relationships’ and I KNOW some people stooped reading there but bear with me.
Relationships must, without question, be the biggest influence over time because its relationships that create, obstruct, enable and provide meaning to the tasks that fill it. Nothing we do is done unless it is done for, with or because of someone else. Victims report crimes; people have collisions on the roads; resources are obtained, disseminated and maintained by people other than users. And it isn’t necessarily a matter of a one-to-one relationship – when interviewing a suspect there may be a solicitor, appropriate adult and an interpreter all in a small room, each with differing perspectives and needs that occasionally conflict – and that’s even before you say, “This interview is being video-recorded….)
Therefore, how you manage relationships matters. And before you do any of that, how you manage your part in the relationship matters. You can adopt a combative, confrontational approach but that wastes time. Even if the other parties adopt such an attitude, you’d be surprised how choosing to be flexible within the constraints of the ‘relationship’ (i.e. the rules which dictate any practices and protocols pursuant to the event undertaken) can result in beneficial compromise on the part of the ‘opposition’. And suddenly people aren’t arguing, demanding, insisting, competing for space, and so on.
In the book I include a chapter on Meetings, but expand the term to include one-on-ones, street and custody interviews, and even daily shift briefings. They’re all meetings, with different purposes yet the same ends – disseminating or obtaining information. And time is saved if the approach is properly considered and applied.
To be frank, a 500-word blog won’t cut it in terms of expanding on the subject, and I hope you don’t mind if I don’t merely quote verbatim from a book I’m trying to sell (cheaply).
The objective of this article is to re-open your eyes to a truth sometimes lost in the busy-ness of the working day – that communication is best conducted in two ways, not one. Not just telling it, but listening, too. And often, when combat begins, it can be calmed by a simple question carefully put (so it doesn’t sound sarcastic) – “What is your underlying concern?”
You see, people demanding stuff seldom start with an explanation of why they want it – they just make the demand. But when the demand has a reasonable motive clearly stated – how much time is saved when it can be granted for that very reason? Or at least an agreement is made, one which addresses the concern rather than the demand, and is thus more emotionally balanced – and acceptable – “to all here present, M’Lud?”
Relationships – the poor, but important member of the time management family. Even defence solicitors need love.
(*About the same size as a Blackstone’s Promotion Guide on one of the four key areas, but a lot more useful if you aren’t seeking promotion. 😊)