Responding Faster – has slowed us all down.

The world has changed, but it has also remained the same. Recalling the motto, “Everything we do, we do with, for, or because of someone else,” we have always relied on other people to help us get done what we feel has to (could be or might) be done. Always. But in the pre-internet days, we also happily accepted that everything needed time. Then along came e-mail, texting and other IT tools and we forgot. And in forgetting, we changed as much as our world did.

An example: Hyrum Smith told a story which rings so true, these days. He said, “When my grandfather missed a train, he waited a day until the next train. When my father missed a plane, he waited an hour or two for the next one. When I miss a section in a revolving door, I go NUTS!”

Isn’t that true? I sometimes find myself frustrated because Google is taking a whole second – a WHOLE one – to return with an answer to a query. An answer that thirty years ago would have required a visit to the local library, searching for the right book, chapter and page before going back home again. But now, if my ISP is slow and it takes a second, I feel the blood boiling.

Having been trained by the wonders of t’Internet to expect an immediate response to any query, we expect the same of people. If they haven’t returned your text immediately, what are the ignorant swines doing? If I haven’t received a reply to my e-mail within a day – why are you ignoring me; I’m important.

Coincidentally, we see the emergence of the term Mindfulness. (Not to mention everyone in the world has written a book about it.) This is the AMAZING and INSIGHFUL and NEW ‘science’ of – sitting and waiting. Of not getting caught up in the hustle and bustle that we created in the first place. Of being patient and allowing things to just ‘be’.

Like they were in the early 1980s, a time when we HAD time. Expectations were still based around getting everything done as quick as reasonably possible, but the timescales were days and weeks, not ‘by the end of the shift’. And the world got by quite well. Paradoxically, as we live in a world where a lot of IT-related guff is available NOW, and communication is almost instant, we also see demands massively increased, ‘demand timescales’ shrunk to ‘I want it now’, and what has happened?

Trials take three years to get to court. DUH!

As Jeff Goldblum put it in the film ‘Jurassic Park’ (the first one, which is the same as the other five but at least it was original), “We are so busy doing things because we can, that we never give any thought about whether we should.” Don’t get me started on how disclosure demands went from ‘reasonable lines of enquiry in the case at hand’ to ‘everything everyone has ever thought of, ever’.

Meanwhile your time management/self-management training consists of

No, that’s not a misprint. That gap represents the entire time management input anyone below the rank of Inspector has ever got.

In a nutshell, then – everyone wants everything now, so you have to provide it ‘now’, and because you have occasionally provided it ‘now’, everyone thinks ‘now’ is not only possible, but routine. Everything is a priority – and as a result, nothing is a priority. It all has to be done yesterday.

They’re wrong. There is a massive amount of management and leadership material saying so. But that’s the management literature no-one seems to be reading.

Read my book, or one like it, learn to manage yourself in the context of time, or time will continue to manage you. And there are enough supervisors around without adding time.

Published by policetimemanagement

30 year policing veteran and time management authority. Now I've combined the two.

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