And you aren’t (necessarily) an executive, with a secretary – sorry, personal assistant – to manage your tasks and appointments. You fall somewhere in between, and if you compare yourself to other professional service providers you’ll find that you can easily match your working style to other professionals whose work requires constantly managing appointments, tasks, interruptions etc,. For example, like a lawyer or a doctor.
But unlike them, without a dedicated administrator to manage those events. Or the money. When YOU get a case, YOU have to do the paperwork, YOU have to file it, YOU have to manage your appointments, YOU are responsible for your diary. Just YOU.
And at the same time, EVERYTHING that goes wrong will be YOUR FAULT.
That’s your policing existence. All the responsibility and accountability, but none of the physical assistance.
How do most colleagues manage this? With a To Do List which, despite the ever present mobile device is more than likely on a bit of A4 paper.
Regular reader of my posts will say I am banging on, but I make two ripostes to that criticism.
- Not everyone has read the earlier posts: and
- If YOU have read it and are still managing by A4, handwritten, poorly-managed To Do List – you aren’t heeding the advice.
As a front-line officer or entry-level staff member you might think you’re a widget-cranker, who just does whatever she is told, turns up, cranks widgets for the amount of contracted time and then goes home. You are unbelievably wrong. You are a thinker, a knowledge worker, someone whose opinions are important and impactive upon any given result. And when you aren’t at work, do you ‘crank’ your hobbies, relationships, social life, fitness efforts and so on? No. you don’t crank widgets at home.
What system do YOU use to manage yourself – at work or at home? Seat of the pants? Does that work for you?
“I like my freedom!”, you say. Freedom to be interrupted, inconvenienced, and perhaps punished for exercising freedom when duty was required from you? Thought not.
Planning serves freedom. It creates time you can use for yourself because all the duties have been ‘done’.
Bite the bullet. Learn and apply some kind of personal planning system. In a sense you already do that, but it is ad hoc, disorganised and precisely not systematic. It is the opposite of what you require from other professionals – it is not ‘excellent’, considered, progressive or professional. Would you like your pilot to stick his feet up on the dashboard, take off when he feels like it, go where he wants? Would you want your doctor to guess what is wrong with you, or go through a considered and systematic diagnostic process? Would you like your optician to just give you her glasses – after all, if they work for her they can work for you, she’s the expert.
Systems work. If you work a system.
Go look one up. (Hint….. http://policetimemanagement.com )