Edwin Bliss, author of respected time management literature, wrote, “Misuse of time seldom involves an isolated incident; it is usually part of a well-established pattern of behaviour, and to change for the better we often must grapple with a habit that has been developed over many years.” Those habits, I would suggest, come under a singular title. Procrastination.
And procrastination is another term for fear.
“Watchoo talkin’ about, Willis?” (If you’re under 30, look it up.)
Yes, fear. Not a phobic fear. Yes, that would be a silly thesis to promote. In procrastination terms, it is a fear that exists on a continuum, but it is not a ‘frightening’ fear.
Procrastination can arise from a fear that you aren’t enough. Your self-esteem is at a low ebb and what you’ve been asked to do is, in your mind, beyond your capability at that moment, if not ‘forever’. Or it’s a technical challenge and you ‘haven’t been trained’. Took me years to attempt a tap washer change. Oh, the testosterone rush when I did it!
Connected to your own sense of inadequacy, there is also fear of being seen to be silly. I used to feel that way – until I discovered public speaking. Then I also discovered Karaoke (sorry, birthday party attendees). Then I started trying (nearly) anything. Except cold-calling. Still can’t do that!
It can result from a fear of loss – if I do what is asked of me I may lose something I value. For example, money. Have you ever wanted something but keep putting it off because you feel you can’t afford it? I have. When I retired, I still felt I was ‘poor’ despite my lump sum being 100 times the amount of handy cash I’d ever had in my life.
It can arise from a fear of missing out (MOFO) on some other event or opportunity, when that other opportunity still has to arise. “I can’t commit to A because B might yet happen.”
And the funniest one is, “I fear that don’t have the time.”
Let’s cure them all in turn.
You have joined the Police. You have overcome the challenge of interviews, education, training. You are enough, you always were. And in turn you’re going to be even better. It takes time, and an enthusiasm to ride the learning curve.
Accept the silliness. Own it. When you make a mistake, you do the jokes first. People c*** up occasionally. Sometimes it will your turn in the box, right up until the next fool makes a mistake. Do karaoke and speak in public. Boost your own confidence.
Ask if you can afford the loss – can you make it good, IF it actually happens (it tends not to)? If not, then it’s not procrastination, it’s prudence. But make sure the assessment isn’t just that fear.
MOFO is harder. But knowing your own values can help you make a better decision – yes, you’ll miss out on something, but if you’ve decided in advance what the ‘right thing’ to do for you is – do that. You will feel good about it IF you know what the right thing to do actually was.
And you have as much time as you need, as much time as there is, and all the time in the world to MAKE A PLAN TO DEAL WITH IT IN A TIMELY WAY. Sorry, I shouted.
If you take the time to consider your priorities, and the priorities of those you serve, you can apply time management philosophy and methodology to ensure that you get all you want, learn what you need, and face your fears in favour of something that is more important.
Pity that you can’t get a Procrastination Patch. You’re going to have to go cold turkey.
For more, read Police Time Management, available HERE on Amazon.