In my book, Police Time Management, provide a template approach to planning your policing time – albeit one that you can apply to both your working AND personal lives – so it would be a little imprudent of me to reproduce it in this article. But I CAN promote the idea of having a routine that works for you. I already hear you saying that you already have a routine. Fairy snuff, but I still have one question.
Who designed it?
In an organisational environment like the police service, the Armed Forces and the other emergency services, routines are established that serve those august bodies. Some best practices cross the organisational borders, as it were, and as a result the operational approaches change, now and then.
But those are system-imposed, and generic routines. They work for those organisations. Compliance with them is expected. But the very fact that they are occasionally altered automatically suggests that they are not perfect, and they will very likely never be perfect. Objectives change, lessons are learned, mistakes are made and, to be frank, the ethical rules change every time Cressida Dick has to apologise for one person’s failings in a way that results in us all suffering the upheaval of ‘new protocols’.
I am not, however, going to bemoan those operational routines – I use them only to illustrate that change is possible. And if it’s possible for the organisation, it is possible for you, too – for the individual office or employee.
Most of the routines that you endure (sometimes) and accept, you do so without question. For some, like me, you do question the routines, but you don’t do that much about them ‘cause ‘you can’t beat City Hall’. But now and then, also like me, you raise your helmet badge above the parapet and, to paraphrase Harry Enfield, you shout “Oy! Organisation! NO!!” and you submit a report, suggest an initiative, perhaps experiment and see how that particular flag flies. Good for you, and good for any organisation that encourages such practices.
And then there are YOUR routines. Not those imposed upon you by the Chief and her staff. Your own. The ones only you know about. They tend to have been introduced to you by your parents, friends, prior team members and for officers, your Tutor Constable. They aren’t so much the institutional routines, just the ones that other people used, and you adopted because at some stage they seemed to work for you.
In m’book, I invite you to rethink what you do as a routine. You’ve learned from others, people that you no doubt respect. But what they taught you is what they learned and adapted to suit their situations, and now it is incumbent upon you to do the same – adapt your routines to your situation.
And by ’situation’ I don’t mean location. I do include your role, the nature, make up and overarching mission of your team, and how all that fits into the Greater Good. But mainly your perspective on all that. I invite you to consider what you’re for, and what you’re going to do about it. And I invite you to develop personal routines in that regard.
But I also, admittedly, provide a template planning routine that you can use so that once you know your place in the previous paragraph, you can utilise your time and other resources to making sure that what you produce is the best you can produce.
None of what you do is done in a vacuum. But your bit is down to you, and you alone.
Design a routine that works for you, On and off the job. and use my template to plan it all.