Are you a relatively young-in-service officer, or a fresh member of the civilian support staff? If so, I’d love some feedback.
As a veteran in more than one sense of the word, my own experience of managing my time and productivity is based on a history that started when we had a single breasted, belted and multi-pocketed suit, a stick to defend ourselves and a whistle to decorate our breast pocket. Yes, we had radios. I’m not quite that old. There were some advantages, though.
Owing to the reality that the fastest non-radio communication was a fax machine, we had time. No-one expected an immediate response to anything. They left you to it, and you did it. Statistics required laborious effort to collate figures, and so they were more ‘broadstroke’ than they became.
It ended with smartphones, instant communications and internet access, all the productivity hacks to make life easier – and a world that was busier than ever before. Every taks was measured and sub-divided and assessed through a number of prisms, so that you could tell who was detecting which kind of crime compared to anyone else in the team, the division, the force, cross-border and inter-force. How long it took and what they missed. No hiding place.
And more criticism, less understanding and more (arguably) unnecessary accountability than ever.
Yet still only the ’40-hour week’ in which to do all that was asked, and to maintain records so that other people could hit you over the head either with those figures, or when you hadn’t provided the data they could hit you with.
So my take on time management in the police service may seem a little out of date. But I don’t think so. I don’t think so because my methods are about an approach, not the tools.
For example, on a podcast yesterday I heard it said that people blame e-mail for interrupting, directing and overcomplicating their working lives. And the podcaster made the observation that this was like blaming the hammer because you have one too many cabinets to build this morning. It isn’t the tool – it is the mental approach to the work that makes the difference between happy and sad, productive and slothful, quality and quap. (J. Ross)
My book, Police Time Management, is as much about the mental approach to managing your time and life as it is about specific processes for using (for example) your smartphone to best effect and not just for tweeting. It’s about a method that starts with ‘why’, then ‘how’. Instead of ‘must I?’.
BUT I really want to know what the challenges facing new officers and staff actually are, just to be sure that the approach I propose is as effective as I would wish.
Towards the end of my career, someone in my office expressed wonder about how new officers coped with all the expanding pressures, practices and protocols being heaped upon them. I responded, “This is their normal. This has always been the way it is, for them. In ten years they’ll be asking the same question about their new colleagues.”
So I am asking that question of you, today.
How do you cope with your workload? How well trained are you in terms of Information Technology, for example? I know that MS Windows was introduced in the mid-1990s and I have still to receive police training in its use.
And – this is important – I want to know what methods you are being taught that helps you cope with your workload. If any.
Let me know at email@example.com, or through LinkedIn.