I believe there are a couple of challenges when it comes to convincing people they need ‘time management’ training. First of all, front line officers and staff see the word ‘management’ and think it isn’t for them because it has ‘management’ in the title. They don’t see themselves as managers and think it is a management task, therefore not for them. Secondly, the whole world is now focused on the buzzword ‘leadership’, which implies a hierarchical focus and one that is executed ‘from above’. Neither statement is true.
Tied in with both these misunderstandings is the fact that, as a rule and in my own experience, time management training is usually provided ONLY to higher level supervisors – who can delegate all their tasks (if not their decisions) down the proverbial pecking order. In other words, to the people who AREN’T provided with time management input. Who therefore assume that time management isn’t for them because only bosses get told how it’s done.
Let me change all that.
First of all, you are all leaders, because leadership is a choice, not a position. (S Covey) You can self-lead as much as you can be led by others of higher rank. You can influence, should you take the time to learn how. That is the main purpose of leadership, and many great initiatives have come from the shop floor.
And just as you can lead yourself and decide where you are going, you have to – have to – manage yourself in order to get there.
Which leads me to a third challenge with the term ‘time management’, and that is that you aren’t ‘managing time’, because you can’t. it’s impossible. You can’t take 3pm – 4pm and execute it at 7pm. It’s too late, it’s already happened three hours ago.
So don’t think ‘time management’. Instead, as Charles R. Hobbs and Hyrum W. Smith opined, use the expression ‘Event Control’. And in using that replacement terminology, recognise that it is all about taking what happens to you and choosing how and when you will deal with it.
Of course, some of the ‘event control’ will be dictated by the event itself, and some more will be dictated by systems and protocols and resource availability.
But how you deal with it in terms of your attitude, and where you can mould the way you deal with the current event in terms of all your other priorities, are found in the study of (back to the old term) time management.
My book, Police Time Management, is a 300+, A4 sized, compendium of mindsets, skill sets and toolsets about how to prioritise and execute your massive workload in such a way as to reduce stress, but it also covers self-leadership – about deciding where you want to go and how to go about getting there. It covers your working and personal lives. It’s cheaper than a (non-discounted) Jack Reacher novel and the benefits last much, much longer.
When I was in the job, ‘time management’ made a HUGE difference to my stress levels and to my productivity. I took on projects that weren’t strictly ‘mine’ because I found that I could learn, manage and execute better, all because I had developed a system for doing what had to be done, in the way it had to be done, at the best time for it to be done, without ‘it’ taking control of my ability to do it. (And later made money as a result. 😊 )
And at the same time, I watched other people take ‘emergency leave’ because their heads were about to explode, all because they hadn’t discovered or been taught the benefits of event control training. Which is why I took it upon myself to provide time/event management/control input to my former colleagues by putting all that I had learned into the policing context, and into print.
Because your organisations won’t. But I’m willing to help them if they change their minds……