French Lessons about Stress

At the moment, the Channel Tunnel access is chock-a-block with cars and lorries waiting to travel across to la Belle France, obstructed by the inability of les Francais to provide sufficient staff to man -sorry, resource – their side of the border control posts. As a consequence, X numbers of cars and lorries are having to try and get through X/2 passport checking facilities. Trying to get the normal amount of holiday traffic through half the usual number of access points is creating a blockage. There are only two possible solutions – open the closed posts with more people, or stop doing the checks. Neither of which is feasible in the circumstances.

This is a perfect example of one of the eternal truths – clogged systems create stress.

Recognise the parallel, yet? Yes, it is policing in a nutshell. Notwithstanding the reduction in the number of officers available to work at any given time, the fact is that unlike border crossings that fluctuate with holiday periods, the amount of work police officer – you – are expected to do never fluctuates, and has no controlling pinch-point to manage the flow of incoming ‘stuff’. It is coming whether you like it or not. While some events can be pre-planned, the vast majority of police work (crime, public disorder, traffic incidents and domestic violence) exists wholly outside of your control, and is not normally subject to weather/holidays/seasonal environments or sporting calendars. (There are some exceptions.)

So as bad as the border situation is, when the French get well, the situation will repair itself. But policing incidents ‘as arising’ won’t. Which, in turn, means that if your system for managing your work is clogged, there is no immediate expectation that it will unclog itself.

You need your own system for dealing with the waterfall of work, OR you need the organisation to create a system for you. And guess what? Despite the many reports from over twenty years ago that promote the training of such a dark art as time and task management, I know of no police organisation that trains people in time management (although I understand Devon and Cornwall have adopted a training course that included it, a bit).

Of course it’s a pitch for my book but you are not obliged to buy it.

What I am promoting is the idea that absent the training I think you should be given, you are not prevented from getting such training input yourself. There are books and courses out there (more expensive than mine, he smugly wrote) that will teach you great procedures for managing incoming and ongoing work better than you are managing all of that, now.

Such input can help you prevent the unnecessary clogging, manage the inevitable clogging, and free up some of the stuff that’s creating the clogging, all of which will (I guarantee) reduce the amount of stress that clogging creates.

I’m not sure I can guarantee that the stress will go away – you picked the wrong job for that. But, for example; the stress created by looking at your To Do List and wondering if it will ever go away can be lessened if you realise that having that list creates an element of control. Too many people look at the list and think they have no control, but they’re wrong – having a disorganised list is stressful, but having a considered list, and a process for managing it, is not.

You just need to know why that is so, and proper training can help you with that.

Stamping on a hose blocks it. Squeezing the end of a hose creates a massive jet. So yes, a clogged system creates stress, but knowing how to control that clogging, like any pressurised system, can result in a powerful force coming out of the other end – if you know how to create that.

Get some input.

This is one way.

Go HERE for this.

How the French can teach you about stressed systems.

Published by policetimemanagement

30 year policing veteran and time management authority. Now I've combined the two.

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