Help! I need input from those ‘young in service’ officers and staff.

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So my take on time management in the police service may seem a little out of date.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, or through LinkedIn.

Brief Backwards – Put your Team before the Organisation

That’s a title that most managers would consider an anathema to good policing, but it really isn’t a threat to good order and effectiveness. In fact, I would argue it will enhance effectiveness big time. I shall explain.

The traditional operational briefing process starts with what’s new and needs attention, followed by some justified sighing and pleading on the part of the team whose members have just had yesterday’s priorities stamped on by today’s new priorities. This displeasure can be exacerbated if the teams are subject to different leaders every day, as I know some CID teams can be – DS Smith does things that way, but today DS Brown is team leader and she does things another way. It is an unfortunate fact of life that despite all the management training people are (not) given, there is a tendency, an unconscious bias (ooh, buzzword) towards decisions that favour some over others. But that’s not why you came.

I have a suggestion. Instead of leading with the bad news, open with a desire to see what the workload already is. When the team assembles, whether face to face or over Teams (what was wrong with Zoom?), don’t start with what is happening and needs attention – ask the team what they are dealing with and what their needs are. This has two effects.

Perhaps the most important, the team feels that its needs have been taken into consideration whatever happens next. That has a massive psychological benefit. People who are heard, listen. They feel so much better having been heard that they will then actively help to resolve the oncoming storm.

Which is the second benefit. Once people have been able to air their needs they become responsive to the organisation’s needs. Of course, the organisation could have demanded attention – but by identifying and acknowledging the teams needs first, the organisation engenders the use of patience, understanding, initiative and positivity by the team – and they start solving the prioritisation problem that has been presented.

In effect – and you’ll be amazed if you try it – the work on today’s priorities gets done in better humour and more effectively, while the team works its priorities around the organisations and BOTH get the appropriate amount of attention.

Just by swapping the order of attention from us to you, to you then us. Same, even better results, and happier team members.

Or you can just take the short cut, make your demands and then wonder why you spend so much time chasing people up for their failure to do the things your re-prioritisation method prevented them from doing.

I read a lot of LinkedIn posts about putting people first. I notice that a lot of policing professionals are on LinkedIn. I assume that they look at it now and then and read all about how putting your staff first is the Branson Way (Covey did it first) and happy staff create better results. Then, in the interests of efficiency, they make urgent demands that are not necessarily urgent, and could be requests if they just used their language and patience.

I had bosses like that, men and women who were leaders as much as they were managers, who got the organisations’ priorities done while recognising and allowing for the fact that, the very day before, they’d produced demands that their team members were still needing time to work on.

Now, if I can just convince the CPS to think along these lines….

For more on this idea, buy Police Time Management for £12.99 at Amazon. 300 A4 pages for that price…… beats Blackstone’s.

An Irreverent and Relevant Look at Stress

Stress is one of those words, like time. You know what it means but, asked to define it, you flounder. This is partly because it is one word which identifies with many causes, some of which stress all, and some of which stress none. What is stressful to you may not be stressful to me, although reading the news one would be forgiven for thinking that because someone feels stress about something, we all should. And if we don’t feel the same stress, or at least sympathise with the sufferer, we are unfeeling.Heaven knows how mental health week goes on for months. Stress, or stories that relate stress, are now badges of honour. If you go to LinkedIn you will read about people’s challenges and how they overcame them. Not about their work, but how they overcame the same things you did, but for some reason their story will be better. I once had two colleagues who suffered from stress. They actually competed over who had been prescribed the higher dose of Diazepam. How stressed you are, has become a competition.

Don’t worry. I’m not dismissing the illness or consequences of genuine stress. I know it, I have seen it, and I have been there myself. But my response wasn’t chemical. I didn’t think it merited a LinkedIn post. And it wasn’t the motive for my next novel.

I recognise that many suffer from genuine stress – but others are empowered by it. And the triggers are often exactly the same. You see, stress the word is only half of stress, the reality.

The most famous writer on the subject of stress was Hans Selye (1907-1982), a Hungarian-Canadian endocrinologist. Nominated 17 times for a Nobel Prize, he never actually received one. 17 parties, never a raffle prize. Stressful.

To cut a long story short, Selye identified a three-phase response to what he called ‘stressors’. Stressors were the events that cause the response we call stress.  That response was essentially the same whether the stressor was positive or negative.  The events created alarm, then adaptation, then exhaustion or death. But Selye identified two kinds of responses, positive and negative. The negative we call distress, and the positive eustress. But people only speak of stress in the negative sense.

But in the important difference between distress and eustress was that while the positive stress went through the same three stages, the result was a euphoric, educational stress, rather than an exhaustive, depressive surrender. Eustress serves us while distress does not. After the alarm, the distressed adapted badly and suffered, while the eustressed adapted well, and thrived.

This explains why one person will be excited and strengthened by events which another would find debilitating. One person sees the event as ‘the end’ while another sees the same event as an opportunity. One passenger in my car is terrified, while another is excited and impressed. One social worker happily goes about their day helping people, another sues for stress because their paperwork pile is too high. One speaker dreads standing at the lectern, while another seeks out every opportunity to speak in public.

Years ago, some research was conducted into what occupations caused the greatest amount of measurable stress. The research was broad, taking into consideration as wide a range of occupations as possible. The conclusions were that the least stressed, and longest-living, workers were orchestra conductors. The most stressed were those in the hospitality industry, particularly waiters and waitresses. They identified that the more control a person had over their environment, the less stress they felt. A conductor raises the baton, and 50 odd people do exactly what the baton tells them to do. A waiter waits and does what is required, as quickly as possible, and then changes tack to do the same for another impatient, demanding and rude customer.

They concluded that stress resulted from being in a low control, high demand environment, while those with high control of a low demand environment thrived.

The best response to any stress, therefore, is to take control. Not abandon it on the grounds that you’re feeling harassed. I know my own brief breakdown many years ago was cured in three days flat by a decision to take control. And knowing that, every time control was taken from me, I didn’t react as well as my employers might have liked. They knew this, because my response informed them. I nearly killed a fax machine, once.

The only way to change an outcome borne of stress, is to change our response. The event giving rise to stress is a given and is unchangeable. So the only way to not be stressed is to decide our response, and implement the least stressful, most purposeful idea.

So, given that we humans have the ability to choose our response in any given situation, why not use that knowledge to change even the meaning of the event, and thus even the response? Why not use your intellect to change distress into eustress? See the aforementioned social worker paperwork as a necessary part of a cared-for clients’ solutions. Marvel at my excellent driving as you would on a rollercoaster ride. Stand up at the lectern and speak. And think about it – who, there, has the most control (and probably the least demand)? It’s the speaker, there, at the lectern. Stress FREE!!

By taking charge, you would be using your self-awareness, imagination and independent will to turn that distress into eustress.

Finally, consider the work of psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who suggested that the cure to distress is a life of meaning. He took the distress of the concentration camps into the eustress of scientific discovery, and into the world of logotherapy. People with a sense of meaning don’t stay depressed – they are too busy doing something important.

Ultimately, stress is necessary. Without stress we’d still be in caves. With it, we learned to communicate, to learn, to build, to innovate, to fight, and to seek peace. Stress is an opportunity to create. Don’t knock it.

I repeat – stress is alleviated by taking back control, and by finding a sense of meaning in the event that caused it. No pills can do that. But you can. 

Speakers – Stress is only the enemy if you allow it to be. Make it your FRIEND.

And remember – policing has meaning.

For more on police time management, buy my book HERE at Amazon.

I Told You So. But You Do Have Time. Happy New Year.

Well, did it happen? Did you put things off ‘until the New Year’ that are going to bite you this coming week? Or, if you didn’t put things off, are other people now chasing you up to take action on things that they could have asked you to do weeks ago but procrastinated because “You know, it’s Christmas”? Either way, shame. ITYS.

If either of those circumstances have arisen then things that were Important but Not Urgent are now Urgent. Congratulations! Now, your own Important but NOT Urgent projects just got firmly sent to the proverbial back burner while you engage with other peoples’ urgencies because of their unconscious (or occasionally deliberate) adherence to the ‘nothing gets done between the 20th of December and 4th of January’ approach to work.

All is not lost. I recognise that this depends on your position in the organisation, and/or your ability to formulate the words and sentences needed to engage with the following suggestion, but here it is, anyway.

“Unfortunately, your self-created urgency does not trump the importance of the tasks I didn’t put off until ‘after Christmas’ (air quotes needed if you’re in a face-to-face) and I will deal with your urgency at the appropriate time.”

You can amend this.

The less sassy version is this: “When do you need that done by?” if your relationship is a good one, and assuming that the request is not being made by a bully, then a deadline will be identified that means that while ‘now’ was implied in the request, ‘when you can manage it but before X’ is the new default. NOW you can manage your work with the new responsibility catered for, and without creating other pressures.

In this job, urgencies area a given. If you’re front-line, emergencies area daily event. If you’re fron office, urgencies are all you get because you can’t plan for the next attendee and their individual problems until they’ve made it to the front of the queue.

That doesn’t mean you surrender. It doesn’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t plan. It means that you have to develop a strategy that means you can provide the appropriate response in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time. One way of doing that is to try, as far as is meaningfully possible, to deal with each event/thing as far as you reasonably can until its ‘next step’ is either out of your control, unreasonable given the next demand, or passed (correctly) into someone else’s care.

(That, dear Ops Room staff, does not mean ‘adding to someone’s list’ (see m’book) if they are busy. It means keeping it on your list until there is someone available. It’s just pixels on a  screen; it’s not an incoming Asagai chucked by a closing Zulu.)

Time management is Task Management. Yes, some tasks are drop-everything emergencies. Unfortunately, our work creates an incorrect psychological imperative that makes everything a NOW task when nine times out of then it really isn’t. Just take your time to allocate the appropriate level of attention to things rather than simply thinking if you don’t do it now, all the other stuff coming will get you.

There. Is. Enough. Time.

As you may have noticed when you prepare for a leave period and manage to tidy all your work up before you go home. Funny, that.

M’Book. Available at AMAZON. (Click the link)

Christmas, all year long. Intrigued? Read on….

It’s a dichotomy, is what it is. This is you, during this period.

You have a deadline, the 25th of December. You have a list of relationships, a list of resources/items to acquire in respect of each. Some will need getting before others due to the need to anticipate delays in delivery. They will be obtainable from different sources. So you list the items, plan their collection – day, distance, transport means, funding as necessary. Then you execute the plan and trust that your operation will be a success. In between, you will be attending various ‘meetings’ of varying social circles and communities. Your kids, family, friends, customers (if any) and colleagues will all get their presents, or your attendance, on time. All this needs organising, and you do a grand job.

Then you go to work, and you emit the plaintive cry, “There’s so much to do and I can’t get a grip on it all!”


When you want to do something or feel obliged to put yourself out because the season demands it, you create and execute on plan to ‘get it done’.

When it’s work, it’s ‘all too much’.

I would argue it’s exactly the same.

You implement exactly the methodology for buying Christmas presents and attending social events as you do for your work, if you think about it. But for some reason you don’t let interruptions put you off your pressie-collecting. And drinkies – nothing will get in your way (unless you want it to, wink-wink).

I can’t do much about your mental approach to a workload, but I can tell you that there is a natural inclination to planning that most people can utilise to good effect, and there is a ‘master’ version for planning which is (a) based on the natural model and is therefore (b) easy to learn and implement if you choose to learn it.

If you are flummoxed by ‘stuff’, then it is in part because you either don’t realise that there is a natural planning method, or because you know there is such a method and you simply cannot, in the moment, be bothered to utilise it.

Yes, I’m nagging. And people only nag because the naggee simply isn’t acting on the sage advice they’ve been offered. They like the status quo, even when they don’t like the status quo. Well, whatever you want….. 😊

Use your common sense to make a plan to deal with things, or use your intellect to discover and utilise the ‘higher level’ of organisation that life management training can provide.

And don’t just have a Happy and Organised Christmas – have a content and well-managed LIFE.

Happy Christmas and a Well-Planned, Effective New Year to all My Colleagues, Past and Present.

I did this today because it’s Christmas. Unlike you, I bet.

Right this minute, I KNOW you are procrastinating. I know this because it is the 6th of December. From pretty much this first Monday of the month through until the first Monday of the New Year, you will be using the expression “Let’s leave it until after Christmas” to justify not doing something, today, that would be better done, today. Even the two minute joblets.

Let me tell you what that means.

It means that all those joblets will mass, like a cancerous tumour, to give you nasty headaches from the 2nd of January, that’s what. That is because while your heart is telling you it will be alright, and your mind is justifying it, the world, the people in it and fate are all conspiring to have accidents, commit crimes, engage in arguments, overdo the alcohol (leading to the previous three problems) and generally create more problems to add to the ones whose solutions you are deferring for ‘later’ when you have some time.

You do it, the CPS does it, the Courts do it.

And then they all blame each other for their own procrastination strategies, all of which are based on the ‘good intent’ of managing their current workload better by slowing down the rate at which they deal with it. (Breathe.)

Every decision you put off, and every bogus action you add to someone else’s task list, doesn’t mean less work. It just means the same work gets done later.

And Christmas, like no other time of year, seems to cause more of this activity. And for the life of me I can’t think why.

You can’t shop for presents while you put the work off. You can’t put the decorations up at home, you can’t go to the pub any earlier. Your work day stays the same length right up until, and occasionally including Christmas Eve (where the occasional early finish may happen. Yet there you are, on the telephone, making an ‘appointment’ for January the umpteenth. And if you’re like the worst offenders, you cater for the deferred by making those appointments later in January than you otherwise might have (unethically) done.

Which means if you have a busy Christmas they’ll get done in February, and if you have a slack, uneventful one, you find you have nothing productive planned, anyway. Which is a paradox but you can’t rely on people behaving during the festive month-that-used-to-be-two-days.

You know, as do I (because I did it), that doing the work as soon as reasonably practicable after it arises is Best Practice. Always was, and always will be.

So keep your action lists up to date, do the small jobs the instant they come about, and plan blocks of time for the bigger stuff. Get them done as soon as you can because the next great big huge and humungous challenge/project/Major Crime is approaching, and your eyes will be ripped off the ball.

This is best practice because you know that those little tasks will still need doing, will become urgent because another department has decreed that their figures are more important than your service. And then instead of doing something you enjoy doing, you’ll be tied up involved in executing what you could have done before Christmas.

You know it makes sense.

Happy Christmas, folks!

Utilising ‘Nothing To Do’ Time

Yes, I know. “What’s he on about, when do we have nothing to do?”

More than you think. For example, front office duties at night (assuming yours hasn’t been shut) or on early weekend mornings; scene guard ‘after hours’; that moment when you’ve arrived early for an appointment; waiting around in Court to give evidence just before you’re sent home again; that sort of time. Time when you can’t really commit to something that will take massive amounts of attention and input because the interruptions are inevitable or you simply don’t have the resources (although I again acknowledge that smartphones and individual-issue laptops do make some work possible).

You do have moments when you have gaps. Maybe not many, but you do.

How to fill them?

Use your imagination, first. On the basis that such times exist, you need a strategy that you can apply at a moment’s notice, because if you have to think about the gap too long, it’s over and the time’s been wasted. Decide, in advance, what you can do in those moments.

Here are some suggestions, but you need to use YOUR imagination, not mine.

  1. Make telephone calls that need making but aren’t necessarily planned for; for example, update the witnesses you didn’t have time to update in your original plan for the day, or make appointments that need to be made.
  2. Study. If you don’t have a study manual handy you can still go to the Web and read articles on your chosen area of study.
  3. Solve other problems. Again, Google and YouTube are amazing sources of education and personal development. I stress, here, that better use of your time does not include watching Strictly on iPlayer. LEARN. (It’s easier to explain surfing, than it is using the iPlayer, too.)
  4. Meditate. Listen – I’m not the greatest advocate of ye Mindfulness obsession but having quiet time can recharge your batteries if you’re not quite the Type A productivity obsessive.
  5. Carry a book in your ‘stuff’. A thin one, maybe, one that educates or informs.
  6. Practice public speaking. Might make you look a bit weird of you’re talking to yourself at the scene of a murder but keep your voice down and imagine making a properly constructed presentation on an interesting case you’ve dealt with.

There is ALWAYS something you can be doing that isn’t just idly thinking about life in general.

That said, perhaps you’re really over-worked (or just think you are – which is psychologically the same thing with the same effect) and you need a chill. In which case, see (4) above as your first port of call. Or you could use affirmations – just repeat a mantra to yourself that serves you: for example, some staid old tenets, “This, too, shall pass”, “I am capable of this,” “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better”. They may seem cheesy, I know, but these sayings invite your brain to think about HOW to make yourself more capable, better and more content. Which is the idea.

You never have nothing to do IF you have a sense of purpose, a personal vision or sense of where you want to be that you aren’t, already. You serve that vision by making sure that what you are doing in the moment pulls you towards it, rather than away.

Carpe Diem, as they say. Every Diem.

Policing – it’s just like Baseball.

For those who don’t know, and until I read about it myself neither did I, baseball is a game where no-one scores a point until a runner passes the baseline, having completed a full circuit of the diamond. I was always under the impression that some credit was given for those runners who stole the intermediate bases. The fuss the crowd makes when someone just beats the fielder to the punch through one of those spectacular slides suggested some benefit for the effort expanded, but no. Until s/he gets all the way back, nothing.

Do you sometimes feel as though policing has it back to front? All the measures we dutifully record seem to be more about the smaller tasks than the bigger picture. How quickly the 999 phone was answered, how quickly the other call was completed, whether or not you submitted a crime report/NICHE entry on time, if the misper form was completed correctly. And we seldom seem to get credit for – taking the right action after the 999 call was received, taking time with a caller, submitting timely paperwork and finding the missing person quickly. Although to some degree that’s a jaded view, I suspect that you often feel that way – you’re badgered about minutiae but only ever complimented on a good job at relief/team level. And the plaudits always seem to go to the lucky ones who landed what I used to call a ‘spectacular’, both in terms of what happened and what they did about it.

The real test should be the final score – did you win? Was the result the one that you wanted?

There is a film starring Brad Pitt called Moneyball. It’s based on a  true story of a baseball manager/coach who recruited a statistician. The manager (Billy Beane) suffered from a lack of capital to back up his desire for wins. But he worked with a statistician named Alderson who identified that the big, expensive ‘hitters’ weren’t the ones winning the games. They did the spectaculars – home runs – but Alderson showed Beane how other measures predicted wins not by home runs from big hitters, but by inexorable, careful play in terms of bases stolen (from the batting perspective) and catches, interceptions and strikes from the bowling side.

They won lots.

This demonstrates how some measures predict success, even though they may not seem to be successes in their own right. Another way to look at this idea is, say, an effort to diet or get fitter. The end result may be spectacular, but it’s the daily measures that caused them – eating better and less, or building weights or distance by daily, incremental improvement. It was once suggested that a Grecian athlete from millennia ago used this method by lifting the same calf every day from its birth to its full maturity. The spectacular resulted from the smaller measures being planned and met.

In Beane’s case, home runs weren’t key. Getting batsmen onto bases was. And stopping the opposition doing the same was important. So he focused as much on short-length sprint speed, catching ability and brute strength of his fielders as much as he ever did his big hitters’ ability to smash the ball out of the ground. And those less spectacular players were cheaper, too.

So don’t knock all of the incessant measures with which you have to comply. Some certainly are unnecessary, serve managers and the Home Office rather than the public, and look pretty but don’t catch no bad guys.

But the odd submission of intel, the right question at the right time, the properly completed report or application – all can have a massive impact on whether your players get back to Home or just sit out there waiting for someone to do their bit so they can progress.

Your form might turn out to be the submission that solves a murder. I know that – because I saw it happen.

For more on police time management, go to and get the book by the same name.

Put Purpose before Process. For a Change.

Last week I suggested that you look at designing routines that serve your professional and personal lives. This week, I am going to suggest you shouldn’t be over-reliant on routines. What a hypocrite I am.

Well, not really. Routines are wonderful things, but there are two caveats to the use of routines that you should bear in mind.

First of all, they can be boring. If your time is spent only in routine activity, it won’t be long before your standards drop, and your interest wanes. And that will happen in either order. You’ll get bored and stop trying, or you’ll feel the effort isn’t worth it and you’ll get bored. Ithink that experience is a given.

Next, they can frustrate initiative and growth. I know from my own experience (matched, I suspect, by your own) that the over-emphasis on routine eventually results in the ‘we’ve always done it that way’ attitude to change, which helps no-one, causes inefficient and ineffective thinking, and stifles true innovation. Over-emphasis on routine doesn’t take into account that not every circumstances follows a previously set pattern.

I have always hated blind compliance. Routines are important, but only to the degree that they serve the purpose, and not to the point where the process is served – but the purpose not met.

You should absolutely, unquestionably know the routines. And in many circumstances they are important – like checking your brakes when you start driving, at a low speed where discovery of a fault won’t have a nasty effect. And doing your other daily vehicle checks.*

But you should also know and understand the rationale behind them. Doing this underpins your execution, but also enables you, when appropriate, to save time and effort by not doing those elements of the routine that serve no purpose in the precise circumstances you are faced with. Or by delegating them to a more appropriate level.

Oddly enough, I read a Twitter tweet about just that, this weekend. A barrister was reading or transcribing a PACE suspect interview and stated that the first 17 pages were the ‘rapport building’ stage, the content of which was irrelevant, and unnecessary in the circumstances. I know I’ve omitted that bit with suspects who just want to confess – leave them to it, I say. And I am also aware of Judges who criticised cops for including, in JICA witness interview transcripts, all the pre-evidential guff about who kids support and who their favourite pop stars are.

Like routines, checklists are effective ways of learning routines, and of checking whether things have been done. But they are routines, and just like routines should be seen as guidelines and not The Holy Bible. You wouldn’t ask the mother of a missing child if she happened to know his driving licence number, after all. You know that would be stupid. Apply the same thinking to some of the other lists you follow. And apply your experience accordingly.

To be frank, this advice might not apply so much to your private life. Checklists and routines tend to be professional-life activities, but if you gave it some thought you might come up with some homelife routines that just get in your way. Like ‘I always walk the dog at X pm’ will cause frustration when you have something else you could be doing and you prioritise ineffectively. Or cause you to feel guilty because you’re not walking the dog at ‘her time’.

Use routines, don’t let them use you. Remember – it’s not process at the expense of purpose. It’s better to be the other way around.

*I know.

For more, get Police Time Managent at AMAZON, by clicking THIS LINK.

Routines Work. So Develop Your Own.

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.

For more, and that secret template, get the book at AMAZON, here.