The Training Network NHS GPs Next problem please...

Next problem, please…

I’ve stopped writing about time management. I don’t have the time to write it and you won’t have time to read it!

But, there is one rule in time management that is worth mentioning.

Do the thing you least want to do first. Get the unpopular job out of the way. Get the tricky stuff done.

Once you’ve done it, the rest will seem easy. Ignore it, or put it off and it will fester into a horrible compost heap of the undoable. Stuff piles up in the too-difficult tray.

There are rules. Well tips, really… six of them.

First thing; don’t beat yourself up for procrastinating. We all do it. You are not the first and you are not the last person to put difficult things off. Be at ease with yourself. Say;

‘I know I’ve been putting this off but it has to be done so I’m giving myself a pat on the back for trying to get a solution off the back-burner.’

It can help if you try to understand why this issue has been in the old-sock drawer. Are you overwhelmed, afraid of not cracking the problem, don’t know enough or afraid to ask for help?

The chances are, if you are procrastinating, there will be more than one thing fermenting in your do-it box. It starts to feel all-too-much.

The trick is to pick one thing. It doesn’t matter which one. They all need doing! Stick a pin in the list and commit to getting it done in the next week.

Once you’ve picked the blighter, try the five minute challenge. Ask yourself; what action can I take in the next five minutes that moves this forward… even just the tiniest little bit. It works… because once you start something you are more likely to finish it.

Next, the power hour; clear your desk, close the door, dump all other distractions and focus on sorting this out. Do it in three, twenty minute sessions. Set the timer on your phone, look at the clock and go for a power-hour.

Find a person to work with. They don’t have to be an expert, know more than you do. They’re there as a sounding board, someone you can make a commitment to, someone you can be accountable to. Discuss stuff.

Having got that out of the way, and we are all non-procrastinating-super-heroes, we are entitled to ask why this government has procrastinated over publishing its views on the future of adult social care.

The issue has turned into a compost heap of 17 white and green papers, no follow through and fermenting into political poison.

At the beginning of this year, when I interviewed No18, I asked him when we could expect a green paper, he sat three feet away from me, looked me in the eyes and said; ‘April.’

Unfortunately, I omitted to ask him which year. Procrastination turns people into liars. Brings out the worst in us.

Now he’s blaming everyone else… the first sign of a procrastinator, if ever there was!

The situation is pretty clear, it’s piled up in the too difficult tray.

The rules for government procrastination are just the same as for you.

Pick the job you least want to do, brain-storm it, make a plan, get some accountability in the process, get it done, stop beating yourself up.

Aside looking like numpties, preoccupied with wriggling their way into jobs by catching the eye of leadership hopefuls, ministers look furtive, ineffective and flat-foot.

The think-tanks are starting to publish the up-shot of their thinking, armchair critics are poking sticks through the bars, the House of Lords has weighed in and even Jacob Reece-Mogg has had a go.

What’s the problem? Why is this so difficult? It seems pretty straightforward to me.

We all run the risk of accident, illness, misfortune and happenstance. Sensibly we syndicate that risk, call it the NHS and we all pay for it.

Everyone understands that.

There is no risk about getting older. It is a certainty. Some of us will grow old gracefully and others slip into a horror-world of confusion and a cocktail of conditions that will suck the life from us.

Because we don’t know how we’ll end up, we must syndicate the risks, we must all pay.

Everyone understands that.

Simples, next problem, please.

Contact Roy – please use this e-address – roy.lilley
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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.