Believe it or not I used to be an administrator. Actually I think I would be quite good at it now, but at the time it wasn’t a natural fit.
Have you heard of the concept of ‘one touch’ paperwork? The idea is that to minimise the amount of times you ‘touch’ any one piece of ‘paper’ work (be it physical or electronic…).
In contrast, what tends to happen is that the email or paperwork arrives and you open it, scan through it and then add it to the ‘stack’ (a literal toppling pile of paper or a never decreasing inbox…). Generally the initial touch reveals that some sort of action or decision is required, but either it isn’t immediately obvious what that is, or you just don’t have time to do it right now, or you need to show it to someone else….So it is yet another live issue to join the grumbling (possibly even menacing) queue that is building up.
Touch 2 may arise when you are trying to deal with the stack, looking through the stack for something else or when something prompts you to go in search of it. Unless touch 2 happens in a deliberately planned moment the chances are that touch 2 will move the issue on little further than touch 1, and at the same time increase the tasks emotional presence in the queue.
It is a bit like cutting a worm in two!What started as a relatively non-threatening, simple and possibly even pleasant task now divides – one half is left in the generally polite, but gently pushy things to do queue, but the other half joins the worry/burden/knotty feeling in the tummy queue.
Do you remember the film Gremlins? It starts with a cute harmless thing called Gizmo, but things rapidly turn menacing after he….
Hold on I need to look it up – was it feeding it after midnight or getting it wet or both..??? OK so I now know a little too much about Gremlins – the film came out in 1984 and Gizmo (a mogwai) multiplies when he gets wet, but it is the feeding after midnight that produces the destructive gremlins…
So anyway – one touch admin – it’s the equivalent of not getting tasks wet or feeding them after midnight!
However, I’m not here to explore handy hints for admin, but rather to draw parallels with the way that worries fly into our ‘inbox’ or pile up on our doormat.
(Now I’m thinking Harry Potter!)
What I want to explore is whether we could triage worries more effectively at their point of entry.
I seem to have lost the final section of this post – hopefully I may find it somewhere!