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Exposing "crises" by the Churchill Principle

You have planned your to-dos and the time needed for them perfectly - and then an internal "emergency" throws everything out of whack. You are asked for help and, of course, drop everything. Because: You always like to help out spontaneously when there's a need. 

This situation is certainly familiar to you. However, it would be better if you proceeded like the former British Prime Minister in such situations. Consider and question the supposed crisis situation soberly before you recklessly throw your planning overboard. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How urgent is the situation?
  • Is your immediate intervention really unavoidable - or is it perhaps just the "most convenient" solution for others?
  • Can't others who are more directly affected than you solve the problem themselves? 

Do as Winston Churchill did, who was a master at defending his time and encouraging those around him to think for themselves. His instruction to the staff was: "Interrupt my nap only in the event of a crisis. By crisis I mean the armed invasion of the British Isles."

Applied to everyday working life, this means: if a staff member comes with an urgent problem, always ask

  • how he would tackle it himself and what he has already done
  • what he or she has already done to solve the problem.

This way you stay in control of your time and make sure that you don't let yourself get unnecessarily caught up in the hectic pace produced by others!

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