Always ask, what could you do?

Nobody likes a troublemaker at work. We’ve all had colleagues who annoy us or deviate from the script with no heads-up, causing conflict or wasting time: jerks and show-offs who seem to be difficult for no good reason and people who break rules just for the sake of it and make others worse off in the process. But there are also people who know how to turn rule breaking into a contribution.

Never ask what should you do. Asking what could I do leads to the scrutiny of options and the exploration of alternatives which leads to novel insights. Even in emergencies.

Why bad news matters?

Bad news is more sudden than good news, which is usually gradual. Therefore bad news is more newsworthy.

People vastly overestimate the frequency of crime, because crime disproportionately dominates the news. But random violence makes the news because it is rare, whereas routine kindness doesn’t make the news because it is so common.

People have a negativity bias. The good news is that the world is doing better than you think.

Time management is ruining your life.

And yet the truth is that more often than not, techniques designed to enhance one’s personal productivity seem to exacerbate the very anxieties they were meant to allay. The better you get at managing time, the less of it you feel that you have.

Idle time needs to built into any system so you can do what you need to do.

In the accident and emergency department, by contrast, remaining “inefficient” in this sense is a matter of life and death. If there is an exclusive focus on using the staff’s time as efficiently as possible, the result will be a department too busy to accommodate unpredictable arrivals, which are the whole reason it exists.

What if your intuition is wrong?

Without consciously realizing it we place a high confidence in our intuition. And why wouldn’t we? It’s right far more often than it’s wrong. But confidence is a poor proxy for correctness and often means that when you’re wrong,  you’re really wrong.

Nurses experience that feeling every shift when your intuition is more right then wrong. It’s another way we save time.