Zen and the art of Investigation Management – Prelude:

I am not a minimalist but do see value in questioning excess, focus and removing things that are not necessary. I do this for many organizations I work with.

I have spent the last year displaced from my home in Sydney Australia and living in both Florida and California. I have realized that there is a joy to having less. I have had to organize every facet of how I work and the habits below have been great companions along the way. Much of what follows in this blog was inspired by the Zen Habits blog, but what will follow in the ‘Zen and the Art of Investigation Management’ blogs is how to do this with Polonious Case Management System as your tool.

Some good habits:
1 Try creating a list of three main things a day you want to achieve. Do them and everything else is a bonus. These are your MITs, Most Important Tasks. At least one should be in relation to one of your major goals. The others can be tasks at hand. They MUST be the first things you do each day other than critical communications. For me three MITs have worked and has helped me over the past year.
2 Stop multitasking.
3 Evaluate how you work. What actions are moving you toward your goals and which are not. Evaluate your day and see where you actually spend your time. Redesign your day.
4 Do the essential tasks and eliminate the rest. We all have endless lists of todos that we will never complete.
5 Learn to say NO.
6 Limit communications. Spend time on email and social media for certain periods of time only. Avoid other time wasting media consumption, try taking a break from non essential RSS feeds, news, etc. If there is no impact and there is gain, consider what you can do without and cut it.
7 Stop shopping. We are all exposed to endless advertisements thanks to google, amazon and the like and our desire to have/consume everything. Don’t click on it, do something useful instead.
8 Streamline everything, what you do and how you do it. One thing at a time work your way through everything important.
9 Clear your desk.
10 Establish routines.
11 Empty your email inbox.
12 Plan your ideal day, week and year.

My experience has in fact helped me help our customers in refining their investigation management methodologies.

1 Identify your goal?
2 Identify what is important to reach that goal.
3 Remove the rest.

At each step of the process repeat the questions that I pose every day to myself and our customers;
1 Why do we do that?
2 Does it progress us toward the goal?
3 If not, can we stop doing that?

The first insight into ‘Zen and the Art of Investigation Management’ will focus on the dashboard.

Hope you follow along.

About the Author
Alastair has more than 29 years of experience in the law enforcement and the investigation industry and has guided the rollout of the Polonious Investigation Management System to over 50 organizations across the globe. Our customers have varied business processes and requirements from large insurance carriers with hundreds of investigators and adjusters to small forensic teams. Each now has a customized solution to meet their needs.

Alastair Steel, Dip.Crim. is the co-founder of Polonious.
Find Alastair on LinkedIn