Journal of the australian naval

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Indirect — those connected with the above but which are not directly related to the end product, eg, attending meetings, collecting stores, interviewing staff, writing reports.

  • Administrative — those tasks which all workers have to do regardless of position, eg. getting paid, filling in leave forms, attending official functions, sporting events, medicals.

  • Barriers — anything not covered by one of the above, eg. phone calls to friends, chatting to passersby, visits to the loo. teabreaks, travelling from one action to another, waiting for someone or thing.

    There is no need to worn/ about hairsplitting which task fits into what category — as long as there is consistency, the results will be useful. There is no need to compare results with anyone else; those interested in trying this analysis should decide before starting what are their main activities and the type they are going to allot to them — perhaps even write a brief checklist. The next step is to keep a diary for two weeks, writing down each activity that lasts for more than ten or fifteen minutes — whichever is recognised as a fair block of activity (too short a period and there will be too many entries: too long a block and their barriers will go unnoticed.) A new entry is made only when there is a major change, eg, when a new task lasts for more than 10 or 15 minutes. So. if a task continues for two hours without being interrupted by anything else for more than those 10 or 15 minutes, then there will be only one entry in the log — lesser interruptions can be shown as a series of marks. An example would look like this:

    November 86, Journal ol tbe Australian Naval Institute — Page 41

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