A more proactive approach to toilet paper

Posted by Dermot Crowley on 12th November 2018

What is it with people not replacing the toilet paper? How hard can it be? On the odd occasion that I walk into a bathroom to find no toilet paper, I am struck by how selfish the behaviour of the previous occupant was, and how reactive that person’s work life must also be (I will not name names here, but you know who you are).

The chances are, if they demonstrate this behaviour with the toilet paper, they would demonstrate this behaviour in many other ways at work and home. They probably leave lots of things until the last minute, and then expect others to drop everything to deal with the crises they have created.

If we take a more mindful approach to our work, and life in general, it benefits ourselves as well as those around us. If we try to work a bit more proactively and less reactively, everything gets easier for everyone involved. So, what would this look like in relation to the toilet paper incident?

I reckon there are four ways we could approach this situation:

Reactive – We never bother to replace the toilet paper, and next time find ourselves staring at an empty cardboard roll. Or leave someone else staring at the empty roll!

Responsive – We replace the empty roll with another from the spare toilet roll holder. This is a nice gesture for the next person and makes life easier for them.

Anticipative – We refill the spare toilet roll holder when it is down to just one roll. This ensures we always have spare rolls close at hand.

Proactive – We buy more toilet rolls when we are down to six spare rolls in the cupboard. This ensures that we always have toilet rolls in the house, and everyone is happy.

I reckon if you were to map this thinking onto much of the work you collaborate with others on, you would find room for improvement for you and your team. If you are a manager, it is your role to coach your team to work more proactively, and less reactively. To be more serving, and less selfish. To make sure no-one ever has to feel that moment of dread when they reach for the paper…

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