How to give good directions.

I will have another asthma education month post up tonight hopefully, but there is a thing I wanted to write about unrelated to asthma because it is relevant.

I hate, hate having conversations that go like this:

Them: I need you to do A.
Me: Okay, I’ll go do A.
T: Wait, you have to do B!
M: Erm, B? Okay. I’ll go do B, and then I’ll do A.
T: But you said you were going to do C like three days ago!
M: Wait, what? I did? I don’t remember that, but okay, I’ll do C next, then.
T: But we need to get D done today! You can’t do C right now!
M: … *headasplode*

That’s around the point where my brain is grinding its gears and going, “WHAT ARGH WHAT DO?!”

Gah.

If you need me to get A through D done today? Say, “We need A, B, C, and D all done today.” If you have a preferred order, add, “D is highest priority, so do that first.”

I can handle that.

What I can’t handle is four contradictions from a person in four conversational exchanges. Be clear, concise and consistent in your directions.

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2 thoughts on “How to give good directions.

  1. autisticook says:

    Headasplode indeed.

  2. alexforshaw says:

    Another case that frequently gets me confused is when the person giving directions changes their mind:

    Them: Do A, B, C and D.
    Me: OK.
    T: Oh, wait. Do D, B, C and E.
    M: So, no A then? And you want me to do E instead?
    T: Yes. Do E, B, D and C.

    At this point they have changed their mind and presented things in a different order. I’ve lost track completely and will probably end up doing A twice!

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