When we buy a toy/ equipment/ piece of furniture that needs to be put together, sometimes we think that it would take less time just to get a glimpse of the picture design than to read the “long and complicated instructions”. Or we are too lazy to read instructions, or we already know everything, or common sense is enough… Sometimes we are lucky and we manage to assembly properly the item, but, sometimes, we end up with some extra pieces and the respective item disintegrates/ falls to parts/ breaks immediately we start using it.
We might give the same reasons for not reading the instructions of a new consumer good (a TV set, a stove, a refrigerator, a telephone etc.) and start operating it based on our own previous experience. And, few months later, if not earlier, the respective good fails to operate properly or we find out about some features that would have improved the outcomes of the respective good functioning.
So, for our safety and for the safety of our family/ colleagues, we can take some steps to “force” ourselves to read the instructions first:
- Challenge ourselves to think why we avoid reading the instruction manuals. It may be because we feel that we waste time, or we think that we already know what we are doing, or we are in a hurry to start operating the equipment and we cannot stop and read the instructions.
- Flip through the instruction manual, at least. We should remember the moments when we misused or we/ our dear ones/ our colleagues were injured by new equipment because we/ they refused to read the instructions before. We can ask the help of our relatives/ colleagues to remind us, encourage us and, even, assist us in reading the instructions first.
- Establish how important reading the instructions first is. Could it result in getting someone injured or worse, killed? For example, if we administer medication or focus on safely installing an infant seat in our car, reading the instructions first can make the difference between getting well or not or even between life and death.
- Take into consideration that we could miss some important/ impressive features. We might get more for our money if we read the instructions first. Or we could delay the process of getting well if we do not read the fact that a certain pill is better absorbed if taken on an empty stomach and we take it with the meals.
In some cases, we do not have to read the instructions “cover-to-cover”:
- A glance through them and an increased attention to specific sections that relate to our needs might be enough. For example, when we read medication instructions, we do not need to read about the pharmacology, but about the proper administering of it.
- Mixing our method of looking at the assembling pictures with glancing through the instructions will ensure that we put the pieces together correctly/ in the correct order.