One of my favorite songs is Styx’ “Too Much Time on my Hands.” However, most of us don’t have that luxury. I assert people waste time. People waste their own time, or more importantly they waste other’s time. Time is a nonrenewable, there’s nothing to replace it. I hate people wasting my time due to their inability to manage their own time.
Example, have you ever waited in the doctor’s office? You have a scheduled appointment and find 45 minutes past the scheduled time the doctor finally makes it in to see you. How about the cable guy? A block of time is given for cable or internet installation, “he’ll be there between 10am and noon tomorrow,” the installation scheduler tells you. After taking off time from work you watch the clock hoping the installer will arrive anytime. As noon comes and goes our irritation builds. Finally, at 1:35pm the installer shows and we realize we are at his mercy.
On the other hand we expect a flight schedule or train schedule to run perfectly. Airlines are actually penalized for a failure to arrive on time or depart. School bells similarly ring at certain times – life as a teacher (I did this job once) is dictated by the bell.
I work with a variety of people and have noted almost all are incredibly conscientious of being on time. Appointments scheduled with sales leads execute on time. At the executive level there is significant respect for other people’s time I find myself guilty though, on days when over-booked with appointments and there is no slack in the schedule, of running late. I am generally late by no more than a few minutes, but running late nonetheless.
To me it appears economic status also impacts respect for time. Additionally, culture has a huge impact. Maybe time is not worth much to them. Culturally in America with certain groups it appears being late is fashionable, part of the norm. Our own President Obama has been criticized as the first president unable to punctually follow a schedule; bad time management, cultural habit, arrogance, or disrespect for others? I once had a dinner party and waited nearly 90 minutes for two guests, of a different culture, to arrive.
I’ve made a resolution to be overly conscious of how I manage time. More importantly I have made a resolution to hypersensitivity respect other’s time. This is especially important when someone has invited me to a meeting. In addition I want to ensure I am not only on time, but give quality time. I have also made a pact with myself to have no electronic devices in meetings to ensure I give them my undivided attention.
When I was an Air Force ROTC cadet I was taught a very important saying, “If you are on time you are late. If you are early you are on time.” A professor in MBA School similarly shared wisdom with our class and called it “flat tire time.” He said you should always leave for an appointment with enough time to change a flat tire and not be late. Most people could not imagine arriving early, so early, but the problem is easily solved by keeping a book handy.
My question for you is, “do you respect or waste other people’s time?”