Spending time at a friend’s house one Saturday afternoon, their seven year old daughter was waiting for her father to take her to a birthday party. He was doing his emails and kept putting her off with “Another five minutes honey and I’ll be done”.
The party started at 2pm and only ran for a couple of hours. It became obvious to all of us (except perhaps her dad who was oblivious to the angst he was causing) that she was going to be late.
Eventually, this little girl said something which made us all sit up and take notice. She said “Dad, today isn’t just your day; it’s my day too!”
That got her father’s attention and they left for the party without further delay.
How often does the same thing happen in business?
Way too often in my experience. Let’s take meetings as a prime example.
Scenario #1: You’re invited to participate in a meeting within which you cannot actively contribute. You believe you have no choice but to go. So, you sit there watching the clock; thinking about all the pressing jobs you could otherwise be doing.
Scenario #2: Your manager has a habit of scheduling meetings and then keeps you waiting. You’re now stewing because their behaviour is disrespectful; and you’re kicking yourself for not bringing other work you could be getting on with.
Scenario #3: The meeting starts on time and it is relevant to you; however, most of the meeting is spent covering previous minutes and with people justifying why they haven’t completed the actions they publically committed to taking last time.
There are so many common examples of time wasting; I could go on and on and on.
We would all do well to heed that little girl’s advice. It’s a common courtesy to respect the time we have available and to consider others in that process. If we all used our time considerately, we would become much more productive, both individually and as a team and enjoy a greater sense of accomplishment as a result.
The added benefit to the organisation is increased productivity which puts extra value on the bottom line. Our friends and family benefit from someone who shows up more often and who is fully present whilst they are there.
No time to lose…