“Time is the longest distance between two places.”
— Tennessee Williams
I’ll just come out and say it. Sometimes I suck. Seriously.
When I agree to meet someone at, let’s say, 3 PM I’ll check the schedules and unless the timing is off by more than 5 minutes I turn up early.
This says two things about me:
- I’m willing to have people wait for me for at least 5 minutes.
- I’m willing to have others do the same towards me.
Let’s break down the meaning of this.
- I don’t value other people’s time as much as I value my own. I don’t want to run the risk of being there 10–30 minutes early and simply waiting. I’d rather spend that time doing something else, anything else, than having to wait that long.
- I don’t value my own time either. I’m willing to wait for others to turn up late. In fact, I almost expect it.
This way I’m perpetuating a behavior rather than doing something about it. What I could do is to make sure to have something productive I can do during those 10–30 minutes that I’m waiting.
I mean, we’re basically carrying around a miniature office in our pockets (or am I just happy to see you?). There’s almost nothing we can’t occupy that time with.
By not changing my behavior and coming in early I’m telling others that it’s fine to act this way too.
The reason I brought this up is because I saw it it became clear when I was watching “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”. He invited one of his producers to have an unscripted meeting during the taping.
It’s both embarrassing and funny. It shows how this kind of behavior affects not only you and the other person but countless others too. It affects how his producer feels and the way she performs her duties which in turn affects other members of the staff and then leaks out into the “real world”.
This might seem slightly grandiose, which it is, and my hope is that when I start showing up early the very same behavior will influence other people.
Also, I really want to stop say “Oh, no worries. I filled the time with other things.” and acknowledge the fact that “Yes, I had to wait. It bothered me and it’s forgiven.”
The key is to find out how you can present it without shaming the other person. That part I haven’t quite figured out as it’s highly dependent on the other person knowing and understanding me as well as their current frame of mind.
If you have some suggestions me and the other peeps would love to hear them.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!