I’ve once been on an interview for a job that turned out to be a complete waste of my time. I drove 30 minutes to get there, waited about five minutes after my interview start time to get called in (that in itself was not that bad considering I’ve waited as long as 45 minutes for interviews to start). That wasn’t the problem though but rather was that the interviewer answered a phone call during the interview and then completely forgot what we were talking about. This was only to be followed up with a rude, abrupt ending to the interview because I was not experienced enough. This was something that could have been determined well before I was contacted and brought in for an interview. Everything was on my resume! This kind of behavior tells you about a person. More often than not, if someone doesn’t value other people’s time, they don’t value their own time either. Do yourself a favor and avoid these type of people if possible.
Now that we are done pointing the finger, let’s take a look at ourselves. How do we know if we are the type of person that is wastes someone else’s time? There are a few ways to tell. People may tell you or hint at it. You may realize it on your own from time to time as well. You may be completely unaware of it. We all end up wasting someone else’s time on occasion, just we all waste our time. Some examples of wasting others time are
Being late to a meeting or appointment
Not listening in a conversation
Not focusing on what you are doing with the other person or people
Distracting others who are trying to focus
I am sure there are plenty more ways to waste other people’s time. However, let’s now focus on what we can do to be more aware of how we treat other people’s time.
Know the person. Do your best to know who you are dealing with. There are certain things that would be a waste of time for everyone. However, some people will consider some things worse than others. What is a waste of time to someone may not be to someone else! Someone may freak out if you are 1 minute late, and with someone else you can be 15 minutes late and still wait for them!
Take hints. If you think someone is annoyed with something you did; for example, like running slightly late (5 minutes or less) to a meeting, Take a mental (or maybe even a physical or electronic) note on how each person behaves regarding things like that.
Apologize. If you even think that maybe something you did could have perceived as wasting their time, apologize just in case.
Take inventory. Take a personal inventory of how you spend (or waste) your own time, and this will give you a clue on how it can possibly affect others.
Strive for improvement. Strive to improve yourself always, so that you way you benefit not only yourself, but those around you as well.
It is excellent to care about how we spend others time as well because how we treat others is a reflection on us. Just like we would want people to respect our time, we should respect each other’s time.