Don’t waste time

A post on which I was first author was titled, “Time is Precious.” This, related, post is a reminder: Don’t waste time. People have varying conceptions of time. Some of these conceptualizations are culturally based, while others are personality based. I have an acquaintance who boastfully stated she is “never” on time for church, but her minister said it is okay with him for her to arrive fashionably late, Sunday after Sunday. I didn’t say anything at the time, but I made a mental note to never go anyplace with her that requires a prompt starting time! I do not like to waste time and I like it even less when my time is wasted by someone other than me. I will not wait on anyone who arrives late for a meeting without contacting me first to explain the delay. (Ask anyone who has worked for me if you doubt this!) I dislike waiting for things that should involve no waiting time. I recently had a negative experience with a friend of mine who is not used to hailing ride services via an app on a smart phone. Instead of using the app, as I have done on, perhaps, hundreds of occasions, this friend of mine insisted that we contact a relative of hers who drives for the ride service. I mistakenly believed her relative was driving in the area where we were, such that he would pick us up in the 2 minutes waiting time shown on my trusty app. Boy, was I wrong! Not using the app to hail the closest driver cost an hour of my time, due to the fact that my friend’s relative was nowhere near us. I dutifully tried to explain that the purpose of using the app is to save time and that wasting time is something I cannot afford to do. An hour to some people may be of little consequence, but there are many, many things I can do with an hour. Instead of wasting time, I choose to spend mine, wisely.

There are so many time wasters in the world today, many held in the palm of a hand in the form of a smart phone. As I posted previously, some things which appear to be wasting time are not. Waiting unnecessarily, as Melissa references, is not one of those times. With friends, perhaps, there is a give an take that forgives some wasted time, given the other benefits of friendship. But, in general, making someone wait on you, especially in a work setting, is in poor form. And, when that person is your boss, it is really a bad idea. In the workplace, time wasting comes in many forms. And, much of it is not as direct as keeping the boss waiting (to start a meeting, for an answer, for a draft of a letter or report, etc.). Some of it comes in the form of time spent on personal matters, personal email, FaceBook, and other social media. A 2015 article from Forbes Magazine by Cheryl Conner, entitled “Wasting Time at Work: The Epidemic Continues” quotes a 2014 survey which reported that 89% of employees admit to wasting time at work. Over 60% of those employees waste 30 to 60 minutes PER DAY. The remaining 40% admit to wasting even greater amounts of time. It is amazing that American productivity goes up while at the same time the wasting of time increases. To be fair, the demands on workers are such that they are “on call” in many instances, due to these same time saving/time wasting devices, such that, if they need to spend a few minutes on a personal call during the day, it is a tradeoff for handling a work item after hours. I understand, perhaps, it is a tradeoff. (I’m not a labor attorney – they would argue about overtime, etc. and not “tradeoffs.”) Clearly, in an employment setting, there must be boundaries backed by policies and training, and consequences for those who most abuse time. At some level, wasting/stealing time is theft: A theft of time for which the employee is being paid. And, there are so many time wasters in the world. Many are beyond managerial control, such as when bank fraud occurs, or computers “crash.” While some of that time waste can be managed, I find that there are so many time wasters I can’t control that I must try to control those I can. Though most of our employees have not been excessive time wasters, those who were had short tenures. Life/work/time is too short for them to work at Magnus.

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