No doubt you heard about the “golden rule” while growing up: treat others as you would like to be treated. Maybe you didn’t realize that it also applies to time management.
Treat other people’s time as you want your time to be treated.
I’m not saying you should always put the needs of others before your own, but it is all too easy to always put them last, and that just isn’t fair.
For example, have you ever been working on a project and had to stop because you needed one little piece of information from someone else? You send out an email or make a phone call and leave a message. Then you wait…and wait…and wait. You know that an answer will take about 30 seconds of that person’s time, but waiting for that 30-second answer is putting you days behind on your work.
Or what about this: Have you ever planned your day around meeting a friend or a colleague, only to have them cancel at the last minute for something they surely new about ahead of time?
These are examples of other people interfering with our carefully managed time. It’s easy to get angry, impatient and frustrated but sometimes we need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “Am I treating other people’s time the way I want mine to be treated?”
Mistakes happen, people get busy, emails get buried and appointments get double booked. The key is to apologize and then don’t make it a habit. People want the importance of their time to be acknowledged. Think twice before you make a last-minute cancellation or move your colleague’s email request into the “do it later” pile.
If you respect other people’s time, you may find that yours is respected as well.
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