We’re always looking for ways to do things faster, be more organized, and focus on our work while tuning out distractions. Have you thought about whether or not you’re helping other people achieve those goals too? It’s a good idea to follow the golden rule of time management: treat other people’s time the way you’d like your time to be treated. Are you wasting people’s time unintentionally? Use these four tips to create good “time management karma.”
1. Google it
Do your homework before asking a question/favor. If the internet can easily answer it for you, try that first! Then, if you still can’t find the answer or need more information, you can at least come to the table with some background research. People are far more willing to help when you’ve already tried to find the answer on your own. (If you’ve never played with the site “Let Me Google That For You“, feel free to do so now)
2. Follow through when you delegate
If you delegate a task to someone, follow up and thank the person for his or her time. Too often, I see people delegate, and then just do it themselves without letting the other person know. Or, the task is busy work and not truly necessary. Be respectful of other people’s time and only ask for things when needed.
3. Be realistic with promises
It’s hard to tell people “no,” especially when you really want to help and don’t want to let them down, but this only worsens the problem. If you do not have the time to help, say so now, while the person still has time to seek help elsewhere, rather than committing to a promise you can’t keep.
4. If you are late, apologize
Life happens. Even with the best of planning, you’re still bound to be late to a meeting once in a while and keep someone waiting. The best thing to do in this situation is to sincerely apologize and then take steps to not let it happen again. People just want an acknowledgement that their time is important to you. Say something like, “I’m terribly sorry to keep you waiting, I didn’t mean to keep you from other things you have to do today. The whole freeway was closed due to an accident. Let’s get on with business shall we?”
Emergencies and unexpected deadlines come up, but if you take steps to be considerate with other people’s time, you’ll find that they are also considerate of yours.
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