Does it really matter to be on time?
A few days ago, I read an article my sister has shared via facebook. At that time, I was looking for something new to inspire me and I found this article very inspiring because of the life lesson it carried. As usual, I made a survey via short questionnaire, starting with the questions:
How do you feel when you have the meeting arranged and you have to wait for the other person? Does it really matter to you to be somewhere on time?
I know, of course that these seem to be easy questions to answer, but, in fact – and if you really think about the answer – they´re not. Here is a list of the rest of questions, which I consider as relevant for the idea I want to share with you today:
· Does your tolerance for latecomers depend on:
– circumstances/reasons of their delay?
– their gender?
– culture you live in?
· How long you are willing to wait?
· How do you feel when you don’t know what´s the reason of their delay, while waiting for them to come? Are you worried? Describe your feelings.
· Does a good argument/reason/explanation given change your feelings about the person you´ve been waiting for? Are you just going to accept it, even though you´re still angry or sad?
· Are you the one who´s always/sometimes/never late for the meeting? Explain why?
In his TED talk video called “How to multiple your time?” Rory Vaden describes, how everything we know about time management is wrong. All the information we have about it are logical, however, today time management is about emotions (trust me, I know how unbelievably this one sounds). He states that a fact how we feel about someone determines, how we´re going to manage our time for them. The emotion also makes us to differ people – who will be the first/the last one I will spend my time with? After watching the whole video I realized its most important message: There is no time management, there is just self management! Watch the whole video here.
My respondents provided me with a bunch of answers, very similar to those ones I have found under my sister´s article. In answers to my questions, I found some people outraged (literally) about how impolite it is of someone to be late. It can mean that the one who is late does not respect the time the others are willing to share with him, or that his/her amount of time is more important than the others´s.
Well, in some way, this one could be true, I do not agree with it, though.
The undeniable fact is that before meeting, we are giving someone our promise to be on time. So at least this should remind us about our responsibility towards people around, everytime we arrange a meeting with them. One good friend of mine works as an estate agent at his own company and he told me that for him, it is really important to be on time (and I can tell you that he usually really is MORE than on time)! Everytime he has a meeting with someone, he comes 10-15 minutes before the very start, just to prepare everything necessary. He also told me that once he had a meeting with a client, which expressed a deep respect for his attitude towards work – the client highlighted mainly his professionality, and it was only because everything happened on the time they agreed.
In my point of view this means that if there is a formal meeting set up, then being on time or even being there in advance can be extremely beneficial!
As for the other events, such as parties or informal meetings of a group of people, my respondents do not think it is that important to be on time in a certain place. Unless you are the one who is organizing the party or leading the group. Another one friend said that if someone is late but others are already in a place and their program does not depend on the latecomer, it is not that big deal then.
Most of answers I have received were coming from males, but just two of them expressed their opinion on waiting for women. So how long are they willing to wait and what would they do after the woman comes with the delay?
Both of them said they are willing to wait approximately 10-15min, one of them said that once he has been waiting even longer, it was about one and a half hour, but after the woman came, he was really angry with her and also disappointed. For whatever reason she has been late, this was very inpolite and disrespectful of her.
Now, I have a question for every man, who is reading this: Do you really expect us to be on time, or you know that we will be late anyway?
My friend from Italy replied:
“Italians are very typical of being latecomers, but it depends on what we are going to do. I think, to be on time really matters to us especially when there is an important event coming up. I am very organized person and everything I am going to do needs to be scheduled. In my opinion, this is the proof that you really care about that.”
What do you think, my dear readers?
I know it seems to you that I am only repeating myself with the importance of being on time and maybe some of you got bored and stopped reading in a half, so for those of you, who are still reading, here is a true story of my own life: Recently, I had 4 dates with 4 Italian guys and – believe it or not – I was the one who was late! /sorry guys /
I asked my little brother how would he feel like if there is someone late for the meeting and he answered that he would be really angry, because it means that the person is not willing to manage his/her time and it can seriously affect his program (my brother´s time schedule). Something like a domino effect. And he is right (well, except that person was not hit by a car on his/her way to meet him).
Most of us think that if we care, someone else should care as well. But what if we are late and can’t do anything about the situation? Is that excusable?
My survey proved me the message of one book I read. Written by the great psychologist Guy Winch, the autor explains the experiment on strangers and tossing ball game in waiting room. Athough this one is about rejection, it seems to me as a good one for giving it for an example. And also applicable mainly in situations, when you are waiting for someone and getting angry even if you don’t know the reason why he or she is late. After we get an explanation, which ,,seems legit to us“, we are willing to accept it, well – mostly, but we still feel angry! Disappointed, sad, putted down by the person, who we then consider as someone who does not respect our time reserved for him/her afterall.
Unfortunately, we take a lot of situations happening in our life personally, BUT! Breaking news: I’m not the center of the universe, neither you are!
My opinion is that either you are on time or you are late, the most important thing is that you arrived healthy and alive and that you met those people who expected you to come – well you should at least let them know in advance (and it does not mean they would wait for you whole day, sitting somewhere, counting raindrops falling on their heads). The reason I have this view is maybe because I’m very open minded, maybe because I’m late more often than I am on time. Or – maybe just because I’m woman (?)
We never really know what is currently happening in the life of a person we are going to meet. We never really know what happened to him/her that day, the day before or what is going to happen the other day of his/her life and how is he/she dealing with it. The truth is – if we don´t really know this, then we can not affect it, so why should his/her delay drive us mad or angry?
Life is about improvising. The more we do the more we learn. And who wants to be a fool?
At the end of this, I have an idea (got inspired by my friend a little, so let me share this last one for today please)
Challenge yourself for one week and try to be on time for every one of your appointment scheduled. Don’t rely on your cell phone to let someone know in case you are going to be late. Ignore the technology and try to rely on yourself and your ability to be reliable and punctual. If you are a chronic latercomer, maybe this one can help.
Or do you really think that a good company is worth to wait for however long?