Friday, July 22, 2011

Time People…

When my cousin, Barry, and I get on the phone, there’s an implied understanding.

“If a client calls, you get off the phone with the other, no apologies.”

I don’t know what the word is exactly, but it seems (like in most things), there are two types of people when it comes to time.

  1. those who value their own time
  2. those who value their own time AND the time of others

Now, I will say that those who value their own time may value other things more than those in Group 2, so it’s not about “selfish” vs. “un-selfish” overall, but it is in this respect, I suppose.

Case in point:

I got into a HUGE email fight the other day with a friend (well, she used to be a friend) from college who reached out to me and said, “Do you have time for a chat?”

To which my response, was “well, what exactly do you want?”

My thinking was…if I can help you in 2 minutes via email instead of a 15 minute chat, then that is what I am going to choose.

Well, that wasn’t received so well and it escalated (yes, it was over email and yes, I know how that’s not a good idea).

She was offended, I believe, that I was quantifying the value of our friendship by trying to minimize the amount of time I spent investing.

I, on the other hand, was thinking, “how do I maximize output while minimizing input?”

You see the two types of behavior all the time.

There are people who are always on time for meetings and there are people who either misjudged how long it would take (traffic, etc.) or decided that the call/lunch, etc. prior to the meeting was more important than the time of the person waiting for them.

You’ll see this at events and conferences, too. “Let’s wait a few minutes to give everyone a chance to get here.”

Uh, Why?

You said it would start at 9am. Why are you punishing the punctuals on behalf of the tardys?

I tend to think (and feel free to come after me, if you disagree), that the people who value their own time are just not conscious of TIME as an evaporating asset to the extent that Group 2 is. They might view Time in a different way (I’m sure they do), but as someone in Group 2, it’s not always easy for me to see.

Some characteristics of Group 2 people are:

  • they begin phone conversations by asking “is this a good time for you?”
  • they pay attention to how long the phone conversation has been going on
  • they write posts like this, think about trade-offs like this, and are relentless like this about allocating their time

So…which are you? Did I miss the mark?

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