What to do when people don’t value your time


There are some people that you will come across in life who wouldn’t value your time. Some of them do it knowingly while some do it unknowingly and then there are those who think that only their time is important not others.

I had a colleague at work, who used to call me to help him with something he was struggling to do and when I go over to his desk, he would not pay attention. He would browse, attend other’s calls or message, browse his phone, etc. Basically do everything other than paying attention to what I was doing or saying.

There are another category of people – the ones who don’t come on time, they call you for a meeting and don’t show up on time or don’t attend your meeting on time. There was this person who organized a lunch meeting and showed up 45min late. By the time he showed up a few people had left feeling hungry.

Then there are institutions who don’t value your time – some of them are state run offices, employees of which do not care about improving the performance – for example the DMV office. Although I must agree they have come a long way now to what it used to be before. They have improvised their online booking appointment system which enables people to not wait in line for long.

A few years back I had a hard time at a passport office trying to book an appointment to see the officer. I had to wait in line in hot sun for hours just to get a token number and then wait another few hours for my turn to meet the officer. And when it did come, the officer said they are closed for the day and to come some other day.

So why do people do that. What causes people to not value other’s time? There are various theories behind such a behavior; a few of them are explored below:

1. They don’t understand the importance of time – This category of people doesn’t value time. They don’t understand the importance of time not just their time but anybody’s.

2. They are self centered and ignorant – They value time but only their own not others. They would do anything to make use of their time optimally but pay least attention to how others time is affected by their actions. They are often inconsiderate and ignorant about others work.

3. They look others as not important – These people understand the importance of time but they don’t respect other people. They consider certain people as unimportant and feel that the work they do is trivial and not worthy hence making them wait for sometime will not cause any harm to them. Because of this thought process they end up wasting time of such people.

4. They don’t lose anything by doing that – This applies to those people in offices and other institution who take advantage of their position and use it as a medium to show their supremacy over others.

How to avoid such people:

1. For people who call you for help but don’t pay attention to you – let the person know that you will come back later and you have other stuff to do.

2. For the person who comes late for his own meeting – Ask the person you give you a call when he has arrived at the venue so you can join him there instead of you waiting on him.

3. Avoid attending such people as soon as they call you instead finish what you were up to and then attend them when you have time.

4. Do not give them high priority – this will make them understand that they are being side casted and might come to you asking what the problem is.

5. If nothing works, talk to the person about it – although at first the person might not agree that they are wasting your time. But over the time they will know.

6. For the people in government offices and institution – see if there is anything that you can do online to speed up the process – like booking appointment, completing forms, getting the necessary documents etc. If there is none then try to go on off peak time to such places.

Lastly, use your time wisely. You cannot expect others to respect your time if you don’t use your time wisely. Sometimes we might be responsible for others treating us this way. Analyze if your actions portray you as a person who has lots of time and amend it such that others don’t get the wrong picture about you.

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