Sunday, January 20, 2013

To Rush or Not to Rush - That is the Etiquette

Time-starved world indeed! I call foul ball on this convenient argument, bandied around today as an excuse for behaving badly. Why are we in such a rush to do everything? Perhaps it’s because we don’t want to miss out on anything; maybe we worry about losing control of situations surrounding us; or maybe it’s because we have perfected the art of procrastination to the point where we haven’t any other choice? No doubt there are plenty of other reasons, but whatever one you may choose, there are unpleasant consequences. Remember, too, that time management is a matter of choice. Someone else does not decide how we allot our efforts around the clock. Some may rebuff this concept, but upon close examination, we do ultimately have to take responsibility for all of the choices we make, this being but one of them.

Rudeness is the first consequence that comes to mind. Not listening to what another is saying because we are distracted visually, or perhaps because we allow our minds to drift to a ‘more interesting’ topic is hugely disrespectful. How often do we find ourselves in a conversation, only to notice the person with whom we are speaking looking over our shoulder at another person? How often do we realize that the person with whom we are conversing is more interested in responding than they are to listening? Offenders will often finish sentences for us, interrupt us, or even worse, tune us out and totally lose track of the topic we’re discussing?

Image is another consequence of rushing about from one task to another. Not only does it convey the impression of being disorganized, it often translates into what we choose to wear. How many times do we wonder, “Who dressed that person today”? Or “How could his wife have let him out of the house looking like that”? Or “What was she thinking when she threw that outfit together”? How others perceive us has consequences both professionally and in our personal lives. If we don’t appear to have the time to look presentable, people begin to question our ability to get the job done! And just imagine the terrible habits we are teaching our children, by not taking the time to look our best. In the words of Andre Agassis, “Image is everything”!

Safety can be a serious consequence we pay if getting places on time is a challenge. Most places we need to be or need to deliver our children to do not come to us as a surprise. Granted, some do, but most don’t. We have had days if not weeks or months to arrange our schedules accordingly. Suddenly, we’re running out of time. As convenient as it may be to blame outside circumstances on our predicament, the sooner we learn to take responsibility for being late, the more likely we are to eliminate this dynamic from our lives. Not everyone runs late. It is not a sign of a well-organized professional. Driving our cars recklessly can endanger others if we feel we must speed to get somewhere on time. We might decide to cut in line or to exclude others from merging properly if we are in a rush. If speeding tickets or fender benders result from time mismanagement you definitely need to balance your schedule more appropriately. Be courteous when driving at all times and remember to drive defensively. If you have forgotten what that even means, it means sharing the roadways with others civilly.

Forgetting to do things is another consequence of choosing to live one’s life ‘on the fly’ all the time. Not only is this incredibly disrespectful to the person with whom you had an appointment, it also winds up creating further erosion into valuable time as rescheduling is now required, not to mention perhaps paying a monetary penalty for such a blunder. People have been known to forget or leave their children at school or the hockey rink, thinking the other parent will collect them, or more correctly, failing to think at all.

Slow down for heaven’s sake! Take the time to check your calendar every day and plan your week out so you don’t mess up. Your life will be less stressful and you will be surprised at how much more fulfilling it can be to smell the roses for a change, before they have lost their bloom.