Why You Can’t Blame Other People For Wasting Your Time

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Why You Can’t Blame Other People For Wasting Your Time

We’re all busy. We have too many commitments. We’re connected all the time. But sometimes it’s because we haven’t groomed the people we deal with to work within our defined parameters. If you want other people to stop wasting your time you need to create clear boundaries. What does this mean?


Tell People How You Would Like To Be Communicated With

Not everyone is a fan of email. Some people hate reading and writing, and find they get more done with telephone calls. Others are too busy on their feet during the day and prefer to respond to emails when they have some down time. Whatever your preference, it’s worthwhile letting others know what your preferred communications channels are. That is, of course, if you want them to use them.


Request Meeting Agendas

As we’ve said before, unproductive meetings account for a tremendous amount of wasted workplace time. If you’re invited to a meeting, request the agenda beforehand. In this way you can determine what can be address over email (or a telephone call). You can also gauge how useful attending the meeting will be to you before you commit.


Take Stock Of Who’s Been Invited

Have a look at who else has been invited to the meeting. The first question you should ask yourself is “Do I need to be there?”. The second most important question you should ask yourself is “Will the right people be there?”

If the decision-makers are not present at the meeting it’s likely to be a time waster and you’ll have to do a repeat performance for the real decision-makers.


Take Some Responsibility For Other People Arriving Prepared

It may come as a surprise but many people don’t prepare for meetings. Even those who request a meeting with you may arrive under-prepared and badly researched. And, aside from creating a bad first impression, they’ll probably waste your time too.

If you’re meeting with someone for the first time don’t be afraid to ask them what they want to discuss. It will ensure you both arrive at the meeting on the same page.


In Summary

  1. Tell people how they should engage with you. Give them an incentive to use this system. If you’re not an email person and would prefer a 2 minute phone call, telling others to expect an email response in 36 hours (insert your average email turn around time here), will probably do the trick.
  1. Don’t go to meetings without agendas. Uncontrolled meetings are a waste of time. Request the agenda so you can gauge how productive the meeting will be.
  1. Check out the other meeting attendees. If the key decision-makers will not be there, it’s likely to be a waste of your time.
  1. Screen the people who want to engage with you. If someone requests a meeting, interview or phone call, find out what it’s about. It could be 10 minutes of your life that you never get back.

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