This time thing o
We have to deal with it o
This time thing o
It is wasting our lives
So there I was hanging out at a church denomination’s national convention when I saw a man huffing and puffing up the street. He’d packed his car afar off at one of the only spots left in the 5,000+ vehicle capacity lot and was running towards the sanctuary like kidnappers were chasing him. When I inquired about the source of his haste, I was told he was trying to catch the ordination service. So I asked, “Is that the same ordination those robed fellows over there are being congratulated for?” “Yes,” my informant assured me, “it ended about an hour ago.” I grimaced, is it not a serious matter when a pastor is late for his own ordination?
Years ago, I joined one of ‘our organizations’ and soon began receiving invitations to events. Being a generally time-conscious person, I’d arrive at the specified time of the event either to find an empty parking lot or be privileged to help the celebrant set up! Similarly, I attended professional meetings where leaders who were expected to start the meeting with a report, arrived 45 minutes late and marched boldly to the head table. Gradually, I was co-opted into thinking differently about time such that when an invitation states two o clock, I wonder if it means four or six or eight so I could arrive ‘on time.’
We have turned time wastage into an art form dubbing it pseudonyms like ‘Colored People (CP) time’ or ‘Nigerian time.’ Our parties and meetings never start or end on time nor are beauty, barber, doctor’s, or real estate agent appointments ever kept. Expectedly, this casual recognition of time costs us tremendously. When we invite more time-conscious people to our events, we come off looking like triflers. We appear unprofessional and unserious. And meetings are less productive, for example, when a professional meeting which is scheduled to run from 2 to 4:00 pm does not start till 3:00, by 3:45, people are clamoring to leave because they had scheduled other events for 4:00pm. Likewise, a party just getting started at 10:00pm when the hall rental ends at 11:00 cannot but end haphazardly.
Then there is the time wasted waiting for someone to ‘start’ their appointment, meeting, party, or event. Minutes trickle into hours that when joined together add up to days, months, and years of nothingness. Gradually, it grows into a life of limited productivity and tremendous unfulfilled potential. You and I must stop the madness. Decide to become time conscious today.
- ARRIVE ON TIME: If you set an appointment, plan to arrive earlier than your set time. Chris Gardner author of The Pursuit of Happyness (and whose story is told in the movie), wears two wristwatches (one on each wrist) because earlier in his business, he arrived late to a prospecting appointment. Of course, the potential client did not trust him to invest his money which dealt a severe blow to Gardner’s bottom line. From then on, he vowed to arrive at least 15 minutes before any appointment! And his watches help him keep time.
- PLAN YOUR TIME WISELY: You’ve been invited to an event you know will not start on time, plan ahead how long you will stay. I go to events on time and plan to ‘donate’ only an hour of my time to the event. If the organizer starts on time, great; if not, I help set up and then leave.
- SPEND YOUR TIME WISELY: Take something to do when you absolutely have to wait for an event to start such as a service of songs. I bring out my notebook and write pieces like this one. If you don’t write, which you should; network, catch up with old friends, talk to your children, or sleep.
- HELP OTHERS KEEP TIME: Improve your professional profile by only setting appointments you can keep. Beyond this, help others around you to keep appointments they make, meetings they organize, and events they host. We cannot gainsay the connection between timeliness and productivity. Indeed, a stitch in time saves nine.
Finally, think, a second becomes a minute which becomes an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, and a lifetime. A little CP time here, a little Nigerian time there, and before we know it, we are too old to know time and time indeed, has passed us by. Decide today to change your time paradigm!