Respecting Others’ Time

I have this somewhat irrational urge/desire to never waste other people’s time. I am sure that this obsession is not always reciprocated. And it is also not to say that I am perfect at this. Surely I am not the perfect allocator of time — often I drag people into things that perhaps are not of their best interest (but rather for selfish needs).

Not everything needs to be optimized. You can just meet with people to just meet with people. Just to learn. Just to have fun.

But if you do attach a goal to an input — it is worth thinking about how you can best get results. This is a way to not only do that, but also forge incredible relationships with others.

Respecting others’ time, to me, is extremely important — in both professional and personal settings.

I think that we, the general working population, tend not to put a great enough emphasis on this. We tend to do a lot of things that are not super caring for others best interest. We generally act selfishly. We do what is best for us. We maximize our own utility.

This is short term positive. Long term — unsustainable and negative.

Takers will not succeed over givers in the long run because, in the long run, when we all really need help, givers will be there.

Respecting others’ time, the way I see it, is not rocket science. It is all about empathy. It is all about understanding another human’s wants and needs and breaking down the psychological desires they have.

Once you do that — you can attempt to think from their perspective — yet not many of us even try this. Most of us spend little time thinking about other people’s motivations.

It is worth the investment — thinking about others’ incentives for doing things. Most of us operate under very rational and logical incentive structures. This makes it easy to analyze from an outsider’s perspective.

Your coworker is excited for her/his project because, if successful, they will get a raise.

This explains their bias for making sure it works.

This taints the results of the experiment.

This is an incentive problem.

The same is true with meeting people you do not know.

Why ask them to meet?

Do you have a goal? Is there something to accomplish with it?

Are you thinking from their perspective, or your own?

Lots of people think they have nothing to offer. This is not true. You have ears and you can ask questions. Truth: people like to talk about themselves. You can make most anyone feel positive and good about themselves by asking them interesting questions to have them talk about themselves.

Ego drives most of us. For this reason, it is easy to satiate another person’s ego.

But is this the best use of everyone’s time?

Of course not.

You can read these stories elsewhere. You know what it is like to work at google if you just google it and read some medium posts.

Attaching a goal to something will give you a reason for spending others’ time. It is harder, but well worth it.

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