If you want to keep your own stress down, get out of the very bad habit of making people wait for you. In business, time is money and most people believe it is their most valuable commodity. A very sure way to annoy someone is to keep him or her waiting. Most people are understanding and will forgive you, but treating them this way is disrespectful and it shows a sign of a lack of acknowledgement. What you are saying to the person on a subconscious level is “My time is more valuable than yours. And I have more important things to be doing than to spend time with you.” Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, how would you feel to be treated like that? Would you want to do business with that person?
Deep inside we all know that no one feels good about being made to wait. This produces stress for you because you know you are disappointing the person. You know he / she is looking at the clock, wondering where you are and why you are late.He / She may well have other commitments either personal or professional that you are keeping him / her from. This could result in him or her becoming angry or really upset.
Of course, there are times when it really can’t be helped and you are running late. Things happen that are out of your control and everyone has days like this. The vast majority of the time, you can prevent being late. Instead of planning ahead, giving yourself more time, making allowances for unexpected problems, you leave things to the last moment. Then you have to rush to catch up.
Another thing people do that really is bad is to make excuses. Excuses are just cop outs. You keep a customer waiting for twenty or thirty minutes then come out with an excuse. “Midday traffic is horrendous!” “My laptop is having problems with the internet.” or “I’ll just be two seconds!” another five minutes go by . The person isn’t going to say thank you or put you on the top of his most favourite people's list! People are not interested in or impressed by excuses.
To keep people waiting can have a negative impact for you. Some people really go nuts when they are made to wait. Some will blow up as soon as they see you. Others are more discreet but they will not take you seriously, they will avoid you when they can, they will ridicule you to others. You will get a reputation as being the person that is always late. Some will get right on the phone and complain to your customer service department. Others will make such a fuss you may even lose your job.
Showing up late creates so much stress for you. You are always running. Never on schedule. You are always concerned about what you are running for. Your head is full of negative stressful thoughts about what could, or will happen.
When you are on time, you avoid all the problems that I just mentioned. The stress level falls way, way down. The person you are meeting will respect you for being on time and not wasting their time. Even though they may not express it to you. You will get a reputation of being a professional that is always punctual. When you speak they will respect you and take you seriously. You will be able to relax more and to deal with the issues that are important. Your bosses will see you are dependable and this may result in a pay increase or a promotion.
Until next time I wish you peace, happiness and success. Martin Acton sensei