I’ve been doing what I do for many years. Over the course of those years I’ve met and spoken to many people, I’ve read and written many emails, I’ve taken and received many phone calls. Although I now think I know and understand how to navigate most business relationships, whether formal or informal there is one aspect of this navigation that I have never quite got used to and that is how to deal with time wasters. I mean I know how to deal with them now but I just do not understand them. I don’t understand why, when there are so many sources of information and research channels anybody would choose to spend their own time, wasting someone else’s. This is something I have seen frequently in business and I’m not sure whether it’s because people enjoy the idea of being busy or they genuinely just have too much time on their hands.
Here are a few ways to spot time wasters:
- Someone who sends questions that could be answered very quickly by reviewing the information presented in a website. It sometimes feels like an endless back and forth answering questions that people could find the answers to themselves but for some reason aren’t interested in doing the work.
- Dangling the fruit of opportunity without any real structure or brief but because they know you’re a small business owner they know that you are more likely to entertain a conversation if there’s a possibility that it will lead to business.
- Not having a clear brief and budget or not taking the time to understand what service they need and why they need them or what services you offer.
- Not wanting to spend money but wants to pick your brain and/or have you prove that you’re worthy of their business even though they’re the ones that approached you.
I used to blame time wasters for wasting my time but I admit that I too have allowed conversations to go on for too long as opposed to nipping things in the bud. This is perhaps due to my understanding of the impact on reputations if one isn’t responsive, however I also have clear boundaries that I adhere to and do my best to ensure others respect. Hopefully people start to realise the impact they have on wasting people’s time in business and professional spaces.