We have all the time
Time and money usually go hand in hand. There is that old adage that goes: “Time is money”. If managed the right way, both time and money are invaluable resources that can do a lot for individuals. They can do a lot for organisations if handled the right way. They can work wonders for a country if managed in the most strategic way. But this is a value we, as a country, fail to grasp.
Meanwhile, we have all the time to waste and all the value for money to take for granted. Meanwhile, we can keep ranting about the bottom-of-the-list rating we are always given when compared to the rest of the globe, development-wise. Meanwhile, we continue to glare at other countries’ development achievements with green eyes while finding someone—something, anything—to blame for our self-projected misfortunes.
In many places outside the country, taking calls and attending to texts and emails while in a meeting is taboo. It is frowned upon to the extent that everyone is very self-conscious about maintaining the right etiquette at important gatherings. This goes hand in hand with actually coming to meetings on time and not when the meeting is half way through. The idea is to have everybody’s full attention, minimise distractions and maintain the necessary synergy.
We are yet to wake up and realise that multi-tasking is the greatest myth of the 21st century. Instead, we like to get on our self-important high horses believing that the world would stop on its axis if we continued attending to immediate pertinent issues and according meetings or any other task at hand the necessary level of respect and attention. This is after we have made it to the meeting 45 minutes after it started because we felt it could wait. As a result, time and resources are wasted, with little positive results to show for our behaviour.
Similar trends are seen in customer service. There are times when service delivery is slow because an attendant was chatting with a colleague, was simply taking their time or thought it wise to attend to a personal call or message before serving a customer. Sometimes, the reputation of a whole brand, or organisation, is compromised because of few people who do not know where to draw the line. Customers are forced to wait and compromise on their already strained schedules because someone could not respect the value of time and money. Talking about money, the queues we find in banking halls every other day are another menace, but this will be a topic for another day.
This insensitivity is so deep rooted that even patients in hospitals are sometimes forced to wait, with little regard for their state of being and the pain they might be in. Sometimes, people’s conditions get worse right in the corridors of hospitals because of this. It is more painful in private hospitals to experience this because people end up paying for the poor service they have received. It is a real shame.
It is known in the country that when you receive an invitation card that says a wedding, or cocktail or whatever event, is starting at a certain time, one should make their way there an hour later because the function will not start as scheduled. But this is where we miss it; organisers also wait for the same people to arrive before kicking off the function. In the process, quality is compromised and some people are left frustrated. Again, at the end of the day, time is wasted and value for money is compromised.
These are just a few examples of the trends that collectively end up negatively affecting our reputation as well as operations, livelihoods and businesses at a larger scale. Whole government departments, development projects and initiatives go awry because the people involved fail to appreciate the value of money and time. Sometimes, investors and business partners are put off at the first or second meeting when they sense that the other party lacks seriousness. This lack of seriousness is gauged by their conduct and, at times, mannerisms when import decisions or actions need to be made or taken.
The day we have proper value for time and money is the day the country starts to move forward inch by inch, breadth by breadth. The day we invest in these two resources is the day we shall see numerous returns, starting from our households all the way up to the bream of the national development cup. Meanwhile… I rest my case.
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