My Time Is Expensive, You Know!

Today, I’ve got a rant. A big one.
I start it with “My time is expensive, you know”.
Hear me out while I tell you why. I am sure you want to know why I’m suddenly so uppity.
Most people don’t think about the time they spend. Yah, we all know we start the day with 24 hours and then we minus out 8 hours for sleep so what do we have left? Some 16 hours right? Then let’s say we work for another 8 and then what do you have?
Another 8 right? Cut out time for makan, bathroom time, travelling time and in my case, some blogging, some facebooking, some other stuff which always pops up in the most crazy moments and there goes the final 8 hours. Oh, don’t forget the crucial stuff – sitting in silent contemplation. My reprieve from the world. Some journalling. Reading. Watching Desperate Housewives.
Now the 8 hours that I dedicate to work – I dedicate to work. But here’s something totally Malaysian which I still cannot fathom till now.
What is it with people who want to meet up ALL the time? I mean, clients especially. Just this week, 3 different people told me, “Maybe we should meet up and discuss this.”
Why do people want to force meet-ups on others when we can do this easily without needing to meet up face to face?
Look. I’m all for meeting up if there’s something conclusive to say and discuss. I do this all the time when I need meetings to help others make a tough call, convince decision-makers, finalize stuff, get people to sign contracts, go for business walk-throughs at the start of new web projects. I mean, I get it when a meeting is really needed because sometimes you just can’t conduct a walk-through without being there in the flesh yourself. That I get.
What I don’t get is when meetings are just a plain lazy way of doing what can be done easily, quickly and effortlessly online.
What I don’t get is why people cannot think straight and ask themselves, “Is a face-to-face meeting really needed? Can I be smart with my time and use a method which saves everyone the trouble of driving over, cursing as we cannot find parking, going round and round the damn lot for 15 minutes and then going up to the meeting room only to have the damn discussion done in 10 minutes? Is this a good use of my time and other people’s time?”
I’ve been in client servicing and I know the kind of people who hope you can drop everything you do and jump into your car and drive to see them just because they are the ‘client’. And most client servicing executives follow their clients’ “instructions” blindly.
I always think – what bloody good is Technology if we cannot use it to make our lives easier? Look, there’s Skype. There’s the phone. There’s email.
If something cannot be described via a Skype call, phone call or email, I don’t think that something can even be discussed in a face-to-face meeting.
If you cannot explain or describe what you want, what do you hope to achieve in a meeting? Sit around and twiddle our thumbs? Chat about the weather?
Most people think money is the scarcest resource. It’s not, babe. You can make all the money you want if you have talent, skills, creativity, brains.
The scarcest resource?
It’s TIME.
We all start with an equal amount of it and if we’re not smart about using it and allow others to dictate how we use it, we deserve to lose time. We cannot get more of it if we waste it.
So while I love face-to-face networking (and that’s why I started WomenBizSENSE with a friend), I know there are times when meetings can be easily conducted with technology. You want to see my face? Use Skype with a webcam then. Want to speak to 3 other people at the same time? Use multi-party conferencing. That’s how we, who volunteer for The Pixel Project, discuss what we need to do.
I’m terribly selfish with my time because people are naturally too lazy to find an easier alternative. And perhaps it’s also easy to justify that “Oh I’m busy. I need to go for a meeting.” The number of meetings you attend do not correlate with the outcomes. You could be running around in traffic jams only to accomplish nothing because you’re too exhausted to even know what’s discussed.
The thing is, don’t let people dictate how you use your time. Not even Clients. Particularly Clients because they think they own you just because you are doing work for them.
I’m in business because I want to decide how to live my life. And sometimes you just have to stand up to people who mess about with your time and essentially your life.
Standing up and saying no is a great practice in assertiveness anyway. Try this the next time someone asks for a meeting in the flesh.
Most likely, when you tell them no and suggest meeting online via Skype, they’ll agree!