I know an increasing number of folks now who are either unemployed or self-employed, and I find that as envious as I am of their ability to make excellent use of their time, I have to actively work to avoid being burned by their lack of sense of time.
Me: Hey, So-and-So, did you hear back about that project proposal you submitted a while back?
So-and-So: No. Maybe I should check on that.
Me: Oh. It’s been, like, months.
So-and-So: Yeah… It’d be nice to get that project.
Me: Like… someday?
Or how’s about:
Me: So, I sent you that thing so you could send me that other thang which I kinda need tomorrow…?
Ms. Thang: Oh, yeah… I’ll, um. Tomorrow? Well, I’ll need at least a few days.
Me: I gave it to you a month ago. And reminded you last week.
Ms. Thang: Huh. …What day is today?
Or even worse for my own peace of mind:
Boo!: So, you ready for to go?
Me: Auggh! Don’t scare me like that. Go where?
Boo!: To the one thing. I said I’d be up for it this week or next.
Me: Yeah, but like, today? Right now?
Boo!: Well, sure. I’m not busy.
Me: …Did I miss a email? A phone call?
I’m definitely more relaxed about a lack of notice and other folks missing perceived deadlines than I was a few years ago, when I’d be upset if I didn’t get at least a full week’s notice before a group dinner or movie night (how many events didn’t I get invited to?). After all, what’s important to me may not even register on anyone else’s radar, and that’s perfectly cool. Chances are, it probably wasn’t important in the grand scheme of my own life.
That said… it can be an exercise in patience and poker-facing to not respond with some incredulous looks in some of the above situations. Time really seems to flow at a much different pace for many of other folks, and that’s hard for me to come to peace with.
While I’m working to change my own attitudes on time and urgency–to relax and be less stressed–I think I want to remain very mindful of time, both mine and others’. It’s a pretty limited resource all around.