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Understand the value of time

THE value of time“ARRIVING late is a way of saying that your own time was more valuable than the time of the person who waited for you.” – Karen Joy Fowler
A few days ago, I was chairing a youth meeting where we were planning a brainstorming and team building outing to one of the nice places ideal for such activities on the outskirts of Kabwe town. We all agreed on the venue, the dress code as well as the flow of activities once we got there. But when it came to time, all but one person agreed that we start off at 09:00 hours. The person’s argument was that if that is the case then we should put the time at 08:00 hours, his reason for this was, “if you put 09:00 hours most people will come at 10:00 hours because of Zambian time.”
From that time I have always struggled to understand the meaning of “Zambian time,” do we, as a country have our own time system which states that if the normal time is 10:00 hours then because we are Zambians they should allow us to arrive one hour later?
Event organisers know that when setting the time for an event, in their actual minds the true time is at least one hour later than the time they have set. They know that a 14:00 hours kitchen party or birthday party (the time on the invitation card) will start at 15:00 hours so no one is inconvenienced when everyone comes at 15:00 hours.
But what about the person who actually shows up on time? Does that mean that this person’s time is not important? He or she does not have something better to do? Why should a person suffer for being on time?
We need to fight this poor time management culture, especially for the sake of the next generation. We should be known to be punctual.
I was reading about the life of George Washington, the 1st President of the United States of America. This great man was characterized by a scrupulous regard for punctuality. When he told congress that he’d meet with them at noon, he could almost always be found striding into the chamber just as the clock was striking twelve.
And when Washington’s secretary arrived late to a meeting, and blamed his watch for his tardiness, Washington quietly replied, “Then you must get another watch, or I another secretary.”
For Washington, being on time was a way of showing respect to others, and he expected to be treated with the same level of respect in return.
I strongly believe that being punctual strengthens and reveals your integrity. If you arrive at exactly or shortly before the time you said you will arrive then you will be regarded as a person of your word.
Being on time shows that you are humble and also that you have respect for others. People have a lot of important things to do, so for them to set aside time to meet you means that they respect you. Your arriving late means that you have no respect for them and you are selfish. That you put your own needs before the needs of others.
Finally, I strongly believe that being late is a form of stealing. People who wait for you lose minutes that they will never get back, and by being the one who is making them wait, you are robbing these minutes from them. They could have turned that time into money through the business that they had set aside in order to meet you.
“If you wouldn’t think of taking ten dollars from another person’s purse or wallet, you should not think of stealing ten minutes from her or him either.” Anonymous
I have my own personal “Jones Samwenda time” which is, the exact time when you say you will meet me. The youths I meet know that if we are meeting at 14:30hrs then we will start at 14:30hrs, even if only one person shows up.
The Author is a motivational speaker, writer and behavioural change activist.