Successful business entrepreneurs obsess over their companies and know instinctively the phrase, “time is money,” is true. It’s why business owners hire others to do tasks they could otherwise do themselves: accounting, marketing, paperwork, and so on. However, not everyone in the world of business is adept at executing, some, talk and do so a lot — a whole lot. They procrastinate, squander time on trivial tasks, and have long conversations without an objective. What’s worse, is some of us are not only susceptible to time wasters, we’re also enablers.
How to Avoid People who Waste Your Time
Enablers are generally very caring, thoughtful individuals and they don’t like to hurt others’ feelings. Even business people who are laser focused and get things done are time waster enablers, because they interact and hire them. While it seems completely counterintuitive, you don’t really know a person’s qualities until you get to know him or her through your work together. Someone might appear to be just as focused and enthusiastic but appearances can be misleading.
We’re all too busy, spending our days in back-to-back meetings and our nights feverishly responding to emails. (Adam Grant, a famously responsive Wharton professor, told me that on an “average day” he’ll spend 3-4 hours answering messages.) That’s why people who waste our time have become the scourge of modern business life, hampering our productivity and annoying us in the process. —Harvard Business Review
You contract and hire individuals based on their previous work but it isn’t until you really begin to interact with them you learn their true character traits. While you might be impressed with their body of work, you probably aren’t at all eager to become a victim of someone who wastes your time. The really big problem to overcome is to spot time wasters and that’s very difficult, because it could be anybody, not just an employee or contractor, but also a partner, vendor, customer or client. The trick is to identify as soon as possible those who are most likely to waste your time from those who get things done. You can do this by looking for certain personality extremes:
- Negative individuals. Head down, slumped shoulders, complete with a scowl or frown, negative people tend to broadcast their misery physically with body language. Even those who manage to look composed will definitely show their true colors when speaking. They portray themselves as victims, bring you and others down, and worst of all, waste your time.
- Super happy people. Happy-go-luckily, big smile, with large, enthusiastic stride, super happy individuals might be a blast and cheer others up, but, these people can be a bit too exuberant. These can easily be signs of immaturity and even though jubilant, they’re not serious about much of anything. These individuals will definitely liven up a room, but, they’ll also waste your time and do so with a big grin and bellowing laughter. You’ll be trying to get things done while they’re cracking jokes and carrying-on.
- Gossip spreaders. People who can’t wait to tell you the latest about this or that with him or her are to be avoided at all costs because they’re involving you in the drama as well, even if you don’t know it. Individuals that take gossip to a whole new level aren’t interested about getting things done, they are only interested in spreading rumors and stirring-up drama to justify their agenda.
- Emotional people. Speaking of drama, those who revel in spreading rumors and gossiping can also be very prone to being emotional. They go from one extreme to another and never seem to be on an even keel. These individuals do little else than waste their own time, as well as others. They tend to be irrational and irritable and ought to be completely avoided.
Another two personality types who can be total time wasters are attention seekers and self-centered individuals. The former will always want to be the center of attention, no matter where they might be, while the latter will step on toes and cross lines in a self-serving manner. This is why it’s imperative to surround yourself with positive, focused individuals who get things done and share your enthusiasm so that you can achieve your goals.