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How to Stop Flakes in Your Work and Personal Life

When talking about flakiness…

There’s a distinct line between being the flake and being flaked on…I’ve been on both sides. Each time I was on the side of being flaked on, I would find myself instantly frustrated when it happened. After so many instances of experiencing both sides of flakiness, I decided to change my behavior by respecting others time as well as my own and making the conscious effort to never be the flake again.

I would show up late to work meetings, flake out on birthdays, first or second dates, family gatherings, you name it! It was the classic flake out – I would agree to attending an event and at the last minute would decide that I wasn’t feeling it and no longer wanted to go. I would make up excuses (totally unacceptable).

Flakiness and being chronically late happens because someone doesn’t value the currency of your Time and Time management, they think their time is endless and they have no perception of valuing other people’s time, whatsoever. People who respect their own time and know it’s precious currency don’t waste time with flaky behavior and they set the precedence that if you’re going to work with them or be friends you will respect their time.

So how do you handle those who tend to be late chronically or flaky?  I have the top What-to-do’s both for work and personal:

In the Work Setting

1. Use calendar invite and confirm

So work colleagues clearly know where they’re supposed to be and when.

2. What if…

 Your boss or the company culture is always late to meetings and functions? If you’re at a company which breeds tardiness, take the initiative to suggest or start your own meetings 10 or 15 minutes after the hour.  Often times corporate life consists of back to back meetings and there’s no time for a coffee refill or bathroom break, which makes people late to their next meeting. Having 10 or 15 minutes in between gives you and your work colleagues a solid opportunity to knock crap sh*t out effectively during a meeting.

3. If you’re dealing

With someone who tends to miss deadlines… set the deadline early and give yourself extra time to make sure the work is ready for next steps.  You may never be able to change someone else’s habit of missing deadlines, however you can set time sensitive requests earlier to ensure someone else’s bad habit doesn’t effect your own work accountabilities.

4. Ask co-workers or clients

To give you the heads up if they’ll be running late to an important meeting or if they’re behind with a deadline so you are able to plan accordingly. A simple text or IM is a great quick way to communicate and gage for an on time start.  If it’s a chronic issue and your dealing with someone who’s frequently missing when needed, have a conversation with them to figure out what is causing them to be miss or not show up  to meetings and communicate the support needed from them in order for certain tasks, projects or commitments to happen and make the business successful.

5. Send reminders

The day before, send them a reminder and confirm they’ll be on time. Let them know you’d appreciate an on time start. Depending on your level in the organization, take the option to eliminate them from the meetings or escalate to their manager if it’s affecting the productivity of the business to get stuff done.

Most corporate cultures require a team mindset and what you do may rely on others to perform their job. Like I said earlier, you can not change someone’s habits in the workplace, but you can control how you lead and participate by being on-time, prepared and ready.

We’re all busy, sometimes we “double book” ourselves, but it’s no excuse. TIME is the most valuable currency on this planet and we should never take it for granted. Get out of the habit of wasting time with those who waste yours.

It’s very common to change your mind and flake out on personal events, or just wanting to keep the calendar open for a better opportunity to come around.

I get it….

Personally dealing with flaky behavior:

1. Draw a line in the sand

Make a commitment to the things you know you are 100% in for. If you have to think about it too much or your gut is uneasy about committing, don’t go.

2. Be up front

About your level of showing up for friends, co-workers… let them know you’re 65% sure you’ll show up or maybe just 20%, that way the expectation of your presence is set. Give people the heads up as soon as you know you need cancel verses waiting until the LAST minute. 

3. Stop making time

For those who continue to be consistently late or flake out on you. When you take this step, you are showing up for yourself and only allowing your time to be spent with people who respect you and your time. You’ll have an increase in confidence and the ability to manage your time more effectively.

4. Ask yourself WHY…

Do you say Yes to commitments you really don’t want to go to? Are you a people pleaser? Seeking approval or validation from others instead of yourself? Remember your time is the most valuable thing you can offer to people and if you’re doing something you really don’t want to do you’re only disrespecting your own values.

5. Know when

To give people the benefit of the doubt. If they tell you they have to cancel way in advance or if someone cancels on you 24 hours before a lunch date, or traffic on the 405. That’s okay! If your Maid of Honor cancels on you the day before your wedding, or your friend always has some excuse as to why they’re late or they have to cancel yet again, spend less time and effort being flaked on.

Use your gut judgement and be kind and understanding, work demands and life happens and it is all about timing. It’s a conscious opportunity for you to decide if you need people in your life wasting your time.

Whatever your #goals are, the key to making them come true is utilizing the time you have to make steps towards them.  Being flaky will only delay what you really want in life and what you deserve.

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