Things seem to take longer lately than they normally do. The “lately” part relates to since COVID. Now that many businesses are open again and many people are out and about, there are some definite challenges with service. You have probably noticed this also. This, coupled with the increased frustration level of many people, makes a frustrating situation dangerous. The Southwest Airlines flight attendant who lost two teeth in an altercation with a passenger a few days ago is only one example of frustration becoming dangerous. The apparent road rage incident that resulted in a six-year-old child being shot last week may be another example. Regardless of our frustrations or the actions of others, we must find healthy and humane ways to deal with our frustrations.
I was in a fast-food line last week, and it took much longer than acceptable for me to be served. When I got to the window to get my order, I politely asked why it had taken so long. Without even having to think about her answer, the staff person said, also politely, “We are slammed, and we do not have enough help.” That is all too common lately in many restaurants and other places of business. I hear some people lament, “People do not want to work. They can make more on unemployment than they can working.” That may or may not be true. But we need some solutions to help us manage the challenges that not having enough help creates, since more and more of us are going out and want to enjoy the experience.
Since I am often focused on change and helping others (as well as myself!) deal with change effectively, I wonder if any of my work with change can help with this. After all, this is a change. I recall a Three-Part Model for Effectiveness that I developed years ago, and I think it can help us deal with the changes creating increased frustration.
Part One of this model is Plan. Plan better than you think you need to. This includes planning that things will take more time than they normally do. If you have been to a Post Office lately, you know what I mean. Plan for traffic and construction delays. Plan for slower deliveries of most things. (Other than Amazon; how do they do it?) Leave earlier and expect that many things will take at least twenty-five percent longer to complete than they did in the past. Take something with you to read or work on while you are waiting. Make good use of the waiting time. Do whatever you need to so that your “hot buttons” are insulated. Eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep. Make sure you have enough time for reflection.
Part Two is Purge. This is getting rid of what is not important or essential, so that you have the energy you need to be at your best, on your best behavior. You most likely know that you are nicer and calmer when you are not rushed. We all are. So why do we back ourselves into a corner time wise, creating reactions that make us less than nice people? Often it is because we are trying to do too much. Some people take pride in multitasking, even when we really can’t do more than one thing at a time well. Yes, we can juggle, but we are not our best selves when doing so. Consider what you need to purge to be able to allow more time for what is important and essential. It may cost more to buy convenience food than to cook, but if it is affordable, it may be worth the time it saves us. Purging clutter and disorganization gives us more time because we are not spending excess time looking for displaced or lost items.
Part Three is Perform. This relates to doing the high-performance activities that will help us accomplish our goals. In some cases, things here are the opposite of the things in Purge. Also, Planning and Performing are closely aligned. For example, if we are organized, a key area in Perform, we do not allow clutter to take hold, or we have purged it. If we Perform, we Plan. But Planning without Performing is ineffective. Planning and Performing go hand in hand. Perform is about executing and doing so consistently.
This upcoming holiday weekend is likely to test us. There will be many people on the roads, so we can expect traffic delays. There will be many people in the grocery stores, so we can expect shopping will take longer than we want it to. Restaurants will probably be packed, so if we go out to eat, we should expect service delays. This is a good time to implement Plan, Purge, and Perform.
Let’s be on our best behavior and be nice.