Posted on Apr 03, 2020, 4 p.m.
Article courtesy of : Nicholas DiNubile MD
“Men count up the faults of those who keep them waiting” ~ French Proverb
I am sure you have those friends, or business colleagues, who are always late. Always an excuse. Too busy for time management and so on. No one likes to wait. “Good things come to those who wait” works well for long term goals but it does not usually apply to when the person you are scheduled to meet is running 30-40 minutes late – or more. From sales calls to air travel to doctor’s appointments, playing the waiting game seems to be a fact of life. Sometimes it can be avoided by calling ahead, double checking schedules, and gently reminding those involved that your time too is important/valuable. When that’s not practical you can try to make the wait work for you.
In sales, you can better prepare for the call, or better yet build relationships with the ever so important secretaries, administrative assistants and other front desk people who can make or break your life, and sales. In airports and other predictably unpredictable situations, bring work, read a book, or take a leisurely walk and get in your daily exercise. The key is not to get over-stressed (to where your health is compromised- stress will do that) or say or do something that will sabotage or negatively impact the reason for your meeting or wait in the first place.
Perhaps the worst offenders are my colleagues in the medical profession. Since most of us spend time in physicians’ offices, I feel I should shed a little more light on this, and do believe that if you can better navigate and/or tolerate the dreaded waiting room, it can positively impact your health. Hopefully you can even make this a positive experience. A few tips from the trenches. Call ahead to see how things are going and reschedule if needed. Bring work or a good book. Things that can help include bringing an up to date list of your medical history and conditions as well as medications. Have a list of your major concerns/issues and bring them up early in the office visit. Most physicians set aside a certain amount of time for you and it helps them prioritize your problems and fit them in if they know it all up front. Like sales calls and airports, a little planning goes a long way.
If you still find yourself waiting, remember that most physicians really don’t like to run late. The nature of medicine and all its modern day challenges and uncertainties make it a likelihood that no one, on either side of the stethoscope, likes. It’s not like a car wash where each car goes through at a precise and predictable timetable. I’d love just one day like that!
Understanding all this may help make you a more patient patient, something that your physician will appreciate on those days where things just go south despite the best efforts. I am not saying you should tolerate a doc who constantly is tardy and doesn’t seem to care. But with occasional waits, especially if they are accompanied by an apology, please give the benefit of the doubt. Always quite late, without acknowledgement, find a new one. Better yet, take better care of yourself and avoid the doctor completely if possible. Put prevention to work for you with good nutrition, stress reduction and daily exercise.
So next time if you find yourself waiting for Godot, or anyone, think about it a little differently. Try to make it work for you, somehow. Meditate, relax, take a walk or get some work done. Also, when appropriate, make it clear (in a professional way) to the other person (or persons) involved that for both (or all) of you, time is valuable and that being on time is important. You’ll find yourself waiting less in the future.
Learn to better manage and handle your waiting times and you will always be a head of the clock. Also, keep an eye on your watch and be on time.
Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, is Vice President of the A4M, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, best selling author, keynote speaker, and one of our esteemed medical editors who is dedicated to keeping you healthy in body, mind and spirit. Dr. DiNubile was appointed Special Advisor to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (1st Bush Administration with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Chairman). He has advised two United States Presidents on matters of health and health policy, and has cared for numerous celebrities and high level athletes.
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