PDF download: Monthly Focus for March

Choose Civility
at home • at school • at work
An Initiative Championed by the Contra Costa County
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Joseph A. Ovick
Civility Principle for March
Respect Other People’s Time
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff
life is made of.” — Benjamin Franklin
Ever planned to meet a friend at 10:00, only to have the friend show
up at 10:20 without even an apology for arriving late? Time is a
precious commodity, and we need to treat other people’s time as
valuable as our own.
Here are a few ideas from Dr. Forni on respecting other people’s time:
• Be punctual. Punctuality is nonnegotiable. Arriving on time is a
basic rule of considerate behavior.
• If you are going to be more than five minutes late, call.
• Cancel plans only in case of emergency. Canceling on short
notice is rude.
• When you call someone on the phone, check to make sure it is
a good time for the other person to talk. If not, suggest another
more convenient time for both.
• Keep both phone and in person conversations short. We are all
busy people, and others appreciate brevity.
• Be fully present for the person you are with. Minimize interruptions,
and don’t take cell phone calls or text. Only an emergency
justifies such behavior.
• Wait your turn in line. Demanding immediate attention is uncivil
and ineffective.
• Answer e-mails and return phone calls. Don’t waste others’ time by
having to contact you a second or third time to get a response.
• Meet deadlines and turn things in early or on time.
• Always give others the amount of time that they can rightfully
expect from you.
Action step: Resolve to respect other people’s time, valuing it as you
do your own.
Excerpt from P.M. Forni’s book, Choosing Civility