The 3 Types of Slowpokes (and How to Deal with Them)

Move along, folks, there’s nothing to see here.

If life was a video game, slow tourists, coworkers and cashiers would definitely be the obstacles that pop up just as you’re gaining speed. So Real Simple editor and host of "I Want to Like You" Kristin van Ogtrop investigates the nicest way to tell people to “get out of my way!” This week she chats with Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro and author of Doing the Right Things Right: How the Effective Executive Spends Time, and Scott Williams, Chief Operating Officer of the Newseum in Washington D.C., about how to deal with people who march to the beat of their own incredibly slow drum. Below, some of their advice for speeding things up.

Tourists: If there is a group of four or five people hogging the sidewalk or stopping to take photos, Stack recommends approaching them with what she calls the “you view”: letting them know that the problem isn’t just annoying to you, but affects them as well. For example, approach them and tell them that they’re in the middle of a very busy area and suggest another place where they would be safer. They’ll probably be thankful.

Coworkers: If you have a coworker that’s telling you an incredibly long story, Stack recommends politely interrupting, saying something positive about the story and then asking to continue it during lunch. Feel like you’re too far in? Stand up and ask them to follow you while you do a small task. They’ll either continue to tell you the story while you stay productive – and polite – or they’ll get the hint and check in later.

Cashiers: When checking you out at the grocery store, cashiers think they are doing their jobs better when engaging with their customers. If you’re noticing an especially long line in front of you, Williams urges you to speak to a manager about your experience. Most of the time middle-level management will be happy you agree with them. They probably are asking for more support on certain shifts but don’t have the evidence it’s needed.

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