Time is, for the average American, of utmost importance. To the foreign visitor, Americans seem to be more concerned with getting things accomplished on time (according to a predetermined schedule) than they are with developing deep interpersonal relations. Schedules, for the American, are meant to be planned and then followed in the smallest detail.
It may seem to you that most Americans are completely controlled by the little machines they wear on their wrists, cutting their discussions off abruptly to make it to their next appointment on time.
Americans’ language is filled with references to time, giving a clear indication of how much it is valued. Time is something to be “on,” to be “kept,” “filled,” “saved,” “wasted,” “gained,” “planned,” “given,” “made the most of,” even “killed.”
The international visitor soon learns that it is considered very rude to be late -- even by 10 minutes -- for an appointment in America.
Time is so valued in America, because by considering time to be important one can clearly achieve more than if one “wastes” time and doesn’t keep busy. This philosophy has proven its worth. It has enabled Americans to be extremely productive, and productivity itself is highly valued in America. Many American proverbs stress the value of guarding time, using it wisely, and setting and working toward specific goals. Americans believe in spending their time and energy today so that the fruits of their labor may be enjoyed at a later time.