A quiet amusement of mine is to watch the expression of people who arrive
late for my
time management seminars. (Now you?re going to be worried every time you go
of my programs!) The look resembles a child who just got caught with a hand
cookie jar. Tail between the legs, these people shuffle in sheepishly
something about traffic, while their friends jibe, ?How can you be late for
The number one complaint I receive from managers who bring me in to coach
folks on performance is something around “the inability to meet deadlines,
late, is constantly running behind, or he/she forgot.” There are actually
three types of
people I see:
1. ?Late? people are typically perpetually late, for everything.
2. ?On time? people typically arrive a minute or two ahead or behind the
3. ?Early? people are rare and are generally early to everything.
Victor Borge’s famous comment in concert sums it up nicely. He was well
performance when a woman came in late, fighting her way through the rows to
near the front. Borge stopped playing and as she proceeded?trampling over
embarrassing, rustling, and disturbing her way to her seat?he said (much to
chagrin, as all eyes focused on her ill-timed arrival) “Excuse me, excuse
me, excuse me.”
After she sat down, he walked over near where she was sitting and said,
you from, Ma’am?” “Fifty-Seventh Street,” she said. “Well, Lady, I’m from
I was here on time.”
People are much more irritated by lateness than we ever know, it can
everything from promotions and raises to friendships. Late people crowd us,
and mentally, all the time. We all hate the fact that their lateness undoes
and disrupts our day. Showing up late for work or sending something in late,
how well done, still means a black mark against you.
For example, let?s say that you hired me to speak at a conference you
were planning. I
was slotted to be the opening speaker, and I was scheduled to speak at 9:00
9:05, I came rushing in, exclaiming that I was trapped in a major traffic
jam. Would you
care? NO! You could care less about my reason. You only care about your
at the time. People expect you to honor their time and your commitments,
just as you
expect that from them. After I gave an incredible speech and everyone loved
would you ever hire me again? NO! In fact, you would remember how
you felt when I was late. You would probably even tell other people about my
tardiness and recommend they don’t hire me either!
So I?m an Early, not because I’m soooooo productive, but because I?ve
benefits in doing so. For one of your New Year?s productivity goals in 2006,
I?d like to
encourage you to become an Early. Why is it important?
? You get the first choice of many things
? You gain admiration and respect
? You are able to relax and not sweat
? You get good press and publicity
? You get the rest of the time to relax or read
Being an Early makes you look competent and lets others know you can be
upon. Being a Late, however, makes people wonder if you’ll come through this
You’ll always be bringing up the rear, never totally trusted, no matter how
are. Even if you’re on “on time,” that’s fairly typical…boring? It just
doesn’t stand out.
It’s okay…just expected…yawn. Don’t be simply “average”!
LATE says, “I can’t make deadlines.” EARLY says, “I don’t need deadlines.”
LATE says, “I’m out of control.” EARLY says, “I’m in control.”
LATE says, “I can’t look beyond the moment.” EARLY says, “I look ahead.”
Convinced? So how do you become an Early? It has nothing to do with
watch five minutes fast and “fooling” yourself, because psychologically, you
five minutes fast, and make up for it anyway. Keep your clocks on the
correct time. It
also doesn’t really have anything to do with time management, but with
fact, this simple, inexpensive principle will actually *prevent* 50% or more
“time management” problems.
So instead of thinking, ?I begin speaking at 9:00 AM,? my thoughts rather
like, ?I should plan on arriving at 8:00 AM to set up and get prepared.?
Then I have to
figure out how long it should take me to get there, a buffer in case there?s
time I would need to be dropping the kids off at daycare, what time to get
them up, so
what time I?d have to wake up in order for all that to happen. And I have
lots of things
to do once I have arrived and set up…bills to pay, magazines to peruse,
that report to
read, or thank you letters to write.
Here’s a quiz. If you had a speech to give in March, and it’s January
now, when would
you begin preparing? The week before? If you started now and researched over
you would be much less stressed and have prepared much more when the time
If you have a trip coming up, do you pack the night before? Why not set the
out and drop things in it over the week ahead? If you have to run to the
something you’re out of, no problem. You won’t be in a last-minute rush and
out clothes at midnight, starting your trip tired and grumpy. When did you
your holiday cards????
Before you sit down to relax each night, ask yourself, “What’s coming up
“What can I get out of the way now?” I can never go to bed at night without
the next day, knowing exactly where I need to be, what I need to have, and
laid out in front of me. I have clothes selected, school papers signed,
briefcase packed, and schedule outlined. Each month, I plan for the next
look ahead at what needs to be done.
Become an Early, and you won’t have “deadlines.” They will be unnecessary
complete things early. Deadlines were made for people who would not get
without it. Deadlines eliminate all the job of accomplishment as you work
deadline, not the completion of a project or task. Deadlines are often
because the task is often put off until the deadline, but it could have been
It will take a bit to catch up, but once you’re on top of things, stay
one step ahead. You
will experience a new peace of mind. If you are early (no extra cost, no
explanations), you don’t have to worry about deadlines. So make working
early your style, convert “later” to “now,” and you’ll be much more
efficient in 2006.
Make it a productive day! ?