|Feb 04, 2009 1:34 am
||Organization Tuesday: The Late Business Consortium Solopreneur
late than never, but never late is better.”
As a professional organizer, I deal with tangibles (stuff) and
intangibles (time, belief-systems), and one of the factors that shapes
how well someone adapts to new organizing and time management skills
and systems is
whether the person understands and internalizes the concept of limits.
For example, some clients will clip articles with the vague intention
to read them in the future, or hold onto unread journals, magazines and
books, year after year, with little or no effort towards reading the
items in the ever-climbing piles. Often, we have to sit
down, count how long it takes to read one medical journal or one text
in their field, and then extrapolate ... at which point, the client is
shocked and chagrined to realize that reading the backlog (not even
counting the continual addition of materials), as if it
were a job, eight hours a day, five days a week, would likely
be impossible. Certainly, it would take longer than their
predicted lifespans. Without a concerted effort to rein in
the materials, the idea that there's a limit on the space
one's items can/should take up tends to become a vague, out of reach
concept, like death. Instead, people buy storage
more containers. Heck, they rent storage buildings!
Well, if people are bad about "stuff", they're often less successful
measuring and accounting for their time. And unlike stuff,
you can't really expand your limits. We all get the same 24
hours, the same 365 days; certainly our lifespans vary, but out day-in,
day-out schedules are all similarly limited.
Given the number of deadlines in our daily lives: expiration
dates on foods, quarterly estimated tax deadlines, project due
dates...it constantly surprises me how fluid most people's
with time actually are. You would think that our
"outside" limits on professional time would enforce more structure and
that we'd be more efficient. However, I recently read that
ten minutes of tardiness
per professional amounts to $90 Billion (yes, billion
with a "B") per year in lost productivity. That's equivalent
to approximately 1% percent of the U.S. Gross
Domestic Product! Further, academic research
has estimated that at least 20% of Americans experience
chronic tardiness, arriving almost everywhere for almost
Time is money, so lost
time means lost money. When we are late, we
decrease our productivity and the productivity of those dependent upon
us. However, in addition to the measurable losses of each
"tardy" event, there are social and professional losses that
profound negative repercussions in our business (and personal)
relationships. Just yesterday on Twitter, a
young entrepreneur tweeted (asked) publicly, and then to our
own Felicia Slattery:
"Do you judge people if
they are late for an appointment or give someone a 2nd chance if they
miss an appointment w/you?"
Our esteemed Felicia responded "If
someone is late for an appt w/ me
w/o compelling reason/call/email, it lowers their credibility w/ me."
So, we're not only talking about lost money, but lost credibility.
Being responsible with
your time and others' time determines how we're seen by others, and our
reputations can determine our incomes.
Thus, it's important to see how being late adversely
impacts our own
productivity and negatively affects reputation
delays prospects, clients/customers and strategic partners.
And of course, other people's tardiness certainly influences the ebb
of our business days, so we need to look at how we can keep
other people's chronic lateness from derailing us.
Over the next several weeks, I'm going to use Organization Tuesday
to hone in on a variety of time management issues. We'll
revisit some of the topics we've discussed in the past (goal-setting,
task-planning, dealing with interruptions), but we'll also focus
specifically on some of the nitty gritty ways we can stop being late
and stop other people's being late from reverberating through our own
But first, I'd like to take the temperature of the group, and
ask some questions, which I'd earnestly ask you all to answer here in
1) What amount
of time constitutes "late" to you if you are waiting
for someone else? Is anything within 5 minutes acceptable?
15 minutes? Half an hour? (Assume you do
not know the reason for the delay.)
2) Do you have the
same definition of "late" when you are the one arriving?
3) Do your
answers to #s 1 and 2 differ if you aren't physically
meeting someone, but are having a phone call, a teleclass
or digital meeting.
4) Does the
person's status make a difference? For example,
are you more willing to accept tardiness from your doctor
than your spouse? From a prospect vs. a colleague?
5) Under what
circumstances, if any, do you think it's acceptable to be "late"?
For example, would you never be late to a business meeting
with a client but consider it OK to be late to meet a friend for lunch?
Is it not acceptable to be late delivering a tangible
product, but OK
to be late for a client session.
I encourage you to use this space to share your belief systems,
annoyances and experiences. I promise to incorporate tips and systems to meet each personal preference.
Julie Bestry, Certified Professional Organizer®
Best Results Organizing
"Don't apologize. Organize!"
Visit http://www.juliebestry.com to sign up for Best Results For Busy
People: Organizing Your Modern World, a newsletter
to help you save time and money, reduce stress and increase
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