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|Organization Tuesday: Being Late: What's the Big Deal?||Views: 723|
|Feb 10, 2009 5:52 pm||Organization Tuesday: Being Late: What's the Big Deal?||#|
|At the risk of sounding like I'm turning Organizing Tuesday
into a 12-step program, the
to combating chronic lateness involves acknowledging how being late
NAPO colleague, Julie Morgenstern, writes in her new book When
Organizing Isn't Enough, SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life:|
...the majority of the
perpetually tardy are lost in their own web of turmoil and emotions,
their lives filled with harried moments, near misses and guilty
They are so immersed in their own chaos that they rarely realize how
their behavior appears to the people left waiting.
this sound at all familiar? If so, it's important to get a
on how bad your chronic lateness has become, and how it's impacting
others. The point isn't to get all "12-step" for the purpose of "making
amends" (though that might be appreciated by your loved ones) or to
beat yourself up over your past difficulties. (And I say
because I'm hoping you'll take the advice in these posts to heart and
put chronic lateness in your past).
Last week, I asked
you to weigh in on your feelings about lateness, both yours
this is an issue for you) and those of others, so all of us at every
point on the time continuum could contribute to the conversation.
Although we had few responses, we can see that there's a
of frustrations inherent in having to be around someone who is late.
For example, Richard noted that "If
someone is late coming to pick me up for a meeting or coming for an
appointment with me I expect them to be on time. There is nothing worse
then walking into a conference or seminar after it begins. It distracts
the other people who got there on time."
In my own responses to the question, I noted that when
late, it causes anxiety for me. I worry that there's been
miscommunication and that I, or the other person, went to the wrong place,
or at the wrong
that I've been forgotten, or that my
time is not valued.
Richard's responses about how he treats others also resonated along the
same path; he said "I
am always ready an hour
before going to a seminar or conference when someone is picking me up. I value their
every sense. I expect them to be on time unless they have a compelling
reason and notify me."
In other words, Richard makes an effort to plan his
avoid causing discomfort to others, because to do anything else would
imply disrespect on his part.
Let's examine a few more examples
in-depth. In college, P. was perpetually sleepy.
had no medical reason for being sleepy, had a fairly decent diet for a
college student, didn't drink, wasn't suffering from clinical
depression...for some reason, he and his family were just sleepy
people. Combine this with the fact that our friend P. was
extremely meticulous. He didn't suffer from OCD, but he did
precision, so the combination of sleeping (and napping) well past his
alarm and then doing everything during waking hours with
(cooking, grooming, etc.) meant that he had less time to accomplish
simple tasks and then spent more time doing them than the average
person might. P's friends were loyal, but
They got hungry waiting for him to show up for dinner.
wasted money on tickets for movies they didn't get to see because by
the time he showed up, the last showing had ended.
friends teased. They cajoled. Some stopped inviting
things altogether. Others just let him know that they'd no
wait if he weren't where he was supposed to be. Some
left him, assuming he was lavishing attention on other girls
in that "missing time". Another bluntly told him that if he
couldn't respect her time enough to show up at the appointed hour, then
she couldn't trust him to respect her regarding other issues.
college years rolled by, and then graduate school, and eventually the
"real world" forced P to get a job. Unfortunately for P.,
although his behaviors followed him into the working world, the
cheerful, benign reaction to his behaviors did not. His boss
him that his work was excellent and precise, but his lack of
awareness of how his chronic lateness was adversely impacting the team
was unacceptable. P's boss told him that his fellow workers
wasted time waiting for him to show up to meetings.
complained at having to cool their heels. Morale, client
satisfaction and team productivity were down. P's boss warned
that if he didn't change his behaviors, he would be fired!
then, after years of not taking complaints seriously, did P.
understand the gravity of the situation. Only when other
complaints led directly to an adverse outcome for him, did he
understand how serious the issue had become. His friends'
annoyance, even his girlfriend's impatience, did not matter.
Losing his job, however, was serious.
Not every instance of chronic lately impacts the pocketbook.
In Morgenstern's book, she says that "the perpetually tardy stay in
happy denial about the effect of their lateness on others."
That was certainly true with P until his boss called
something P actually valued--his paycheck!
inviting others with whom one lives or works closely to answer
answer to this is likely to be emotional
in nature. One of my
clients asked her family this question. Her
teenager tentatively offered "Well, now, I expect you to be late.
I used to be bothered, but now I don't even rush to be on
and just hang out with my friends because I know you won't be there."
My client had actually complained to her teen that on the few
times she'd been almost on time, that she had to wait five
minutes for her daughter to show up! Only then did she
that her daughter had often waiting thirty minutes or more, and had
finally recalibrated her own sense of Mom-time so she wouldn't be left
- What happens for you when I am late?
[How similar is this to the experiences we have
in everyday life? The people who are perpetually late
our doctors, our dentists, our hair stylists or whomever to
off schedule. Others, unwilling to sacrifice a moment of
precious time, start arriving later and later. The less each person
respects everyone else's time, the more the problem echoes through
society, like a ripple on the water.]
By the way, the response
my client got from her second grader was even more telling.
many assertions that his mother wouldn't be angry, whatever his answer,
he quietly said that sometimes, when she didn't show up on time, he
worried that she has forgotten about him. Wow! That's a
trigger to reverse a situation, if ever there was one!
response to this question may focus on a variety of issues:
emotional, financial, political...For example, Morgenstern
that her client Lynn's children's teacher said Lynn's children's late
arrival to class was costing them "40 hours of learning time each
year". The teacher explained how hard it was to get a class
children to maintain focus, and how each late arrival damaged that
focus--10 minutes a day multiplied by a full school year, and Lynn was
causing the entire class to lose more learning time than a typical
- How does my lateness affect you?
A client of mine, "Joe", learned from a
work friend that a rival at the office had begun to use the time before
meetings to plant little seeds of doubt about Joe's competence.
rival would arrive early, greet each person and acknowledge their
participation and then say things like "Well, if Joe shows up..." or
"If Joe can find the time to..." Although the rival never
anything overtly negative, he used the time during which Joe
to point out what the others had experienced, even if they had not
verbalized their fears that "Joe" might not always be dependable.
Joe's friend pointed out that although he did, actually,
get his work done well, and usually by deadline, his inability to make
less formal deadlines or show up for meetings on time allowed his rival
to continue to sow seeds of doubt. What might other business
owners and professionals be saying about your chronic lateness?
Let's reflect back on the
quote in the beginning, about the "perpetually tardy...lost in their
own web of turmoil". In a day filled with late starts,
interruptions, lost items and lost time, it's easy to get caught up in
your own drama and miss out on how lateness impacts those around you.
So, the exercise for this week involves some soul searching.
Be brave, and ask the people closest to you:
1) How often do
you think I'm late to meet you?
Measure this against your own sense of how often you are
"late". (Chances are good that you have a skewed perception
others consider acceptable. You might think arriving 15
after the appointed time is "on time"; your loved one or friend might
consider anything more than five minutes to be late.)
2) What happens
for you when I am late? What are you thinking
while you're waiting for me? How do you feel about it?
3) What impact
does my lateness have on you?
Do you have to do things differently? Do you have
your schedule or plans? Does it cost you anything in terms of
money, productivity, stress?
Acknowledging the problem is the
first step. Next week, we'll walk through all of the common
reasons why we tend to be late, and identify practical, proactive steps
for working to eliminate the problem. In the meantime, please
use this forum to add your comments and thoughts about other people's
lateness, your own experiences trying to make changes, and anything
else you have to say about this particular time management peril.
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,
to help you save time and money, reduce stress and increase
Private Reply to Julie Bestry
|Feb 11, 2009 2:39 pm||re: Organization Tuesday: Being Late: What's the Big Deal?||#|
The Eagle: Motivating Champions Around The World
I believe there is No excuse for being late. Now before anyone says anything. I do know emergencies Come up. If you havean extreme Emergency then you should be courteou to let the person you are meeting know that you either will be late or want to reschedule.
I always acknowledge that I am late which may happen once in five years.
The Person you are meeting should acknowledge their being late also.
Being in Business requires Responsibility. I really don't have a problem as I really only have one chronic Person that is always late when we are to do something together.
Have a Great Organizing Week. Today I am cleaning out and throing away old Paperwork that is over 10 year old.
Richard "The Eagle" Motivator
Live and Act Like a Champion Today!!
Private Reply to The Eagle: Motivating Champions Around The World