Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Common Malady

A snapshot of my Google calendar, one of the many tools I use to be on time.  I may need more.  Photo by J. Berta

Greetings All:

"Can't. Stand. Late."  Dawn Strauss-Berta, Facebook, August 9, 2015, citing to Brent Beshore's article on, "5 Minutes Early Is On Time; On Time Is Late; Late Is Unacceptable."

My wife, Dawn, despises being late.  She is pretty tolerant of most of my imperfections (and that is a long list), yet this is one that she really, truly, does not like about me.

And full-disclosure, being on time is a challenge for me.  I do think I have gotten better at it, however I'm far from perfect on this front.

What inspired this blog post was a...spirited discussion Dawn and I had last night about the virtues of being on time.  I launched the first salvo by saying, "I had a meeting last week and someone was a few minutes late.  It was no big deal to me."

Dawn then proceeded to remind me of her position and that being late for any reason is unacceptable.  Did I mention my lovely bride is from New Jersey?  Well, she is.  And she let me know in no uncertain terms (in a tone and tenor that would make Chris Christie proud) how wrong I was.

We then shifted our discussion to the article that is mentioned in Dawn's Facebook post and I have a link to it in the sources section.  If you have...issues with being on time.

Here's a quote from the article that sums up (at least for me) Beshore's position on this subject:

"All joking aside, being late is unacceptable. While that sounds harsh, it’s the truth and something that should be said more often. I don’t care if you’re attending a dinner party, a conference call, or a coffee meeting – your punctuality says a lot about you."

Before I delve in more deeply into this subject, An apology to this author is in order.  I'm actually on a "streak" of apologies (2 for 2 blog posts, please see yesterday's post)  Regarding the author, I initially and incorrectly dismissed him as some self-righteous freelance journalist lecturing me.  I was wrong.  He's a whole lot more than that.  Here's his bio:

"I’m an entrepreneur, the Founder/CEO of (#28 on 2011 Inc. 500), an angel investor, a winemaker (Beshore Family Vineyards), a poverty relief advocate, and the husband to a Ph.D."

Pretty impressive.  So when someone this successful offers his point of view about being on time, one should at least pay him the courtesy of listening.  I suppose if I want to zip up my jacket and go stand in the cold light of truth, I don't like his message for one simple reason:  

He's right.

There, I said it. he's right.  And so is Dawn.  And so is my Dad who is with rare, rare exceptions at least 10 minutes early to everything.

I suppose I tolerate people being late because on some subconscious level, it validates my position.  Put another way, I'm saying to myself, "It's OK if I'm late on occasion as I tolerate it in others.  I'm not a hypocrite."  

Fair enough.  I'm not a hypocrite.  But I'm still late, even a little.

It appears I am not the only one.  It seems as if being late is acceptable conduct.  I have some citations in the sources below that help support the point that being late is a common malady.  People are late for work, meetings, even flights.  (Ever seen someone running thru the airport like O.J. Simpson in a 70s Hertz commercial?  I have.)  

While I do not embrace all of reasons Beshore decries lateness, he does have one point:  With rare exceptions being late, like many other maladies is curable.  We just may not like the medicine.

I recall years ago reading David Allen's book, Getting Things Done.  In this book, Allen presents a way to organize your life.  Central to his premise is that we all make agreements with ourselves and others to do things.  As I recall, part of Allen's message is that we all need to get better and honoring the commitments we make.  I have a link to him in the credits below and encourage you to check him out if you'd like to learn more about him.  

I mention him as I'm going back to his book.  I'm also going to make the commitment right here, right now (thank you Van Halen) to be 100% on time for everything I commit to doing.  

I'll report back in a week with how I did.  In the meantime, please feel free to share with me any tips or tricks you have to be on time.  I know there are a ton of tools out there, from Google Calendar to other apps, alarms, ect.  I suppose the biggest one is to simply leave earlier.  The second may be to intentionally schedule less "stuff" and follow Allen's approach about the calendar being a sacred place for events and ONLY events.  These two things may be the cure to the malady that ails me.  

We shall see.
Be well my friends...and check your watch/smartphone!




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