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I'm Going To Be On Time If It Kills Me - Articles Surfing

A quiet amusement of mine is to watch the expression of people who arrivelate for mytime management seminars. (Now you*re going to be worried every time you goto oneof my programs!) The look resembles a child who just got caught with a handin thecookie jar. Tail between the legs, these people shuffle in sheepishlymumblingsomething about traffic, while their friends jibe, *How can you be late fora timemanagement class*?

The number one complaint I receive from managers who bring me in to coachtheirfolks on performance is something around "the inability to meet deadlines,is alwayslate, is constantly running behind, or he/she forgot." There are actuallythree types ofpeople I see:

1. *Late* people are typically perpetually late, for everything.

2. *On time* people typically arrive a minute or two ahead or behind thegoal.

3. *Early* people are rare and are generally early to everything.

Victor Borge's famous comment in concert sums it up nicely. He was wellinto hisperformance when a woman came in late, fighting her way through the rows toher seatnear the front. Borge stopped playing and as she proceeded*trampling overpeople,embarrassing, rustling, and disturbing her way to her seat*he said (much toherchagrin, as all eyes focused on her ill-timed arrival) "Excuse me, excuseme, excuse me."After she sat down, he walked over near where she was sitting and said,"Where areyou from, Ma'am?" "Fifty-Seventh Street," she said. "Well, Lady, I'm fromDenmark andI was here on time."

People are much more irritated by lateness than we ever know, it candampeneverything from promotions and raises to friendships. Late people crowd us,physicallyand mentally, all the time. We all hate the fact that their lateness undoesour scheduleand disrupts our day. Showing up late for work or sending something in late,no matterhow well done, still means a black mark against you.

For example, let's say that you hired me to speak at a conference youwere planning. Iwas slotted to be the opening speaker, and I was scheduled to speak at 9:00AM. At9:05, I came rushing in, exclaiming that I was trapped in a major trafficjam. Would youcare? NO! You could care less about my reason. You only care about yourconferenceat the time. People expect you to honor their time and your commitments,just as youexpect that from them. After I gave an incredible speech and everyone lovedme,would you ever hire me again? NO! In fact, you would remember howembarrassedyou felt when I was late. You would probably even tell other people about mytardiness and recommend they don't hire me either!

So I*m an Early, not because I'm soooooo productive, but because I*vediscovered thebenefits in doing so. For one of your New Year's productivity goals in 2006,I*d like toencourage 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 bedependedupon. Being a Late, however, makes people wonder if you'll come through thistime.You'll always be bringing up the rear, never totally trusted, no matter howskilled youare. Even if you're on "on time," that's fairly typical...boring? It justdoesn'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 withsetting yourwatch five minutes fast and "fooling" yourself, because psychologically, youknow it'sfive minutes fast, and make up for it anyway. Keep your clocks on thecorrect time. Italso doesn't really have anything to do with time management, but withplanning. Infact, this simple, inexpensive principle will actually *prevent* 50% or moreof your"time management" problems.

So instead of thinking, *I begin speaking at 9:00 AM,* my thoughts rathergo somethinglike, *I should plan on arriving at 8:00 AM to set up and get prepared.*Then I have tofigure out how long it should take me to get there, a buffer in case there*straffic, whattime I would need to be dropping the kids off at daycare, what time to getthem up, sowhat time I*d have to wake up in order for all that to happen. And I havelots of thingsto do once I have arrived and set up...bills to pay, magazines to peruse,that report toread, or thank you letters to write.

Here's a quiz. If you had a speech to give in March, and it's Januarynow, when wouldyou begin preparing? The week before? If you started now and researched overtime,you would be much less stressed and have prepared much more when the timecame.If you have a trip coming up, do you pack the night before? Why not set thesuitcaseout and drop things in it over the week ahead? If you have to run to thestore forsomething you're out of, no problem. You won't be in a last-minute rush andpickingout clothes at midnight, starting your trip tired and grumpy. When did youthink aboutyour holiday cards????

Before you sit down to relax each night, ask yourself, "What's coming upnext week?""What can I get out of the way now?" I can never go to bed at night withoutgoing overthe next day, knowing exactly where I need to be, what I need to have, andeverythinglaid out in front of me. I have clothes selected, school papers signed,lunches made,briefcase packed, and schedule outlined. Each month, I plan for the nextmonth andlook ahead at what needs to be done.

Become an Early, and you won't have "deadlines." They will be unnecessarysince youcomplete things early. Deadlines were made for people who would not getthings donewithout it. Deadlines eliminate all the job of accomplishment as you workfor thedeadline, not the completion of a project or task. Deadlines are oftenirrelevant anyway,because the task is often put off until the deadline, but it could have beendone muchsooner.

It will take a bit to catch up, but once you're on top of things, stayone step ahead. Youwill experience a new peace of mind. If you are early (no extra cost, nostrain, noexplanations), you don't have to worry about deadlines. So make workingahead andearly your style, convert "later" to "now," and you'll be much moreefficient in 2006.

Make it a productive day! *

Submitted by:

Laura Stack, MBA, CSP

(C) Copyright 2004 Laura Stack, MBA, CSP. All rightsreserved. Portions of this newsletter may be reprinted in your organizationor association newsletter, provided the following credit line is present:

"Laura M. Stack, MBA, CSP, is "The Productivity Pro"* and the author ofLeave the Office Earlier. She presents keynotes and seminars on timemanagement, information overload, and personal productivity. Contact her at303-471-7401 or Laura@TheProductivityPro.com."




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