Being Late

A deadline or delivery date is a promise that you make. You promise your employer that you will be at work at a specific time. You promise your coworkers that they will have your time and attention at 2pm when the meeting starts. You promise your customer that they will begin using your product at a certain time.

Being late is a broken promise. Your employer, customers, coworkers, spouse, friends, don’t have whatever they expected to have when they expected to have it. The change that was going to happen at a particular time didn’t happen. They are cheated out of a new future, and you have broken your promise.

Don’t be late. Here’s how:

  1. Don’t over-promise, unless you are sure that you can deliver what you say you will when you will.
  2. Commit to the deadline. No matter what it takes to be on time: do that. Learn from your mistakes, and don’t make other’s pay for your bad planning or overpromises.
  3. Tell people when timing needs to change. Sometimes you might not be able to make it at the originally agreed upon time. If you are going to be late for a meeting, inform people before the meeting starts that the plan has changed and you will be there 15 minutes after the session begins. You don’t want to do this all the time, but sometimes you do need to adjust the time that you will be able to ship. Just be sure that you have told people.

Being late is a broken promise. Being on time is a gift that you give to the people you have made a promise to.