Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Procrastinating 101: Because Cindy Crawford Thinks It's Rude!

This week, Procrastinating 101 launches in earnest our examination of Diana DeLonzor's Never Be Late Again:  7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged

DeLonzor's aim in this chapter is the motivation of any of us who still need convincing that constantly being a day late, short a dollar or not, is an idea whose time has gone.  A habit we would do well to move past.

She begins by sharing an amusing story from Manila about President Fidel Ramos's personal and political challenges that led to, and complicated, his declaration and observance of "National Consciousness Week of the Imperative for Punctuality and Respect for the Rights of Others," in April of 1996.  The occasion seems since to have morphed into the November designation as "National Consciousness Month on Punctuality and Civility," which would indicate continuing issues with lateness in the Philipines.  There Confucianism requires recognition that "time is money and punctuality matters." [p.11, quoting 1996 St. Louis Post Dispatch article]

But what about the rest of us, perhaps not guided by Confucius?   As the chapter title asks, "What's So Great About Being on Time?" 

DeLonzor offers 5 "Great Reasons" for becoming "perfectly punctual."

#1.  Tardiness Affects Your Self-esteem

Former punctually challenged folks, on the other hand, say that once they manage to change, they begin to build self-confidence, gain respect from other people, and take more pride in themselves.
#2.  It Impacts the Lives of Others

According to Cindy Crawford, "Tardiness is the biggest disrespect."   And, according to DeLonzor,

. . . early birds take your lateness personally.  They see tardiness as something you are doing to them.  Perhaps they've cut short a workout at the gym, skipped breakfast, or waved away a second cup of coffee.  If they've made sacrifices to meet you on time, they'll fell frustrated and slighted that you didn't think enough of them to do the same.  For the most part, early birds believe that if you really wanted to, you'd be able to show up on time.
#3.  It makes a Bad Impression

From her interviews with "the punctual," DeLonzor  recounts these statements:
  • Late people believe their time is more important than yours.
  • They like the attention they get when they walk into a room.
  • It's a passive-agressive thing.  Late people want to be in control.
  • They don't have the same respect for others.
#4.  Lateness is a Career Buster

The price tag for chronic lateness in american businesses?  $3 billion annually in lost productivity.   And guess what?  The boss notices.

One executive pointed out that an employee who is ten minutes late to work every day has, in essence, taken a full week of unscheduled paid vacation time by the end of the year.

Tardy employees affect the morale of others at work, are less likely to be promoted, and may eventually be terminated for their persistent untimeliness.
#5.  In This Culture, Punctuality Matters

DeLonzor reminds us that the U.S. is not Brazil, Spain, Southeast India, or the parts of Africa where time is a more fluid concept.  And, although

a clockless, relaxed way of life has its appeal. . . in western cultures, the clock is part of our lives. . . . [And since] it's unlikely we late folks will have much success convincing the majority of the industrialized world to loosen their standards, it may be a better use of our energy to join them and accept the fact that punctuality is important.
 I confess that, at this stage of my life, I find Great Reason #2 most persuasive.  Just like Cindy.  And Fidel.  And Confucius.  

But, although I am not generally rude or thoughtless, I am frequently late.  Next week, we will consult Ms. DeLonzor about why that might be.

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