If somebody asks you to meet them at "about 1 O'clock" - what does this actually mean?
Does it mean that the activity will start at 1 O'clock - so arrive a few minutes early?
Or does it mean to arrive at 1 O'clock'.
Or does it mean, finish what you're doing with the tweet or the email you are writing and be ready to start about ten past to quarter past.
Either way - it puts you in limbo as to when to get there.
Here is an example.
A short while ago, I was early for an opticians appointment. ( test the following story out for yourself at almost any high street optician).
You make an appoint for say 10:25am safe in the knowledge that you will be seen "about" that time. It will most likely be after that.
I checked in 20 minutes early and witnessed a steady stream of people coming in saying something like "I have an appointment at x y z time and I am a bit late - sorry"
"Oh No need to worry take a seat" was usually the receptionists reply.
In some cultures, a few minutes late would sour the meeting and also the rest of the relationship. If you are late for an opticians appointment in Japan, you better find yourself a new optician. You have defiled that relationship.
It's OK when the product - in this case an eye test has extended periods of "hanging about" - waiting for the pre eye test machine to become free, wandering round picking frames etc. If the product were to be tighter defined - that is you had an appointment with the Queen - there is little chance you would be late.
Maybe society is losing respect and awareness of value generally, however that's another post.
It makes no difference if you are a parent, a teacher, a business owner or whatever, people are counting on YOU to get stuff done.
Half baked excuses and washed up reasons why something failed, makes for unpleasant reading.
At a recent meeting about a school trip, a late comer asked what the address was of the hostel where the students were staying. The answer was on page one of the book, which had been handed out and discussed before they arrived.
If you had incredibly painful toothache, would you be late for the dentist then, with an "Ooops sorry"
No - You would show up on time.
Which brings me on to time.
The above example of 'about 1 O'clock' encourages people to show up at "about 1 o'clock"
If you had a more meaningful start time, it would be a 100% guarantee that people show up on time.
So, this is my pornographic time management principle number one.
Meetings start at 4 minutes past the hour. 9:04am, 10:04am etc. (an unusual start time sticks in peoples memories).
If you are unable to show up at that time or you are late, you get bounced seven days hence. This means that no new appointment can be made within a clear period of seven calendar days.
This is inline with any standard terms and conditions, Need further proof? Look at the back of a theatre or concert ticket. It will say that latecomers will only be admitted when there is a suitable break in the performance. Usually a half time interval (in my terms a slot in my diary).
Being late will squeeze the time available for discussion and more than likely, the quality of discussion. Therefore the outcome will be sub standard. This is unacceptable.
If you are busy, you will have very few slots available, a latecomer could mean compromising the quality of one of those appointments. To be fair to my clients, I keep a clear window either side of an appointment for headspace clearing.
Squeezing someone in due to their carelessness is bad for other clients and their appointments.
The above ideas may sound strange, laughable, even comical but lateness is a disease which gradually creeps up on people.
What goes into your head?
I could hop online now, today, go onto facebook or increasingly the BBC website where they have opened up the comments section, and spend an hour or more seeing people trading insults about Trump, Brexit, the Queen or anything else that is in the news.For many people, this is now entertainment and sport. Baiting and counter baiting anonymous strangers online. What is going on in their heads? and is it taking away their ability to get stuff done on time.
Ask yourself this - do you control (or at least have a choice) over what goes into your mouth?
Answer - of course you do. So you need to exercise the same self control over what goes into your head?
I have covered issues surrounding meetings and appointments, in the above, but this just shows how easy it is to become distracted by stuff that not only makes you late but fills you head with things which really do not have to be there.
Intermediate Pornographic time management says; that you remove the thing that disturbs you. For example, you remove the app from your phone.
That's right. You remove the app from the phone.
The concept of unlimited minutes or unlimited data is a bizarre one -
It's impossible to talk on the phone ALL THE TIME. It is impossible to be on the internet ALL THE TIME. (You have to sleep)...
Therefore unlimited is irrelevant. Quick fun tip - Next time you are looking at hosting - when someone offers you unlimited hosting space and bandwidth, tell them that you have a youtube style site to move and see what they say. Unlimited really is just an empty word to make you think you have a lot.
But its not just the internet, your computer or your phone app.
Work at home people (and creative people in general) will find it difficult to be as personally effective or responsible for their work/ time balance.
The keyword in homeworking is 'work'. Yes even at home you are still required to provide output, it's just the physical location and the aggravation of getting to a workplace that is different.
Quite often, homeworkers will have friends and family "pop round" and they expect you to down tools at a time of their choosing and have tea or coffee.
Visitors need to be trained to ask "when can I contact you?" just the same as they would if you were in a physical work location.
Creative people and other people working on tasks that require focus and attention, may find it helpful to have some kind of external symbol or attachment to the task.
A specific hat, for example, can say to everyone concerned that the wearer is concentrating on a specific task and needs to be left alone. Focused attention -is a valuable thing in the world these days. .
Of course, few people and workplaces will have the maturity to carry this out. These are probably the same ones who worship the likes of Apple and Google for innovation.
If you work in an open plan office (or whatever workplace you do work in) you will probably need some kind of symbol in your environment that says you suffer fools very poorly.
Here is an example - I once worked at at office where one guy had a notice behind his desk. It simply read
"Lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on mine."
By answering the phone, you give your consent to be disturbed, and being grumpy to the person on the other end is not good form.
Some semi- cold calls, by that I mean that you have bought the house insurance and the vendor is ringing up to sell you car insurance also, may distract more but say goodbye!
Aah you say but that seems a bit rude
If you think it really is being rude and you would rather engage in some sort of conversation - let me say that, it is a standard tactic of telephone sales people to engage in a conversation BEFORE they even start talking about the product. They are using your niceness against you.
Do you reply to every unsolicited email saying that you really do like receiving their offers and it is nice of them to keep sending them, it's just that you are a bit busy at the moment?
No... Neither do I. I just either ignore, delete or most likely report spam.
You do know hopefully that call centres use THEIR downtime to make outgoing calls. They pick the optimum time, which is most convenient FOR THEM to disturb you.
Pornographic time managements says; When you are at work you need to be working.
Phone calls, other people, latecomers, excuses are all distractions and take away your time.
When you go to a hotel to check in, you will be expected to: show some ID. have your credit/debit card swiped fill out details of your stay, your vehicle registration number etc.
If you are missing any of these things or, just refuse to provide one of them - they young lady or gent behind the desk will be unlikely to be able to check you in...
No nastiness or unpleasantness. They will tell you, politely but firmly, that it is against company policy and they wont let you in.
In summary, we need to have the confidence to say what we want and what we personally need to do.
Our own personal effectiveness is our responsibility;
Meetings start at 4 minutes past the hour. (on time, with no recaps)
Latecomers get bounced to the next week. ("Lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on mine.")
If a person is unable to fix a suitable slot in your calendar - they go away until they can...
All unnecessary apps are removed from your smart phone. (small things - big distractions)
When working on creative tasks, the internet is unplugged.
You have some visual indicator that you are working and would strongly prefer to be left alone.
It is against company policy to buy over the phone.
Take personal responsibility, for your own effectiveness.