EDitorial ± 5-Feb-2001
I'm Late, I'm Late
Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.If my personal affairs were likened to a website, it'd be lastminute.com. My lips rarely utter the phrase "in good time". I'm not big on tasks with attached time-limits. Get the message?
An example: self-assessment tax returns had to be with the Inland Revenue no later than the end of January, else they might impose a fine. My long-suffering accountant finally had everything he needed from me to complete the forms on Monday 29th January. He then had to mail me the paperwork to sign, and was good enough to include a stamped pre-addressed envelope for me to pop the stuff in. It would have arrived with the IR on the last day of January. Was I concerned? Well, fractionally, if truth be told.
When I see a deadline, I instinctively work back from it, automatically building in any necessary delay for postage, etc, and that day or date which pops out of the calculation then becomes the day for action. At school or college most people worked like this, to my knowledge. Some of us never broke the habit.
Perhaps the worst thing about this behaviour is that I seem to get away with it. Whether going to a meeting, or "doing" lunch, or playing table tennis, or even filling in forms required by the government, I always get there...eventually. The meeting takes place, lunch is partaken, ping-pong prevails, and the accountant gets paid. Everyone's happy.
If You Take Away With You Nothing Else
Hours, minutes, seconds:
- bear in mind other people, so always have an excuse ready
- don't follow this advice if catching a plane
- now where did I put my latest VAT return?