Why Being Early Is The New On Time In 2015
What if we told you we knew the number one habit of yours that is actually doing more damage than almost any other worry you have about your daily worries?
If there is one thing that can single-handedly convince everyone at your workplace that you don’t measure up as an employee, it’s your habit of arriving late. It’s a kind of “late” that sneaks up on you and jump-scares you into sweating adrenaline bullets. No, I’m not talking about that ten-minute-late feeling that’s classically chock full of dull dread and guilt — I’m talking about something I like to call the “on-time effect.” Namely, the effect that has produced the “2015 late;” a new unforeseen torture that stabs you in the back like a knife.
It took me several anxiety-ridden days to come up with this story that puts words to the WTF feeling that I, and frankly, a decent number of friends, colleagues and most likely you have experienced:
I arrive to my 9 o’clock, coffee cup freshly brewed, button-down neatly tucked, and on-the-dot watch-tappingly on-time — to find myself wading through an ocean of passive aggressive stares. I sit down at the overcrowded corner edge of the table and nervously claw the phone out of my pocket to find that, yes, the meeting notification shows it was indeed scheduled at nine. It is nine. Not even 9:01 yet. But for some reason, item one has already been addressed and my boss’ dwindling coffee cup has seen its last trail of steam waft up minutes ago — at 8:55, when he arrived at a conference room full of almost-everyone present, and took his semi-sweet swig of timely coffee before starting the meeting as he mulled over in his head; Who is late? After the meeting, I obsessively checked my phone over and over again to be sure, but the pain-inducing pulsating notification beats like a drum with my headache.
TL;DR: My 9 o’clock was at 9, but the reminder came at 8:50. My 9 o’clock is now an 8:50.
The 2015 era of late — a new hyper-punctual reality rooted in the “right now”
The millennial era has brought with it an enormous amount of change to how and when information is delivered to us — and it applies to everything, especially the workplace. Whereas even ten years ago everyone might have looked at any number of out-of-sync clocks to ensure they were on time to a meeting, in 2015 everyone’s phone simultaneously dings several minutes before the meeting. And the thing is, now my brain is wired to know the ten minute reminder is about to go off — five minutes from now — which is just enough time to finish prepping a project and schedule a Facebook launch precisely long enough before the morning rush to get good traffic. And if I have a spare second, gotta go comment on that Reddit thread before it’s off the front page. What? It’s my work/life balance.
Don’t miss a beat — even the beats you can’t see coming
Punctuality and literal punctuation — like this period (.) have a more or less dictated, rule-driven use. But, much like the online hubs, smartphones and other technologies that have more or less redefined the way we communicate, today’s business world has grown into a new beast, where timeliness isn’t scheduled or predefined, it’s actively predicted every second of the day. Rules, guidelines and especially punctuality still exist in 2015, but pre-designated times can so easily become late-to-the-party’s when it comes down to it.
So folks, quick, it’s about time you moved on. Here’s the takeaway for you quick scrollers (I applaud you!). The world is an overly connected, constantly moving place. Avoid the “2015 Late” by following the mindset of a “2015 Punctual;” maintain a degree of predictability, speed, and work that is always moving. Seek out the beats before they hit you, and then smile —you’ve beaten 2015 to the punch.