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BLOGBetter late than never

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Motivational, Time managementTagged as:

How often have you said “Better late than never”? Like many, probably a few times. Close cousins of this expression include “I tried”, “I’m sorry”, and “I’m not feeling my best today”. While they all may be true, they may also sound like excuses.

When we rely on these expressions, we unwittingly are setting the bar too low for ourselves. Essentially, we are giving ourselves permission to do a mediocre job. The key to improvement (and achievement) is slow and steady positive progress – which means consistently moving beyond our goals, not explaining away the reasons for non-performance.

To solve this problem, consider:

  • Set clear goals in the first place, and hold yourself accountable for achieving those goals.
  • If you’re too ill to work, don’t spend the time in the office not working. Work with your manager to find other ways to make sure the schedule doesn’t slip.  And given everyone’s sensitivity to COVID, this makes even more sense.
  • When you speak to others, share results, not reasons.
  • Do not dwell on a less than stellar performance. Instead, share your findings, and how any issues will be resolved.

While we typically don’t think anything of it, the words we use say much about our motivation and capabilities.


Everyone uses a handful of comfortable expressions, by habit. This week, before you do so, think about what they really mean. When it comes to showing up for a meeting (or a client pitch, or an interview), don’t settle for “better late than never“. Instead, use “better never late“.

Time management insight:  Too often, people don’t realize the dominos that are put in motion when someone shows up late to a meeting: Time is wasted.  People who show up on time are penalized.  Schedules are thrown off as “late” meetings often go overtime – or the meeting topic is not thoroughly addressed.  And everyone becomes habituated to the practice, so they too start showing up late to their meetings.  It’s a disrespectful practice that reflects badly on everyone.

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