I posted this to my Facebook page: It isn’t ironic when I’m late to a meeting or put something off. It’s unexpected, not ironic (unless it was my efforts to prevent it that made it happen). There’s really nothing unexpected about me putting something off. That’s how I manage my workload. As for being late to meetings? I hate meetings. Being late is a compliment; it means I cared enough to show up at all. 🙂
The responses have blown me away. Let me explain the thinking behind this status update. Everywhere I go, if I’m 10 seconds late, or if I leave my pencil in my car, or if I don’t have a pad of people, the person I’m with happily smirks and proclaims, “Pretty ironic, you being the ‘Get-it-Done Guy’ and all.”
To begin with, that’s not actually irony. irony is when there’s a direct contradiction between the intent of an action and its effect. It’s when you try to make something happen and your very efforts prevent it from happening. If I am tying my shoes to make sure I don’t trip, and in the act of tying them, I trip over my hands, that’s ironic. A somewhat more common example is someone who so wants to preserve their relationship that they smother their partner so much the partner eventually leaves.
It is rarely my attempts to be on time that delay me. It is rarely my attempts to be organized that lead me to forget my pencil. Thus, while it may be unexpected for me to be without a pencil, it’s almost certainly not ironic.
My comment about the meeting was supposed to be humor. Lighten up! I was kidding!
Even if I wasn’t, though, keep in mind that I’m not necessarily maximizing on-time-ness. I always take it in the larger context of my life map (Chapter 1 of my book). When my goal is business efficiency, I’m pretty darned good at what Corporate America calls “productivity.” When my goal is having a balanced, happy life, I still optimize what I’m doing, but it won’t necessarily fit Corporate America’s definition of productivity; I’m using a different metric.
There’s also the emotional component, but I won’t go into detail. Instead, suffice to say: imagine yourself in my place, being teased by someone who’s consumed 165,000 words of my content for free, is asking for more free advice, and tells me they’ve been thinking of buying my $15 book (on which I’ll see $1 of royalties). And then they call me a hypocrite. Teasingly, perhaps, but that’s basically what they’re saying. Under those conditions, when my blood sugar is low, I might overreact.