25 Jul 2013


Last week, my friend AC invited me to write a review with him. At the end, he sheepishly added, “We expect the work in two weeks. The deadline has already passed.”

I sighed. Although I know many people who miss deadlines all the time, I have never done it before and find it hard to understand.

When I mentioned this to GW, she was most understanding. “It is quite natural. After you have missed the first deadline, everything else is postponed and will not be finished on time.”

“But then at least you should turn down new requests when you know you can’t meet the deadline?”

“When that becomes a habit, it does not matter anymore.”

What really surprises me, however, is that punctuality has little correlation with success. One of the best clinical researchers I know is notorious for being late. He would not even start working until he has received the first reminder. Yet people continue to beg him for help the next time. In a way, being good is more important than being punctual.

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