I start packing an hour before I leave home for my flights. And I do this every single time I need to travel, Domestic or International; I can safely say it’s become second nature to me. I can’t seem to remember how I got accustomed to this “great” habit of excelling in last minute start-ups but if my memory serves me right, it begun with my 10th public exams. Whatever I studied on the last day or at the very last minute would miraculously appear on the exam sheets and I was thrilled that it worked for me!
So I continued to use this ‘best practice’ till today. When I presented in some of the internal meetings, I could see the horror on the face of my assistants…while I know my slides were cool, 80% of the content of the presentations were changed at 5am on the morning of the presentations. Who’s to blame when my last minute brain always comes up with some new thoughts at the rush of the moment?
I’m never a great fan of reaching the airport ahead of flights. On the contrary, I’m ok with ‘heart in mouth’ travel to reach the airport; have been amongst the last few to board my flights more often than I can remember including the recent travel back to India last Saturday. It would be quite tragic to miss flights when you are away from home for weeks but I just don’t seem to learn. I have always rationalized internally that hey, I have never missed a bus, train or flight in my life, so it works for me. My friends, however, have cautioned me that the day of reckoning might come sooner than I imagine where I will miss a journey and that journey might be the most important to date! Well, there’s always a first for everything, right? Arrogance! 🙂
Oh come on! Don’t cringe! I know there are some of you who are just like me in this instance. Tell me, how many of you actually submit reports, proposals, and plans a few days before the deadline? Or are most of you more inclined towards getting it rushed out at the eleventh hour? To be frank, I’ve rarely met people who are the “first day first show” types. I guess that happens only in movies. Think about events; tax filings; etc – do we file it more often in first week or last week? How many times do we pick up a gift for a wedding or birthday on the way to the event? When do we start dialling-in for con-calls – right on the dot, I’m sure you’ll say! And how many times do we read up on a client just before we leave for the meeting – sometimes on our blackberry while waiting for the client to meet us! The list goes on…
However, there was a time when I experienced an-extreme-case-of last-minute that will and can’t be forgotten. On the 19th of December 2008, my wife who was then in her 9th month of pregnancy complained that the baby had stopped kicking; we rushed to the hospital; The ultrasound examination revealed that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. The doctor ordered immediate hospitalization but my wife adamantly refused as she felt the house was not ready for the new arrival. You might choose not to believe me when I say that we left the hospital; shopped for a cradle and other baby stuff; went back to our home; prepared the room for the baby; before leaving for the hospital in Kuala Lumpur! And all the while, the hospital staff was calling us to get my wife admitted and my mother in law witnessing all these with her heart in the mouth! My wife, by the way, safely delivered our 2nd daughter 10 hours later! (Don’t think I am insensitive here, the doctors had told us the baby was doing well and safe for next 24 hours)
I know many of us like to rush most of the times with a dose of last minute confidence!
So which are the things you do in the first instance rather than at the eleventh hour?