A world of difference – “Just in time” vs “Just ahead of time”!

Rushing to be just in time! Source: http://www.flickr.com/

“Just in time” is a very popular practice by individuals and companies for punctuality, optimum use of time, productivity enhancement, quality improvement and cost/inventory control!

Dell USA, iconic manufacturer of personal computers, revolutionized its manufacturing method by introducing “just in time” inventory from early years of its inception in late 1980s and that resulted in solidly cutting down its operating cost, capturing sizeable global market share and catapulting it to multibillion dollar giant. But, its too much focus on “just in time” did not keep it “ahead of time” with technological trends and consumer tendencies. So, its decline started since year 2005 and lost its leadership position to Lenovo and HP.

My experience from extensive travel in Germany shows that most locals are very passionate about punctuality. They don’t want to be too early or too late in anything that they do; it has to be precise within few seconds – a fantastic sense of just in time, even over weekends! This compels them to be in rush most of the time. It makes them hypersensitive and seems to be the cause of high blood pressure and cardiac problems for many!!

I know of several corporate bosses, who are stickler to time. Some of them plan their meetings back to back – one meeting ends at 12.15 p.m. and another one starts at 12.20 p.m. as an example. If the first meeting does not conclude in time, the boss would in any case adjourn it, even if it means that some parts of discussion becomes redundant. Such time control no doubt directly saves time of the boss but makes it far ineffective for him/her and team on the whole!

People, who are stickler to time, tend to be temperamental and even toxic. They often end up spending lot of time in unnecessary arguments. So, obsession about punctuality or penchant for “Just in time” seems to spell both good and bad! It is needless to mention that one, who is late, loses!

Why “Just in time” is inefficient on the whole!

Ideally and on paper, just in time is supposed to give best efficiency; but practically speaking, it is laden with lot of intangible issues.

  1. “Just in time” means running after exact time scheduled. But, time is actually very illusive. More you run after time, more it would run away from you!
    It is a practical fact that being conscious or cautious of time makes you to lose it.
  2. Watching the time by itself is a distraction and most mistakes are committed, when you are distracted!
  3. It creates stress in you.
    Stress is a spiral; you would be sucked more and more into it.
  4. If you are running most of time to be precise by clock, your nature and body would tend to become sensitive or hypersensitive. You would develop tendency to lose patience and peace for flimsy reasons.
  5. It demands meticulous planning and hence, entails disproportionate amount of your time and energy to accomplish that.
  6. “Just in time” looks lucrative, because you visibly see saving in time, reduction in direct cost of inventory and/or operations; but, such saving can get far more outweighed by invisible and intangible expenses or inefficiencies, which you fail to notice in normal course.
  7. When you are cutting it too fine, lot of things go wrong that you normally don’t expect and desire. Murphy’s Law starts playing a dominant role in such situation!

“Just ahead of time” is far more holistic!

You can make a world of difference by not planning for a precise deadline or cutting it fine; instead plan and work for a span of few minutes ahead of that timeline! All of us in rush of our routine fail to realize great advantages, which “Being ahead of time” brings. Our usual surmise “Oh, I am short on time; cannot waste a minute” is in fact a bunk. We don’t realize, how much in reality we are wasting by rushing and then tripping.

By being ahead of time, I don’t mean that you should keep lot of margin in your hands. Be ahead of time by a span, which creates a comfort level for you and takes into contingencies that can hold you back – usually it would be 5 to 10 minutes.

There is a complete paradigm shift and change in frame of mind in this approach:

  1. “Being in rush” would change to “being relaxed”!
  2. Rather than carrying burden of time line, you would enjoy beauty of time management!
  3. You would be far more composed and confident before start of any activity.
    This is bound to bring the best results for you.
  4. You are most creative and innovative, when you have time in hand and freedom from worry of a deadline.
  5. You are able to maintain your focus.
  6. You would find that the time, which you get in your hand by being ahead of schedule, is most exciting and energizing!
    You would automatically utilize it to your advantage; so it is never a waste!!
    Please don’t ask – how and why? Just experience it!
  7. On the whole, you would truly enjoy, whatever you are engaged with!

So in net sum, by being just ahead of time, you would not only go ahead of your team or rivals but also be an early and easy winner!

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2 Comments
  • Rudra
    May 4,2015 at 6:43 pm

    Well in our country, the problem with ‘being ahead of time’ is there would be no one available to appreciate it :-O (but who cares until it gives satisfaction to you)!!

    Having said that, I always “try” to follow the practice of being early by 5 mins – at-least I try!! 😉

    It’s a universal truth – if you’re able to keep spare time in your hand… that’s the best practice ever and key to success… IF, we all can manage it… 🙂

    • May 5,2015 at 10:03 pm

      I highly commend your views!

      But, why should you care whether others appreciate or not, when it comes to doing right things? Right things must be done in any case; others would notice and follow you. You need to be patient.

      As the post has stated, people actually waste more time by being in time or being late. So, a good time management technique is to be ahead of time!!

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