The Thief of Time

Morgane Soret @ 2022-02-22 14:07:41 +0000

Before beginning, I would like to apologise if I was once or twice late for one of our meetings, zoom or for being late with a toothpaste delivery in 2020!

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash
Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash

You may have thought being late was the preserve of the unreliable, those who prefer surfing to working (well, guess they have a point!) or even those who are so wildly creative that time has little or no place in their existence. You know the kind of person who just simply forgets breakfast, lunch and dinner because they were unbelievably inspired doing something else seemingly much more important than feeding themselves. And of course there is no need to add a quote here - ‘lateness’ inspires some of the most barbed comments in history- from Shakespeare to Louis XVIII - real conversation stoppers…

But for me, neither surfer nor artist but instead a pragmatic electrical engineer, and dedicated entrepreneur I prefer the words of Oscar Wilde, and take side with those who find time keeping a near impossibility.

“Punctuality is the thief of time.”

 Before you think I am making a rather grand excuse here, just take a second to see things differently - (unless of course you, like me, are sometimes late in which case I am sure you are now all ears!) It takes all types to make up our world and I am hoping that by sharing a few of my personal thoughts on something I have all my life been pulled up on - Being Late- then perhaps it might resonate with a few of you out there who may struggle to keep to tight deadlines and meeting schedules as you forge your own entrepreneurial enterprises, or as you pursue your dreams with vigour and passion. 

What is being late?

Why do people think it is disrespectful? Is it for the time they feel they have lost?

There is a time and a place for everything. In Switzerland from birth children are brought up with the sound of the church bells ringing out prompts, the bell to wake up, the bell to go to school, the bell to call the village elders to an evening meeting. And then some cultures have defined timekeeping by the sun and sounds of animals, awakening with the dawn chorus, rising with the sun and finishing a day's work before darkness. Regardless of culture, the sense of time is something that governs humans. What differs is the urgency with which we respond to time and deadlines. 

In England for example it is acceptable, almost expected to be 5 minutes or so late for an invitation, particularly to someone’s house. There are probably countless little English children who have questioned why they have gone to such great efforts to be in time for a gathering to then hang around out of sight for a few minutes just to be five minutes late to prevent the host from embarrassment if they were themselves running a few minutes behind schedule.

In some places being just a couple of minutes overdue is questionable, whilst in others arriving two or more hours after the time set is considered just fine.[a][b][c][d] - When I worked in India I sometimes waited 4 hours for a meeting to start.

Is not being punctual really wasting people’s time?

I would argue that whilst lateness can be annoying, it could sometimes save time, or open more opportunities. People who are behind schedule are often not disregarding others, they are engaging with others - and this is the problem - a busy person who is committed cannot just turn their back on a solution that is 98% of the way there because the meeting should have ended a minute ago!


And what if being late is being an optimist in a realist, dare I say pessimist’s world?


One thing which is certain is that Perfectionists and Optimists often have an issue with time keeping! Perfectionists often delay because they have not come up with the perfect solution, and it pains them so much to leave a mark of imperfection, they would rather ‘spoil the whole roast’ as the English say, and miss out on an opportunity than produce something less than absolute perfection. Naturally, successful perfectionists slowly learn to compromise just a tiny bit in order to realise completion, even if it kills them to do so.

Raging optimists are quite frankly piling so much on their plate they just can't see over the top of it, let alone manage time. Every opportunity has to be grasped firmly with both hands and then pursued with full intensity and ferverence, which naturally means somewhat less exciting aspects of time keeping - crossing ‘T’s and dotting ‘I’s -  are sometimes, but not always shelved, or optimistically given a smaller than realistic time frame for completion.

Then there is Force Majeure, something we all came to learn alot about in 2020!.How many athletes had hoped to break personal bests and records, and how many fledgling companies have invested uncompromisingly to pursue their ambitions to then see their timeframe and hopes go up in flames right in front of their eyes? So whilst you can hardly use the ‘Covid Excuse’ for being late for your online exercise classes it is a more than real reason for any business hoping to manufacture, gain licences, ship,  and launch a product.

So here’s a little more about our Noice story that I would like to share with you - perhaps it will inspire you if, similar to myself you are in the process of launching a business and have endured a less than easy journey:


Last year at NOICE we promised deliveries for March 2020 and yes, we had good reason to be optimistic - we were organised, well prepared and motivated. However business seldom runs smoothly, even when you have strong contingency plans in place. Here are just a few of the hurdles we have overcome in the production and certification of [e]Noice Dental Gel.

  • The glass bottle factory closed for Chinese New Year then didn’t reopen. (Yes - in 2020!)

  • The Indian producers of Essential Oils were not able to send their delivery to our factory because borders were blocked.

  • The Certification Auditor was unable to attend at the factory and the audit could be done online.

  • And finally, due to world wide lockdowns and Brexit there was no space available in the reduced number of container ships sailing at the end of of 2020.


What nobody could have foreseen was COVID, that it would affect us so much. Additionally, we never expected certifying a product would be such a tooth pulling process…. A painfully drawn out procedure, with each detail examined, re-examined, janked and pulled at. Finally, after undying patience, stern resolution, and a few frayed tempers, we got there!

 - and if you and I ever have the chance to meet on Zoom or hangout somewhere, then you will understand, and hopefully forgive for being just a few, tiny minutes late, OK?