Contrary to popular belief, I don’t have a philosophical compunction with working past my scheduled end-of-tour time. That is I don’t have a compunction about it as long as it meets several criteria, such as the situation being such that the intervening overnight hours would cause serious harm to a project or program, an action or inaction on my part is going to have a negative consequence for some far flung Joe sitting at the pointy end of the spear, or immediate action is required in defense of life or property. In a situation failing to meet one or more of those criteria, 999 time out of 1,000, it’s going to be utterly irrelevant to the universe whether I take action at 4PM or 7AM.
But you see, the thing is when you run a meeting right up to the end of the day, there’s no way to ever know why the little light is flashing on my phone or what catastrophic messages are waiting in my inbox. They’re simply a mystery to be revealed the next day. Over a decade of experience has taught me that the subject of both is going to be the need for a new PowerPoint chart, adding someone to the guest list, or making sure a temporary smoking area gets designated. None of those things rises to the level of my three criteria – Jeff’s Three Justifications for Staying Late; like the three laws of robotics, only currently applicable to your day to day life.
Once I got it through my thick skull that in almost every case imaginable, there’s always tomorrow, I started to sleep a lot better at night. And when that day arrives when I’ve run out of tomorrows, well, then it will be someone else’s hot mess to worry over. In either case, I’m out. There’s probably a lesson in there somewhere.