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Posted on Apr 23, 2014

Values Quotes – Richard Whately on Timeliness

Today’s quote is from Richard Whately, an English economist and theologian, who also served as the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin.

A profound quote from Whately is:

“It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.”

The important focus here is not on the need for repair or rebuilding. It’s on the value of timeliness.

As a differentiating value, Timeliness means to be punctual, prompt, precise, or exact.

Here’s a couple of ways to think about this value:

  • Showing up when you say you will is about being punctual.
  • Doing what needs to be done without delay is about being prompt.
  • Avoiding sloppy work and properly looking after all the details is about being precise.
  • And clearing the fog of any misunderstanding to ensure everyone comprehends what needs to be done and by when is about being exact.

But there is one thing that will wipe out all of the benefits of timeliness, and Whately gives us a clue. It’s neglect. The neglect of time.

If you waste an hour of your time on trivial or meaningless activities, you can’t get it back. That time is gone.

But those that respect their time look after their responsibilities in a timely manner. And surprisingly they find they have more time on their hands – because they don’t have to spend extra time repairing and rebuilding.

So, a question for you to consider: Are you fully respecting the gift of time?


Today’s value was selected from the “Harmony-Order” category, based on the e-book Developing Your Differentiating Values.