Meeting vs. making
As I was scurrying to meet someone coming in on the 11 am train, I realized that there's a huge difference between meeting a train and making one.
If you're rushing to make a train, you have to be there before the last moment. Five seconds too late is too late. The cost of error is absolute.
If you're hurrying to meet a train, though, there's a soft deadline. Five seconds is no big deal. Thirty seconds might be annoying, particularly for someone returning from a long journey. And five minutes is really rude.
Too often, we treat our obligations as meet, not make. We impose a sliding scale, a soft penalty, and we not only show up just a bit late, we show up a bit behind on quality or preparation.
Making is a discipline. Meeting opens the door for excuses.