Why “haste makes waste” still rings true

The old adage of “haste makes waste” is a reliable principle for a reason even though the time and expense of doing a job right doesn’t seem like it’s worth the effort sometimes. But rushing seldom saves that much time to make a real difference, and it can reflect poorly on you or your work ethic if others take notice.

And there’s a greater consequence than harming your reputation. Hurrying in our personal lives and on the job can be both costly and tragic. Whether stepping on the accelerator at the sight of a yellow traffic light or failing to double-check that the power is shut off before working on an electrical connection, the risk is not worth the potential loss of time, money, and possibly even life.

The law of large numbers suggests that the more you are exposed to certain risks, the more likely you will be involved in a costly or tragic event.

Getting a job done faster is not worth the risk of gambling with your limbs, eyes, or livelihood. Those you love are important enough for you to practice proper safety. If you’re a business owner, the lives of people in your community, your customers, and your employees can be affected too.

Many great innovations about how to improve a job have come from employees. If a worker thinks they know a way to do a job quicker, encourage them to propose their ideas to their boss. Just don’t encourage them to get to the next job more quickly, or be dismissive of safety protocols. Sooner or later, it will catch up with you.

Believe it or not, some leaders suggest that procrastination is sometimes a good thing. Time brings clarity and can calm the impulse to act in haste.

So, don’t rush it. There is a safe and proper procedure for everything.

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