• Fulfilling needs at the right moment with the proper use of resources

  • Completing responsibilities punctually and at the correct pace

  • Delivering on time so that others have adequate time to meet their obligations


Timeliness: fulfilling needs at the right moment with the proper use of resources.

Because the word “time” is in timeliness, it is easy to focus on the deadline aspect of it. The thinking goes like this: Was it done on time? If so, it must be timely.

However, there is more to timeliness than meets the eye.  It is not as simple as just beating the clock. For example, have you ever ordered lunch at a fast food restaurant, gotten the bag of burgers within 90 seconds, and then driven home, only to discover that your order was missing something? By the time you drove back to the fast food restaurant, your fast food will have turned into slow food. Technically, you may have gotten food within two minutes of placing your order, but it was not the right food.

Let’s look more closely at the definition above by breaking it into its three primary components:


Fulfilling needs – To be timely requires that the work is done correctly

At the right moment – To be timely requires that the service is provided at an appropriate time

With the proper use of resources – To be timely means that the work is done in such a manner that it will not impede the ability of the individual or organization to meet its next deliverable

Taking care of the right need, at the right time, in the right way -- that is what timeliness is all about. Timing impacts everything and when work is done in a manner that meets this three-part definition, it does not get much better than that. Timely work demonstrates to clients and colleagues that we understand their needs; that we respect their time and money; and that we recognize that our work is a reflection on them and on us.

This week, as you are striving to meet deadlines, consider these three aspects of timeliness and reflect on how well you are meeting them.

Key Words and Phrases

At the right time; Punctual; Convenient; Prompt; In time; Well-timed; Occurring at a suitable time.

Opposite Terms

Tardy; Too late; Missed chance.


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