Tick-tock goes the clock…..rushing to get this thing put away, this plant watered, this document filed, this email sent, just this one quick stop, one little note……Man! I’m late! How did that happen?
Just one more thing, and then I’ll go.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone – you’ve got lots of company, including yours truly. There are so many things to do in a day, and it seems there is never enough time to do them all. However, if “simplicity is a state of mind” then it’s time to figure out what is really important!
Are you placing more importance on your time or someone else’s?
Several years ago a friend was upset with me about being late to a weekly rehearsal. During a strained discussion, he was pretty clearly fed up when he said, quite directly, “Well, I can never get you to show up on time!” Wow, that hurt…. and he was right. What I didn’t realize was how much I was hurting him, the others involved and my own reputation. Shortly after this candid remark, I heard something interesting: more often than not, chronically late people are perfectionists and just flat out trying to do too much. Chronic lateness is also placing more importance on our time than everyone else’s. (Again, ouch.)
It’s time to go.
As I was trying to get a smattering of things done this morning, I had a commitment to be somewhere at a certain time. Suddenly, I realized that the clock was ticking by quickly. So, I set a deadline where I would stop, pick up and GO. It turns out I couldn’t get my task done before leaving. However, what’s amazing: I could still do it later when I got back. And you know what? It was done just as well and not at the cost of my being late.
If you’re anything like me, and feel you need to squeeze one more thing in, here’s some tips to get you there on time:
- Change the time on your calendar. If I have a meeting that starts at 12:00, I put the time for the meeting down as 11:30 and the description as, “Meeting (12:00). I found I feel much less stressed when I am at least 10 minutes early. Marking my calendar in this way helps me know the actual time of the meeting and yet visually I know I will be there early.
- Get ready ahead of time. This won’t always be possible, but when it is, it makes a huge difference. Pack the night before, assemble supplies in the morning for an afternoon engagement, etc. This minimizes the chance you will be scrambling at the last minute.
- Set a timer. I started doing this, and it really works. Too many times I get carried away writing or working on a project, and lose track of time. Set the timer for when you need to get ready to walk out the door (I allow about 15 minutes). When the timer goes off, drop what you’re doing and go.