Do you ever feel like you haven’t got enough time? Like you’re rushing from one thing to the next.
Do you want to know the reason why you’re always late for things?
Well, you’re not alone, most humans are terrible at planning and poor judges of how long things will take.
If you get a text that says, “be there in two minutes,” that usually means 10. If they say, “running 15 minutes late,” that means 30.
Now obviously this is your friend trying to soften the blow, and potentially saving face, but why were they running late in the first place?
Well, a high proportion of people don’t plan for the unplannable.
As a person that was always late, I now know why I was. In my head, it only takes 5 minutes to get my coat, wallet and keys. But in reality, it takes me 15; my keys are not where I thought I left them, or anywhere for that matter.
I start to stress, and stress leads me not to think clearly. Then I remember that I left my keys in my other jacket.
I jump into the car and traffic seems to pop out of nowhere, I pull in and text a friend and let them know I’m going to be late. The reply, “it’s ok; you always are.”
The takeaway from all this, plan for the unexpected. If you have to be at an appointment at 11 am, and it usually takes you 15 minutes to get there. Don’t leave at 10:45 am.
Plan to leave at 10:15. Then if you have misplaced your keys, wallet, or another item that is essential to your trip you have plenty of time to look for it.
Unexpected things will come up, and it’s better to be ready for them. Allowing that 30 minutes extra is often essential if you want to be there on time.
That is what my experience has taught me.
You think it will be like X, but in reality, it’s like Y. There will be things that you didn’t plan for. And that’s precisely why you need to prepare for them events. Most people don’t.
That’s why you should not take on every engagement, project or task that you think you can do. Problems will arise and giving yourself space for them problems limits stress and rushing.
Will they always happen, of course not but it’s better to be ready than for one little problem to snowball into you being late for the remainder of the day, or in some cases much longer.
Buffer time is something that has helped me a lot in my personal and work life. The time that I add to remove stress and frustration from my day. (The mind works so much more efficiently when it is calm and relaxed.)
For one, travel always takes longer than you think, so getting to the airport an hour early, and to our business engagement 15 minutes early removes a lot of stress.
The risk of missing your flight, making your friends wait, or losing a reservation isn’t worth a few minutes it takes to plan. The worst-case scenario is that you wait a few minutes when you get there.
And if a friend, work colleague, or Google maps tells you it’s going to take 20 minutes to get there, and you leave 20 minutes for your journey, you’re probably going to be late.
You’re going to hit a few red lights, some traffic, and then have to park your car and walk to the restaurant, and there is always that person or persons, at the airport, that pack all their liquids into their carry on case.
The point is there is always going to be things that you can’t plan for, that will come up.
Also, when you say YES too often, it limits the amount of time that you have for yourself.
I’m all for helping people but if you help everyone someone is going to lose, and that person will be you.
The reason, you’re not going to have any buffer time. You’re going to be so busy wrapped up and helping others you’ll put your needs to last, leading to being stressed and frustrated that you never seem to have time for yourself.
That’s why you need to plan.
Plan everything that you would like to do; the things that are essential for your health and well-being. Then with a time that’s left allocate as your free time, as the time that you can give freely.
The idea here is— it’s not just about being late; it’s about the things that you say yes to. It’s about better planning. So if meeting a friend for lunch means that you are going to be rushing to an appointment or meeting. Then avoid it.
Let your friend know why you can’t meet them, why you have to put it off until another time. A good friend will see your point of view and agree with your decision.
Most of us are in debt when it comes to time.
But when you are selective about allocating your time, when you think twice before saying yes. You will start to feel much less rushed, you will begin to feel more relaxed, and you will have much more time for the essential things that make you happy.
Have a good week.