How to be on time for everything.

Via on Apr 25, 2011

The below was an intro to our free Top 10 Blogs of the Week email newsletter. It’s a good thing to subscribe to if you just want most of the best of elephant, without the constant stream of random new articles. ~ ed.


“When you’re late, you’re stealing time from whomever you’re late for. It’s rude.” ~ my grandma Carol.

I was supposed to send out this newsletter last Thursday. That’s why half the blogs, below, have to do with Earth Day. They’re still relevant, so we’re leaving them in—after all, we all still want to care for our planet, which supports life, business, family and everything we do.

That said, it’d have been better if I’d sent this email out on Thursday, as we’re supposed to. But I have too much going on. I work all day and evening, every day, and enjoy doing so. We’re so broke and small, staff-wise, that this enterprise needs focus. Still, looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t find an hour to finish this here introduction and edits of this newsletter, last week.

Where does the time go?

Over the last 10 years, I’ve been late (usually just five or 10 but sometimes more) for everything. I usually start hustling and getting ready when it’s just a few minutes until my next appointment. I always somehow think I’ll be on time, or just a minute or two late. So the problem’s me, not my work.

How do you set your mental clock? Do you just decide you’ll be on time, and prepare for whatever’s next well before? Years ago, I arrived late to pick up an ex-girlfriend over at Naropa University. She calmly informed me, in so many words, that I would never be late again. For the next few years, I never was late for just about anything—the message got through my head, somehow, that being late wasn’t gonna cut it. After we went our separate ways, however, I quickly backslid.

I no longer want to allow my ongoing state of overwhelm to give me an excuse for tardiness. Any practical tips from reformed late friends out there, please share them for me and others like me here.

We’ll be in your debt.

~Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis
editor-in-chief, host
elephantjournal.com, Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis

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14 Responses to “How to be on time for everything.”

  1. mckra1g says:

    I think you answered your own question. In the case of your ex-girlfriend, at the time you were dating, you decided that being late was unacceptable. For whatever reason, your subconscious rejected the concept of tardiness. IMO, you just need to decide again that timeliness is your next virtue.

    In terms of practical advice, I have a sales background and I learned to budget 15 minutes of "getting lost" time between appointments. Whenever I had to find a new office, client, building, whatever… invariably, mapquest sends you down a rabbit hole, construction thwarts you or you truly just get lost. Therefore, I would just allow for the possibility whenever setting meetings/appointments.

    Your grandma Carol was right: valuing time is a means of valuing yourself. When you are late, there is something afoot – you aren't taking yourself seriously or valuing yourself enough. I predict that your fortunes will experience an uptick when you get a handle on your promptness challenge.

  2. Lydia Puhak says:

    When I read The Big Leap, by Gay Hendricks, recently, I learned a bit of his take on having all the time you need and creating a relationship with time that works. I liked what I read. He calls it Einstein Time. Here's more: http://www.earthfriendlypublishing.com/einstein.h

  3. KristinSLuce says:

    So, this will sound counter-intuitive, but the trick is NOT to hurry, and NEVER to be "hard on yourself" for being late. I used to be not only a few minutes late to everything, but also very stressed and apologetic when I arrived. Then one day a mom of three came into a meeting (late as always) and she was so sweet and non-plussed, in a "look at my crazy life!" kind of way, that we all couldn't help but to just adore her. I now call it a "High Quality Late," and I do it with dignity (and of course understanding and respect for whomever may have feelings about it). The result: I am rarely late anymore, and often I am early. "I'm" not doing it; the maitri (gentleness toward self) seems to have softened and trained me into an easy dialogue with time commitments.

  4. there are tricks. two of mine are…

    # 1 T MINUS … Time – (everything you have to do + 15 extra minutes for every day involved) = Start Time.

    #2 15 MINUTES … I give every project 15 minutes. Amazing what you can get done if you feel like you only have 15 minutes. Of course you have MANY 15 minute increments and can touch on all the projects multiple times.

    Good luck.

    • Antoinette Elbert says:

      I apply principle #2! It works very well for me and really helps me juggle my busy life. I'm not sure
      I understand the mechanics of your #1 principle.

  5. Tiffany says:

    My stepdad taught me how to operate on "Bob Time". This is a mental game you play with yourself whereby you set all of the clocks in the house for the wrong time. It sounds complicated, but it's really not. I try not to explain it too carefully, for fear that my inner procrastinator will figure out the rules. The bedroom clock gets set 20 minutes early. The kitchen clock is 15 minutes early, and the car clock is 10 minutes early. The closer I get to my car, the closer it is to the real time. Whatever the clock says, I assume it is accurate (try not to calculate "real time", it ruins the whole system). This is how I can set the alarm for 4:30 am, and finish a million morning chores before I have to leave at 5:30. And I am 10 minutes early to where ever I am going. Also, I always say it takes an hour to get to work, even though it really only takes 45 minutes. 10 or 15 minutes early FEELS like I'm on time, because it takes me that long to get my act together and ready to start my day.

    PS this whole neurosis makes my husband insane. WHAT TIME IS IT?? He asks. It's Bob Time. He is late for everything. He can't figure out what time it really is, so he's always miscalculating. Silly guy. He should just turn his brain off and pretend all the clocks are correct.

  6. Tiffany says:

    Also. It really ticks me off when meetings don't start on time. I don't care if you are late, but when the whole group is waiting for those who spend an extra 15 minutes doing whatever they do (and where I work, they are just down the hallway, not across town), I feel it is a disrespect to the people who arrived on time. Just had to say that. Now back to my loving place. (-:

  7. Jan says:

    simply put. learn to say no. no to others, no to yourself. No, you cant do one more chore before leaving the house, No to ONE more errand before you go to the appt. No to the extras that are NOT on your schedule. dont over schedule yourself either… time management.. put everything on the calendar FIRST…. those are priority… extra things require extra time.

    just sayin…

  8. brennagee says:

    Here is my uber practical trick to being on time – I set a kitchen timer if I am working around the house and know I have to be somewhere later. I also use http://e.ggtimer.com/ if I am working on the computer. I have a tendency to get engrossed in whatever I am doing. Timers help bring me back to reality and get on to the next event.:)

  9. Deb says:

    It's my understanding, that being late or early constantly is a direct result of our birth matrix. Babies that are born late, tend to be late constantly. Some have a panic about being late, others don't – they are pretty happy and content in the womb so not in a hurry to depart!

    If you have a particular matrix, it's great to just stop, take a breath – contemplate the words do you like this pattern? And then choose to change, or not.

    The other aspect of your editorial I noticed was the comment about being overwhelmed. This too, is a result of birth matrix. When I feel overwhelmed, I take some breaths, remind myself this is just my birth matrix, and "chunk" down the issues that are overwhelming me. This way, I can address one "chunk" at a time. With this method, the overwhelmed feeling departs – more quickly with practice…

    Blessings x

  10. [...] but do not have a meditation practice, per se, and they, too, will probably be blown away by the business of their minds. 3. Many will forget to even ask themselves the question – seriously… very [...]

  11. DaveTelf says:

    this is similar to a motto impressed upon me by a high school soccer coach:
    "if you're early, you're on time; if you're on-time, you're late."

    at the end of practice, the whole team did extra fitness for every person who had been "late."
    peer pressure works…

  12. Lisa says:

    This is the same technique I use and it's been working for me for about 25 years. Even when there doesn't "seem" to be enough time, all you have to do is slow down, make the request and thanks, then do what you have to do to get there. It works better than anything I tried before. But, yes, not looking at the clock is a great help. Just knowing what the time will say when you arrive is all that matters. :)

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