A good gauge of your ability to keep your agreements is how many times you are late for work or for meeting. Being consistently late is feedback that your time is not “your” time at al, but belongs instead to a constant stream of interruptions and unnecessary delays.
Arriving on time begins with leaving on time. Make leaving on time a priority, a personal challenge. Make a commitment to yourself that being on time is your number one priority. Making excuses for why it wasn’t “your fault” won’t get you there earlier next time. In fact, excuses are an attempt to put a stamp of approval on failure. Chronic lateness is not caused by any one event. It is a symptom of how your entire life is working in terms of your ability to plan your time and work your plan. If you want to master time, master the following strategies and I guarantee you will arrive on time every time.
1. Don’t make getting ready the last thing before leaving. Proper preparation begins with proper planning. If getting ready is the last thing you do before leaving the house, rest assured you will leave late as often as not.
2. Keep losing your keys? Common sense would ask how many times car keys have to be lost before it becomes obvious that a systems approach is needed for keeping track of those elusive little rascals. Although systems approaches may be a part of your everyday business or career life, few people have employed the power of systems, even simple ones to their personal lives.
The lost key syndrome is easily overcome if your keys are easily locatable every time you need them. Here’s how to ensure it. Put a bowl, try or decorative object on a table as close as possible to the door you normally enter and where you wil automatically see it. It’s so simple, yet so effective – no more lost keys.
3. House keys normally come with a “set” of keys – one for each door. Any multiple lock set up requires multiple keys and an excessive amount of labeling and duplication. What a potential waste of time and effort! Call a locksmith and have all the locks in your home changed to the same key. The doorknobs and locks don’t have to replaced only the internal lock mechanisms. Then one key fits all no matter which door you use.
4. One person in a relationship is often better at time management than the other. Don’t allow the difference to create a conflict if you are standing by the door ready to leave and your wife or husband, for example is not ready. It is better to deal unemotionally with the lateness of the person who is not ready. Remember you always have choice. You can leave on time and arrive on time without the other person. Or you can wait calmly until the other person is ready and go together. Effective time management can only be practiced on yourself. Demanding that others would do the same just wont work.
5. When you get angry in traffic its because you are late or about to be late and you feel stressed. As much as you want it to be, it is not the fault of the thousand drivers who are blocking the road in front of you. And getting angry is not going to get you there on time. I mentally made the decision a long time ago to change my habit of getting angry in traffic, I began to add the 15 minute “fudge factor” and started leaving on time. Soon the process became a habit and today, those around me are willing to bet that I will be on time – every time. Staying in control of your life requires emotional balance.
Any time you lose it and get angry, you have passed control to someone or something else. I no longer get angry – not in traffic. It’s simply a choice.
From now on, make it a priority to be on time, every time.