I hate to admit it, but for the majority of my life punctuality and I were not on the same team. And I found myself apologizing even daily for showing up late.
And then I read an article a few years back claiming that running late is actually a sign of creativity and optimism. Man, if only I could have embraced this perspective and went on with my merry lateness! But I couldn’t because my lateness was not very merry. I was rushing and stressed, and I knew that there were others relying on me. If I were late for my own date, maybe I could have embraced my optimism!
But, the truth is that there are others involved and my lateness was affecting their time as well as how I was showing up and being received.
Time-management is so critical to effective communication because it affects our clarity, confidence, and connection. When you rush you are more apt to lack the focus and presence you desire in meetings and conversations. And when you are late your time appears more valuable than everyone else’s time, which leads to distrust and lack of connection. Everything we do creates meaning and stories. The same goes for being late.
And so I set out to change my ways. I made not being late a non-negotiable, and I began a process that changed my perspective on time, not even knowing that I had one.
So are you tired of being late? If so, here is the first step to consider when thinking about changing your ways.
Step 1: Start with Your “Logistical Container.”
Work from the outside in.
Going “within” is all the rave these days. And I’m on board. However, I also believe there is an inspiring practicality to starting on the outside and taking a look at what structures are working and which ones are not. Sometimes small changes can have big impact.
Quite possibly there are a few structural tweaks you can make that will change everything. Here are some to consider.
- Schedule your meetings or time blocks for 50 minutes opposed to 60.
- Schedule in 10 minutes of prep time for each event.
- Set 30 minutes the night before or in the morning to prepare for the day.
- Have your materials ready to go for each meeting or event for easier transitions.
- End your meetings on time and communicate your hard stop to everyone involved.
- If based on past evidence you know a meeting will run over and it’s out of your control, plan accordingly.
- Let the facilitator know that you have a hard stop, or
- Don’t schedule anything immediately after this meeting, or
- If you are going to be late to your next meeting, let the people affected know about it as early as possible.
- Take a look at your calendar and see whether you can time batch or time block. Align your tasks and meetings so there is more flow.
- Communicate to your team when you are not available so you can focus your time and increase productivity and be fully present and available during scheduled times.
- Take time to organize your office and clear your space.
- What can you eliminate, delegate and automate so you can free up more time for what matters most?
This is step is about becoming aware of how you are spending your time and what changes will bring more clarity and flow to your day.
Next week I will be sharing Step 2 and we will start to dive deeper because after all, effective time-management is a process. Sometimes our beliefs around time go a whole lot deeper than our calendar and our space.
To your success,