A colleague of mine recently compared my perpetual attempts at being dead on time to flipping a coin and trying to make it land on its edge. In order to be exactly on time and not have to wait for others myself, everything would have to work out just right: trains, traffic lights, elevators, pedestrian traffic, the barista at Starbucks… As hard as I try, I was rarely successful. Most often I was late.
Although being late is not my intention, when I am late I don’t represent myself as the professional I want to be known as, and worse, I run the risk of inconveniencing others. Finally convinced of the futility of trying to be “on time,” the only solution, I sadly concluded, is to actually plan to be early. In my mind, this meant I almost certainly would have to wait, which felt like a waste of my time.
Instead, I’ve started looking at being a few minutes early as an opportunity to squeeze in a few minutes of something I enjoy. Sometimes I read a book on my iPad or iPhone. Sometimes I play a game. After all, Candy Crush has to have some redeeming feature, no? Now I find I’ve always got something to look forward to when I arrive 5-10 minutes early. In fact, most days I secretly hope that whomever I’m waiting for will be a little late. As an added bonus, the daily stress of trying to beat the odds and arrive dead on time is gone!