I arrived half an hour late at my chiropractic appointment. I started to apologize and she said, “Oh, don’t worry Magdalene! You are here exactly at the time you are meant to be here. By being late, you could have just missed a big accident. Everything happens exactly as it should!”
Wow! I thought. What a different approach to business. I am not exactly a punctual person and being late for things have created huge losses and issues for me. Not being on time is regarded as disrespectful. Over the last year, I have consistently worked on improving this habit. Now when I get to places on time – no one is ready for me because I have conditioned them to thinking I will be late! I can tell you, it is hard to turn this around! I think of all those real life stories of people who missed opportunity because they are late but there are also those who have missed accidents and fatal situations because they were running late. Was it their fate? Sometimes it doesn’t always add up!
As the chiropractor and I chatted, she said something very profound to me. “Keep in mind that this moment, day, week or year, is a small part of your entire lifetime and an even smaller part of the several lifetimes you may have lived, if you believe in past lives.” She spoke my own general philosophy about life but which does not always work in a practical world where most people do not believe in past lives! People are logical and time management is a HUGE part of managing work and life balance. Now, mind you, I have never been late to my chiropractic appointment again – I look forward to each session and I can’t wait to get there. Why? Because her approach in working with me makes me feel better. I am intrinsically motivated.
So, this brings me back to the issue of being late. Why do we run late? Looking back at my own patterns, the main reason I run late is because I always have too many things going on at the same time. In my eagerness to please many people – I commit more than I should and get myself into trouble. I never thought much about it until someone got really upset after I left him waiting for me for two hours. He said “This is not about time. This is about YOU not honouring your word.” This put a whole new spin on it for me.
As Oprah Winfrey said “You can have it all. Just not all at once.”
This year, I started DOING LESS but also started being more mindful about my words and making time commitments. Guess what? Lateness has been significantly reduced. I am less stressed and more focused. I am learning to say NO to things which are not a priority. I am learning it is better to do a FEW THINGS BUT DO THEM WELL!!! and to mean what I say to someone. I am learning how to plan and manage my time better.
But there are other factors which play a part in running late. Think of these things:
– Am I late for things which I don’t want to go to? (I have often seen this with my kids when they do not want to go to a class)
– Am I late because I don’t like the people I am going to be with? (This creates a psychological trauma which will make you push back as much as possible)
– Am I late because no one holds me accountable which makes me feel that time does not matter? (This happened to me – no one held me accountable and it eventually developed in a bad habit! It takes a lot of effort to re-build that credibility)
If you are a punctual person – kudos to you!
If you are not – TuneIN to what is stopping you from being punctual and StepUP to respect other people’s time. It will also make you feel and act much, much more professional and help you gain credibility which can go a long way towards growing your career. When you run late occasionally, everyone will understand. But above all, find balance.
Oh – by the way, there is also a sign on my chiropractor’s desk that says “There will be a $45.00 charge for missed appointments!” Be on time today! 🙂