I have a friend who is always late. If he's to pick me up, he's late. If I'm to pick him up, he's late. My son is the same way. I don't know if this is a sign of passive/aggressive behavior or not, but it means when I deal with my friend and my son, I have to adjust my time. I tell them that events are earlier than they really are. I tell them I'll pick them up earlier than I need to. I play their game. I hate it, but I know what I have to do to make time.
I like to arrive for appointments before the allotted time. If I am to meet with a client at 10:00, I arrive at 9:45. If a deadline is June 10, I deliver June 9. By arriving early it tells the client that I am ready to do business. If I have to wait, I write notes to myself or read the newspaper. When I beat a deadline, it takes the pressure off me, so I feel good. The client has less stress, as well.
Here are a few things I do to help me make time or catch up with time to keep me on-schedule:
� I always double-check my journal before I head off to an appointment, to make sure the date and the time are correct. It's a big time waster to attend a meeting on the wrong day.
� I set my watch ahead about fifteen minutes and the clock in my car ahead about forty-five minutes. This creates a little doubt in my mind, so it's easier for me just to believe that I could be late. This drives other people in my car crazy, but they need to be where I'm going as well, so too bad.
� When the phone rings as I'm leaving the office, I answer the call to make sure that it is not an appointment canceling. If the call will take longer than a few seconds, I'll ask to call them back on my cell phone, momentarily.
� I always carry my "To Do" list. I can go over my list if I have to wait for a meeting. I cross off and add all day. If I find myself with a few minutes to spare, and note that I am near a store that sells something I need to purchase, I try to get that done. This saves time later that I would waste driving to the store.
� I never ever accept an invitation without a stipulation, "I'll have to check with the office . . . my wife . . . my appointment book." This allows you time to consider the invitation and see if it will fit within your schedule. Although I usually have my journal with me, I know that some items aren't listed . . . yet.
� I have a little kitchen timer. I can set it, knowing when I have to turn off the computer and head out to a meeting. The little "ding" might be annoying, but it keeps me on time.
� I make a reasonable guess at the length of time a meeting or event will take and then add some buffer time. This keeps me from being late for a second meeting.
� I schedule "possible" meetings. These are meetings with clients and friends they don't know about. If I find that I have finished a meeting early and I am near a client's office I can pop in to say, "Hi." If I can't make a "possible" meeting, I'm the only one that knows. And the only one disappointed.
I'm not early all of the time, and sometimes I am late, but the odds are that if you're trying hard to be somewhere "on time" you will make it. Being on time is not something that just happens. It takes planning . . . and maybe time management courses.