Espresso 2 – It’s About Time–Part 1

issue no. 2

It’s About Time—Part 1


New York lingerie designer Carolyn Keating was thrilled to land a job interview with Victoria’s Secret. She knew that being on time was essential to making a good impression, but there was just one problem. When Keating arrived, she was 30 minutes late. She didn’t get the job.

For some people, being on time seems nearly impossible—no matter how important the event. They’re always running out the door in a frenzy, arriving everywhere at least 10 minutes late.

Does this sound like you? Have you ever wished you could break the pattern?

Here’s a brief analysis on six common reasons why people are late, followed by possible solutions. Perhaps you’ll be able to identify with one or several of the following:

#1) The poor judge: If you’re always late by a different amount of time—five minutes sometimes, 15, or even 40 minutes other times—it is likely that the cause is technical. You are not good at estimating how long things take, whether drive times or even routine activities, like taking a shower.

The solution is to become a better time estimator. Try keeping track of everything you do for a week or two. Write down how long you think each thing will take and then how long it actually took. This will help you adjust your time estimates.

Dad: Once you start taking being on time seriously, and allotting the extra time necessary, you’ll learn to recognize when you’ve cut something too tight, and for God’s sake be humble and admit it, so the other person can plan for it and accommodate your mistake without losing too much. …Really, it’s not that hard to change. It just requires a change of attitude. You’ve got to place serious priority on being on time, and be willing to sacrifice to uphold that standard of excellence.

#2) Can’t say no: Another difficulty for some people is the inability to say “no” to additional commitments when they’re short on time.

The solution to this problem is simply to learn to defer or decline requests. Say something like, “I’m meeting people in half an hour. Can I help you later?”

Jesus: You don’t like to tell people “no,” and you can sometimes give yourself unrealistic deadlines for getting something done for someone or getting back to someone on something. It’s much better to just be honest and be realistic about it, rather than giving your word and then not being able to make the deadline you set for yourself. It takes humility to admit when you just can’t do something as soon as someone would like, but that’s the better road to take. And then you’re able to stick to your word and truly get back to people when you say you will.

#3) Rebellious hangover: If you are literally always 10 minutes late, it’s probably psychological. You’re arriving exactly when you want. The question is “why?” For some people, it’s a type of rebelliousness. They don’t want to do what other people expect them to.

The solution is to “make peace with God” and realize that you must get over this perpetual tardiness if you are going to be a professional.

Dad: Being late shows a lack of respect, a lack of love. It says that you feel your work or whatever you were doing is more important than they are. It’s a form of selfishness, of self-centeredness.

#4) Adrenalin junkie: Another category is the “crisis-maker,” someone who thrives on the mini-crisis of running late. These are people who cannot get themselves together until they get an adrenaline rush. They need to be under the gun to get moving.

The solution is to learn to pace yourself, to realize that work is done better when it’s paced, planned, and done at a more relaxed pace. Not only that, but you’ll enjoy life more as you go.

Dad: Nobody is supposed to be overworked, overloaded, or overburdened or feel the yoke is too hard, the burden too heavy. Just do what you can do, but for God’s sake, do what you can every day! Don’t blame it on God if you loafed around and goofed off for a week and then try to do a week’s work on the last day of the week. That’s not God’s fault, that’s your own fault. Stop all that last-minute cramming!—Have everything plotted, planned, and scheduled, then you’ll know where you’re at, what you’re supposed to be doing and when to do it. I would much rather see your work done on a nice easy leisurely, take-your-time daily basis rather than a last-minute cramming rush at the end of the week or month.

#5) The Over-eager Beaver: For other people there is an anxiety associated with doing nothing and waiting. You know you’re in this category if you’d rather be late to an appointment than spend one minute sitting in the waiting room.

The solution: Try planning something highly absorbing to do while you wait. Try to arrive at every appointment 5 or 10 minutes early and use the time for a specific activity, such as writing notes to people or reading.

Mama: If you are indeed early, while you’re waiting there are all kinds of good ways you can redeem the time—having prayer vigil, reviewing your key promises, witnessing, fellowshipping, preparing for the meeting or class, reading something you’ve brought with you, taking a few moments of quiet meditation and reflection to let the Lord speak to you, etc.

#6) One-more-task Syndrome: Many people try to avoid downtime by “shoving in one more thing” just before they need to leave. This is called the “one-more-task syndrome” and it’s a major obstacle to being on time.

The solution: If you really want to beat this, the minute you think of squeezing in one more thing before you leave, don’t do it! Stop yourself in your tracks, grab your bag, and walk out the door.

Dad: You lead busy lives, and there’s always “one more thing” you wish you could do before leaving. But you’ve got to have a cutoff time, and if you want to be on time, that cutoff has to be early. It has to allow for emergencies, unavoidable circumstances, traffic, delays, or what have you, so that you can still make it to your appointment on time.

Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.—Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790


A Few Other Practical Tips


Prepare:If you’re always late, then maybe you need more time to prepare for a meeting. For example, if you know you’re going to need directions, secure them a day (or days) prior to leaving. Give yourself extra time so you won’t panic when it’s time to leave for your appointment.

Get to Bed Earlier. Do you stay up late and then have a hard time getting out of bed the next day, which then causes you to get a late start? Try getting to bed earlier.

Reschedule. If you realize you’re not going to be on time, then reschedule the meeting. But don’t do it 5 minutes before you’re supposed to be there. In other words, be thoughtful as well as realistic.

To be continued…


Sam Smith
Sam Smith is an independent Missionary, that has spent 7 years of his life in Africa, trying to spread Jesus' message of love in any way possible. He has been involved with non profit companies distributing educational material, youth counseling, IT education and humanitarian aid work in medical camps. He believes in Jesus in the simple way that the Bible speaks about, without going so far as to "belong" to a denomination, but just wants to do his best with likeminded people to make the world a better place.