Elephant Adventure 41: Be on Time

This is an interesting Adventure for me: I’ve been early-to-punctual for most of my life.

The last few years, that’s turned into a 5 minute plus-minus window.

I’m not sure whether this is because most people I know operate this way, or that my crowded meeting schedule during the week has forced me to operate this way. Perhaps the accuracy of real time Google Maps traffic has factored into it as well.

Technology has also allowed for a new adaptation: Setting a ballpark time with a friend and notifying each other when we’re about ready to leave. This works really well on the weekends.

Okay, the exercise:

Consider what “being on time” means to you and to others.

Being on time means arriving 0-5 minutes before the set time. There’s one exception to this: Parties at someone’s home. On time is not an expectation (unless it’s a dinner party), and I’ll adjust my arrival time based on the group, group size, duration, and type of party.

To others: Depends on the other.

What prevents you from being on time?

Back to back meetings, because I can’t magically teleport.

What arises in your mind when you or other people are late?

When I’m late: I get really agitated, because I don’t want to be the person who is late. I consider it inconsiderate, disrespectful, and irresponsible.

When others are late: I used to get really annoyed, and sometimes I still do, but over the years I’ve come to understand that everyone views and understands time in a different way. I can’t expect everyone to see the world the way I do. I try to account for this ahead of time when I’m scheduling things with folks I know tend to run late.

I did have an instance last week when I was a couple minutes late for a presentation at work where I was the moderator. I could have arrived on time, but as presentation time approached I found myself in a conversation with a coworker about how things were going for them and for our teams. I knew I would be little late for the commitment I had made, but I decided it was more important devote those minutes to my coworker, because giving them my attention, strengthening our connection, and learning about our collective well being was more important.

When I do have the luxury of arriving before a work meeting, it gives me a chance to gather my thoughts, get into the right mindset, and begin the interaction properly composed.

One of my coworkers makes it a habit to leave meetings 10 minutes before the top of the hour. In the back of my mind I’ve been weighing the pros and cons of implementing the same thing.

The discussion section of the book stated that this was a lesson not about punctuality, but time, and how time is irrelevant relative to the present moment.

This bring me to what I do when I’m the one who has arrived and have to wait: I keep my phone in my pocket and I “sit”. I observe. It’s calming and enjoyable, and turns those “wasted” minutes into a mindful gift.

Elephant Adventure 42: Procrastination

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