Time Management Habits # 1

 

So how do you create more time in your day? First, you have to stop the false efficiency of always trying to squeeze in one more thing before you leave home or before you leave the office. You do this in the name of efficiency – it seems like a waste of time to arrive early for anything and then have to wait around. But how effective are you in those snatched, feverish five minutes? The truth is, it’s really not efficient at all, and it puts you perpetually behind the curve instead of out in front of it.

So for a week, practice “five minutes early-ness.” Commit to being five minutes early, not by setting your clock five minutes fast and hoping to fool yourself, but by deciding that you will arrive at your destination five minutes ahead. And guess what? It feels great to walk into a room poised and ready rather than in a lather and fumbling. You have time to find parking, visit the restroom, or chat, and to mentally change gears. More profoundly, however, it will dial down the tension in your life, creating spaciousness where there formerly was constriction. You will increase your sense of control and feel that you have more time, rather than less. A colleague of mine calls this “bubble wrap,” it cushions the transitions from one activity to the next and insulates you against the hyper-stress of being just-in-time (or late).** You will be more effective and focused, and you will be in charge. Sound good? Give it a try.

**If you are also responsible for getting kids somewhere, which as my father in law says is like “herding cats,” this is even more important. In addition to the above effects, it has a huge impact on the tone of your communication: “Let’s go.” vs. “Get in the car NOW!”