Are you habitually late? Before writing it off to laziness or being disorganised, consider that maybe you’ve developed a habit of pre-meditated lateness. Get past it by factoring more transition time into your day.
Photo by wwarby.
Harvard Business Review’s Peter Bregman comes clean as someone who was chronically late everywhere he went. Finally he admitted to himself he’d fallen into the trap of pre-meditated lateness — or, planning to be late by not allowing for enough time between activities.
Here’s my problem: I have a very high need to be efficient and productive. And transition time is neither of those things; it’s annoying. I’d rather just be somewhere. I don’t want to waste the time getting there. So, even though I know I should leave more time, I push it, clinging to the illusion that I can get places faster than is humanly possible.
When Bregman finally padded his schedule with time to spare in between appointments, he discovered he was actually more productive than when he was constantly rushing around and showing up late for meetings. The key lies in using the transition time to plan ahead for the next activity. Rather than fumble around for 15 minutes unprepared at your next meeting, take a few minutes ahead of time to sort out what you need to do or say and the meeting will go a lot faster.
Even five or 10 minutes of that kind of planning can shave 30 minutes off a task. Think about your outcome. Think about what you really need from people. And then, in a move that will make everyone else in the room overjoyed, let them know you want to make the 60 minute meeting 30 minutes and tell them how you plan to do it.
Of course, there’s more to getting places on time than just thinking about what you want to do once you get there. You also need to do some backwards planning to figure out what time you need to end the previous activity, factor in transportation time, and so on. Check out the post for more tips on how smooth transitions can make it easier for you to be on time.
Are you chronically late wherever you go? If you’re struggling with this issue in your life, let us know what works — and what doesn’t — to help get past it.
Optimize Transition Time (And Stop Being Late) [Harvard Business Review]