In our family, one of the worst crimes you could commit against others was being late and not keeping to the schedule.
I remember the moments prior to leaving the house before meeting grandparents were particularly stressful. Lots of yelling and anxiety that we might be late if we: Didn’t. Leave. Right. Now!
We always arrived on time.
Later on, this fixation on being on time served me well in the theater and event industries, where the show went on when it was supposed to — everything else be damned.
I even learned that if you’re not early, you’re late!
It takes a toll, however, when you’re always rushing to meet someone else’s schedule.
At work, it’s hard to be on time when every meeting is back to back — leaving no time for human things like the bathroom, water, or much-needed sleep.
When we aren’t able to meet the expectation, we often knee-jerk into apologizing: I’m sorry I’m late. I’m sorry, I’m sorry . . .
But we shouldn’t apologize for taking care of our needs — you needed to refill your glass, or take five minutes to prepare, or go to the bathroom, or connect to someone in a human way.
Instead: thank whoever’s waiting.
Thank you for your patience. Thank you for waiting. Thank you for your understanding.
That way, you’re not apologizing for taking care of yourself, you’re thanking them for understanding something important had to happen before you arrived.
That also puts people in a more receptive mood so you can request meetings last 45 or 50 minutes instead of 60, or whatever accommodations you need to feel less like a hamster and more like a human. And, when possible, managing their expectations before you’re late also helps, too. After all, no one likes rushing for nothing.
That’s your challenge.
Let me know how it goes by commenting below.🙂
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