5 lit­tle ways to stop be­ing stressed and start be­ing on time

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - SUSIE MOORE greatist.com

I once had a boss — let’s call her Natalie — who was per­pet­u­ally late.

She would race into the of­fice ev­ery morn­ing, stressed and di­shev­elled, and she’d al­ways have to resched­ule meet­ings. I al­most had a panic at­tack once when she ar­rived just 17 sec­onds be­fore our flight closed for board­ing on an im­por­tant busi­ness trip.

I’ve known a few peo­ple like Natalie, and I al­ways think: how do they do it? I mean, isn’t it so anx­i­ety-in­duc­ing to al­ways race against the clock? If you take a few min­utes for prepa­ra­tion and think ahead, it’s way eas­ier than con­tend­ing with time as a con­stant en­emy.

Natalie’s ap­proach didn’t do her any favours, that’s for sure. Her lack of or­ga­ni­za­tion meant she never got se­lected for lead­er­ship roles, and she wasn’t con­sid­ered for the pro­mo­tion she wanted. It wasn’t sur­pris­ing.

The good news is that punc­tu­al­ity is not a gene. Any­one can master it! Yes, even that friend who al­ways makes you lose your ta­ble at the trendy new restau­rant and the col­league who is con­sis­tently 10 min­utes late. To ev­ery. Sin­gle. Con­fer­ence. Call.

I have four in­boxes, a busi­ness with sev­eral facets, and I live in a non­cen­tral part of the city, so I am con­stantly on the go. Here’s how I man­age to stay on (or ahead of ) sched­ule 99 per cent of the time: 1. Refuse to take on too much Over­sched­uled peo­ple (guilty!) run the risk of be­ing late, be­cause they squeeze more into their cal­en­dar than a 24-hour slot will al­low. Hey, you can’t fit seven eggs into a half-dozen car­ton with­out a mess. This one sim­ple rule will trans­form your life.

Natalie was al­ways go­ing to un­nec­es­sary meet­ings with un­likely ven­dors and al­low­ing triv­ial cof­fee dates to run way over their fin­ish time within her pre­cious work­ing hours.

What can you scratch off the agenda be­fore you even be­gin to­day? Get real with your­self here. What can you say “no” to in or­der to give your best to the stuff that re­ally mat­ters?

You know, don’t you? So de­cline! Delete! Re­ject that caller di­al­ing you with an un­known num­ber who will hold you up. Say “No, thank you,” more than “Well, OK.” 2. Set aside a few min­utes to plan Look at your day the night be­fore or first thing in the morn­ing. Where do you have to be, and by when? What do you have to do, and how long will each task take you? All you have to do is a bit of time bud­get­ing.

Say you have three tasks to com­plete, and two meet­ings that both re­quire a lit­tle prep and travel time. Sched­ule an ap­prox­i­mate time for each of the three tasks, and give your­self some ex­tra pad­ding in case you need a lit­tle longer than you think. Ac­count­ing for er­ror is not only prac­ti­cal, it al­lows you to zip around with­out worry. Bliss!

Now you have a gor­geous, on-time day ahead, with zero sched­ule-re­lated stress. It can be that sim­ple. 3. Have some hacks handy With­out dry sham­poo, an ac­ces­sory col­lec­tion that di­als up a ba­sic black out­fit and a hand­bag-ready bright lip­stick, get­ting ready would take me at least 30 min­utes more per day. When you have some time-sav­ing hacks in your life, your ap­pear­ance re­mains strong in a frac­tion of the time.

Some­one once taught me to de­cide my out­fit for the next day on my com­mute home ev­ery evening. Fig­ure out what’s clean and what will work with the weather to make the next morn­ing that much smoother. 4. Start batch­ing Whether you’re plan­ning In­sta­gram up­dates, send­ing emails or even make-ahead meals for the week, batch­ing is a time-saver.

Once you’re in a shop­ping, writ­ing or so­cial me­dia mind­set, op­ti­mize that by think­ing a few days or a week out. When you’re al­ready at the gro­cery store, could you sat­isfy not just your cur­rent crav­ing, but also make snacks for the week? A work­ing mum shared with me the se­cret of batch­ing meals, chores and even pay­ing bills on­line. Try it — you won’t go back. 5. Just lie Yes, lie! If late peo­ple in your life hold you back, tell them that the event is an hour be­fore it ac­tu­ally is. Tell your per­pet­u­ally tardy friend that the reser­va­tion is for 7 p.m. when it’s ac­tu­ally 7:30. I do this with my hus­band a few times a week, and I think he se­cretly doesn’t mind. He needs the nudge.

How will you save time this week, early bird?

DREAMSTIME, TNS

Isn’t it so anx­i­ety-in­duc­ing to al­ways race against the clock?

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