I think we’re all a little blue in the face from either being stressed or hearing about how to cope with stress. Well here’s more of it, but with the suggestion of a very simple stress reducing solution.
I’ve managed to reduce my stress levels significantly in the last few years. Changing my job helped greatly, but there was another far simpler change I made, and that was to my timekeeping. For anyone who is reading this and is a paragon of punctuality you might aswell skip on to the next blog, you’re already singing from this hymn sheet, for the tardy types read on.
For a long time I was a ferocious timekeeper. Always a few minutes, occasionally more than just a few minutes late. I was late for appointments with friends mostly, rather than business meetings. The dread of discommoding a client far outweighed the fear of annoying my friends, whom I clearly took for granted, selfishly valuing my time above theirs.
Part of my issue was trying to pack as much as possible in before finally getting myself out the door. Also I think I hated the idea of getting to a place too early for fear of actually having to wait for someone – imagine.
About three years ago when I started ‘Grá For Fitness’, this all changed. I simply could not be late for classes that I was teaching. I’m not sure if it was a conscious decision but I started applying this new found approach across the board.
I simply gave myself more time. If I couldn’t get my ‘to do’ list done before I left the house, then so what? One thing I noticed immediately is the difference it made to my stress levels. When it came to driving places I drove slower and had more patience with people on the roads. The level of road rage and related profanities decreased greatly, I was able to find a parking space with a bit of time left over to prepare for whatever the occasion was.
Google maps is a fantastic timekeeping tool whether walking, cycling or driving. I nerdily check out timings in advance, eliminating the question of how long it’s going to take for me to get somewhere.
Another thing I’ve realized is, if you’re driving and running late, you’re far more likely to use your phone to send a sneaky text or call ahead with your ETA (if there are any gards reading obviously I have never done this).
With regards to meeting friends, my new found promptness was also making my (and their) life easier. I realized that I had been turning up to appointments late – irritated with myself, on the back foot, and sometimes a little irritated with them because I knew they were irritated at me. That’s a lot of unnecessary irritation. These days I even take a little pleasure in getting to my destination early and enjoying that slightly smug feeling of getting there first.
I still have occasional times including the other day when I was late to an appointment. Instead of using my driving trip to the location to mentally prepare, all I could do was worry about how far away I was, road-raging like a loon and arriving proffering apologies which is never a good place to start. It served as a reminder.
Of course there are times when being late due to unforeseen circumstances is unavoidable. I realise ‘first thing in the morning tantrums’ related to issues such as not wanting to eat breakfast or wear your chosen / proposed outfit, refusing to be strapped into the car can cause serious delays, and then of course there are parents dealing with small children. In the unavoidable cases where it really isn’t your fault, you just have to let the stress go.
If you’re already a top time keeper and kept reading – good on ya, think of all the stress you’re avoiding.
If you’re a habitual johnny or joanie come lately, I suggest giving this punctuality thing a go and enjoying those reduced stress levels.
And to all my friends I’ve kept waiting; thank you, I appreciate your time.