If you are always early or on time, congratulations!
For the rest of us?
Being chronically late (even just a few minutes) is not fun.
The best solution I’ve found for ending the stress, embarrassment, and aggravation of habitual lateness?
Improve your dismount.
For me, being late is fueled by the challenge I have disengaging from one activity and moving on to the next one.
I know if I spend just a little time thinking ahead to how I’ll disengage from one thing and transition to the next (aka practice my dismount) it’ll make it far more likely I’ll be on time.
On a recent Tuesday, I forgot to plan my dismount.
Here’s how it played out.
As I did my work in the morning, I had a vague recognition that I was meeting a colleague at 10:30am. That deadline fueled a mildly frenzied task tizzy where I ran around getting a few things done.
Around 10:20am, I looked at the clock.
“I need to go!!”
I grabbed my keys and started out the door, remembered I needed to put the dogs away. Did that.
Realized I’d left my wallet by the computer, grabbed it, decided to turn out all of the lights, and dashed to my car at 10:26am.
I had a 10 minute drive to the meeting location. So, I sped up, pre-planning my apology for being late. As I daydreamed about that, I missed my turn and had a 5 minute detour. I arrived 12 minutes late.
Contrast that to another meeting last week (also at 10:30am.)
That morning, as I looked at my calendar first thing, I paused. I recognized I had a couple of hours of unstructured time where I could play with my To Do list before leaving my office.
I remembered situations like that create some disengagement tension. So, I spent about 30 seconds thinking about a dismount strategy.
It looked like this:
- At 10:10, set a reminder alarm on my AppleWatch to begin getting ready to go.
- Then, put the dogs in their kennel, do the “close down” the house routine (food put away, lights off, etc.)
- Finally, do a scan of what I’ll need where I’m going (purse, phone, notebook, etc.) and gather those.
- Then, I sit behind the wheel of my car (ideally by 10:15) and use the Breathe feature on my watch to do 1 minute of awareness breathing (a great transitioner from task completing energy to focused friend connection energy).
If I get to my destination a few minutes early, I use the time to practice presence and awareness.
But, usually, this kind of a dismount plan get’s me places just about on time (as opposed to the chronically 5-10 minutes late of my other pattern).
Obviously, I don’t have a dismount plan for every single thing. And, some days I skip it.
But, a majority of the time, I do find it helps me find more peace and ease.
It’s something that comes naturally to a lot of my friends/colleagues.
It didn’t to me—but putting it into practice has been meaningful and helpful and feels pretty simple.
Finally, I find conversation disengagement the HARDEST. Anyone who knows me understands I LOVE a good chat.
I find it useful earlier in the convo to tell the other person I have an appointment at ______ time and I will need to say goodbye by __________. Often, they help me with my dismount in those cases.
Here’s to smooth dismounts and happy landings, my friends!