Monday, June 30, 2014

How To Save Yourself When You Are Running Late

One of the major things that really really grinds my gears is when someone is late when we are scheduled to meet up. This one late person ruins my plans, makes other people late (and potentially ruin their plans), and wastes everyone's time. Specifically as a photographer, I have drove to many different places to shoot and some groups have shown up extremely late causing me to lose time and time is money. 

Usually if you are late to something, you most likely think wherever you are going is not “that” important. Think about the times when you were on time to something. Some events might immediately pop in your head like job interviews, meetings, first dates, or dinner with your girlfriend’s parents. Now think about the times where you showed up late to something and reflect on the differences in importance of the events. 
 I understand not everything goes your way and I myself have been late a countless amount of times due to carelessness and/or uncontrollable events. However, just because I’m late does not mean I am powerless. Here are 3 tips that I recommend people should do if they are late in order to make things a little more pleasant for everybody.
1) Let the person know ahead of time

Give your party a text or a call as soon as you know you will be late and do not be vague. Tell them your exact location, situation and an estimate time you’ll be there just to give them a realistic heads up. That way, your party can expect your arrival time and use that time wisely to do a variety of things. 

When I used to carpool with my friend Tony to school and he would be a few minutes behind, he would always give me a heads up which gave me time to do so many more things in the morning that I haven’t done yet. If he did not give me a heads up, I would have been ready at 7:00am waiting on the bottom of my staircase, anticipating his text or call. If he were to come at 7:15am without any heads up, I would be slightly irritated mostly because it’s 7 in the morning and also because every minute before school is absolutely crucial (I’m sure every student can attest to that statement). If he would have gave me a 5 minute heads up, I would have probably made myself a pizza pocket or a sandwich. If he gave me a 15 minutes heads up, I would have taken my time to cook eggs and eat without the feeling of being rushed (a feeling that no one enjoys). Let your party know ahead of time where you are because not only is it fair, but it gives the party a sense of direction on what to do in the meantime.
2) Do not be reckless

Mr. Lubbs, my AP Physics instructor, favorite quote was, “Slow is smooth, but smooth is fast.” When one does any activity, finishing these activities smoothly is ultimately the fastest way to accomplish anything. 
Take for example, a student running late for school. That person is more likely to rush, put all of their things together in a huge mess, and bolt out the door before realizing they forgot their 20 page report on top of the printer or forgot to refill their water bottle or even forget to grab their wallet on top of their desk. When people are late, they are also more likely to speed which increases their chances in getting into an accident and potentially cause them to be even later.  The amount of harm one can create while speeding and driving recklessly around cars is NOT worth the theoretical 1 or 2 minute advances and in the long run, these techniques WILL backfire. 

Instead, realize that you are late and continue the rest of your activities smoothly. Do not panic but pack your belongings together with a strong sense of urgency. Although being smooth can potentially be 1 or 2 minutes slower than rushing out the door, it is much more effective in the long run because it will get the job done vs. when one is rushed, they have a possibility of turning back to their house, wasting time to retrieve their 20 page paper on their desk, and keeping that grumpy mood the whole rest of the day. That is one example out of the many but I hope I get my point across that the myth of rushing and sprinting out the door to get somewhere faster, in the long run, is NOT beneficial. Think critically about the situation, determine the best moves to pursue, and act smoothly.
3) Own Up To It & Apologize

When you are late, don't spend the first half of your date or your work explaining the specific details that went on that morning or any roadblocks that you have just encountered. By doing so, you are drawing more and more attention onto your carelessness and putting the burden/blame on something else. Even if the situations are uncontrollable, apologize for your mistake and shift the topic to something else. Engage in a nice conversation with your date to at least make up for your tardiness and if you are daring enough, promise to improve or never do it again. You can't change the fact that you were late but what you can change is your future behavior and hopefully you will learn from your mistakes.
If you often find yourself late to events, here are two key tips (out of many in my arsenal) that I would recommend.

1) Keep your word

I had a lot of great mentors in life and Nick Leon, one of my District Council advisors, said something that really resonated with me about always keeping your word.

I remember one specific experience when our Interact District Council hosted a meeting for our local Rotary club a few years ago. I was talking with Charlie Wasser, the head of Rotary Emblem Merchandise, about sharing with him Interact's Digital work and Nick Leon approached the both of us, looked me straight in the eye and said, “You told Charlie that you will send him the website and YouTube videos by tonight. Not tomorrow, not next Friday, but tonight. It is absolutely urgent that you keep your word. Will you do it?”

I did not even stop to use the restroom when I finally arrived home because I wanted to prove to Nick that I was indeed a man of my word. I drafted my beautifully crafted email and felt this tingling sensation of accomplishment as soon as I hit send. I told somebody I was going to do something and I did it. I kept my word and sent the email on time. My key takeaway is to not make promises you cannot commit to and to always keep your word. 
2) "Prepare for the best and expect the worst."

I have horrible memory so every night, I would spend roughly 15 minutes to jot down some notes in my little notebook and take proper actions to prepare me for the next day. I would analyze my next day and prepare everything the night before so that in the morning, I wouldn't have to scramble everything together and have a chance of forgetting anything. A normal night for me might look like me packing my backpack with all of my school work and textbooks, packing a lunch, planning my outfits (HUGE time saver), and have an idea on what I'm going to eat for breakfast (Trying my best not to skip out on the most important meal of the day). This simply technique maximizes the amount of time I get to sleep in and in the case I wake up late, it wouldn't take long for me to throw on my planned outfit, grab my packed backpack & lunch, and eat my breakfast before jotting out the door. If I do forget what I needed to do, I could always glance back at my little notebook and see what I had wrote the night before to refresh my memory. Preparation is the key to not being late.
I hope these few tips help you guys out! How do you guys prevent tardiness?

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