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I've struggled with the challenges discussed in this article for literally my whole life. My family jokes that because I arrived 3 1/2 weeks after my anticipated birth date, this trait must be inherent. I have a career in IT that limits impact of this weakness due to sometimes unpredictable hours and team mates in multiple time zones. Therefore, I have some flexibility in my start/end times. I've often said to people, "If I had to punch a clock, I'd be fired". And while I joke about it, in my 45 years, it has caused not only myself, but many others, a lot of undue stress.
I've always felt like I'm failing people and have been so frustrated that even though I really do care, I still can't seem to make timeliness a habit. Ive even skipped important events because I felt defeated by the fact I was running so late. There have been people in my life, both personal and professional, who have been hurt because their perception is that I don't consider their time valuable, or my commitment to them important.
Lately I've started implementing some strategies that seem to help, so I thought I'd share them here as encouragement or ideas to help someone else. They are in line with the methods you've written about in this article.
1. I have a clock app on my phone that speaks the time out loud at varying intervals...1, 5, 10, 15, minutes, etc. This has helped tremendously in avoiding 'lost time'. I'm learning to get in the habit of turning it on whenever I need to be somewhere or get something done at a specific time.
2. I count backwards (with a bit of cushion) to when I need to leave or be done with something, and I give myself a specific time allotment for the things I need to do before then (even the details of those things, like for getting dressed, I have 10 minutes for a shower, 10 minutes for makeup, etc). I've tried this before in past years, but wasn't very successful until I had the clock app. It's still an important component of the strategy though (to have a goal to keep myself focused) or the time announcement wouldn't mean much.
3. I consciously make a promise to myself that I won't deceive myself...and with practice this is getting easier. Ex: I notice the dog has tracked in some mulch from the yard as I'm getting ready to walk out the door. It's so easy to tell myself it will only take a few moments, and even convince myself it's responsible to do it right then. Of course, these two things are true. However, they often lead me to noticing something else that 'has' to be done...meaning I'm late again. It takes a lot of practice to capture those thoughts before they become action, but it can be done. (And for those who try and still fail in the moment, like myself, let me encourage you to simply acknowledge the misstep and move on! Don't let it set the tone for the day!)
With out intending to sound too much like a 'perfectionist', there are so many traits or self-defeating habits I'd love to conquer...for myself and others. Procrastination or avoidance being a huge ones.
BUT...One hurdle at a time. I've had to be taught the lesson over and over that tackling it 'all' because Im so sick of it only means I'll spin, won't get far, and eventually give up. It also means that because I'm overwhelmed I will shut down and avoid even simple tasks or goals.
Today I'm celebrating that after 45 years, I'm finally "all-in" on tackling timeliness. I'm also thankful that with new technology, and easy access to materials that provide insight and strategy, the tools to help me are readily avaialable.
I have two magnets on my front door with sayings that encourage me each day:
"Never, ever, ever, give up!"
"Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone."
And yes, like it or not, we let even our self-defeating habits or personally traits become a 'comfort zone' of familiarity!
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