Have you ever found yourself “twiddling your thumbs” at a meeting that started late? Or sat in a restaurant waiting for your lunch appointment to show up? Or had your flight delayed? Or found yourself waiting for a tardy client? I know such delays happen all the time, causing stress when you realize you could have been doing something productive, or at least entertaining! These times may seem to keep you from your purpose, when actually they may be your best opportunity to arrive at The Intersection of Purpose and Now.
Meetings, appointments, travel schedules – these are all priorities, true “must do” items in your time strategy system. But let’s face it, our “must do” lists don’t always synchronize perfectly with the rest of the world. So we find ourselves waiting.
“Wait time” can equal “Lost time” unless you are prepared. You don’t have to be a victim; you have choices even when your time strategy is out of sync with your expectations. There are two ways handle lost time: Prevent it or Maximize it.
#1 Prevent lost time. Confirm appointments one day ahead of schedule. Ask people, “Is there anything that will keep you from making our appointment on time?” You will avoid some last-minute cancellations, reduce late arrivals and gain back some of the time you might otherwise have lost. People you deal with regularly will pick up on your habit of using time wisely and follow suit.
#2 Maximize your time. When you have to wait, make the most of it. After all, isn’t “free time” the thing you always crave most? Be prepared with a “Should do” list of items that you can turn to when you discover you have some unexpected “free time” around your scheduled “Must dos”. I keep an index card of “should do” items with me so when I find myself waiting, I have plenty to do. I update my contact database on my phone. I read or prepare responses to emails. I keep magazines with me and always have a book handy. I listen to voice mail. I review my schedule. There is always a list of things that you think you “don’t have time to do”. Well, NOW is the time to do it! (By the way, do NOT prioritize your “Should do” list. If it is a priority, it must be a “Must do”!)
Use these two basic strategies keep Wait Time from becoming Lost Time and remain at All Times at The Intersection of Purpose and Now.