You’ve got an appointment in 15 minutes that is just five minutes from your office.
You tell yourself you have plenty of time to get to the appointment, so you’ll finish one more task. But before you know it, 15 minutes have come and gone and you’re 10 minutes late to your appointment!
How did you manage to arrive late to an appointment that is merely five minutes away?
The Closeness Factor
Being late to any appointment can be embarrassing, but it can be even more embarrassing when the appointment is in your immediate vicinity – around the corner, down the block or even next door. (Ouch!)
Why does this happen in the first place?
Closeness breeds comfort. When you are physically near an appointment or meeting location, you become more comfortable with the idea of traveling to your destination. You end up relaxing your guard so much that you have a skewed perception of time and end up running late.
While feeling comfortable with time is a good thing, feeling too comfortable can seriously impact your ability to manage time.
Here are a few tips to help you from arriving late to appointments that are embarrassingly close:
Tack on another 10 minutes for travel. Do you think it will take you five minutes to get to a nearby location? Practice adding on another 10 minutes to your estimate and you’ll have a healthy cushion of time at your disposal.
Do a walk through. Do you know how long it actually takes you to get from your office to the coffee shop down the street? You might think it takes just a few minutes, but how long does it really take? You might be surprised at what you find – for better or for worse!
Drop travel time into your calendar. Physically write in the travel time needed for your next appointment. You’ll know exactly when you need to leave for an appointment versus telling yourself you have plenty of time to get to your meeting location.
Schedule “Stop working” and “Out the door” times. Set two separate time alarms: the first is to stop all work and start getting ready for your appointment, the second is the time by which you must be out the door and on your way. Having a double-time check might just be what you need to make sure you stay on schedule.
Avoid working on time-sucking tasks before an appointment. What activities seem to drag you into their sphere and make you lose all sense of time? Try working on simple cut-and-dry tasks that let you pay more attention to time itself versus hunkering down and focusing on an intensive or thought-engaging work.
Don’t forget about other aspects of your appointment. While it might take just five minutes of travel time to get to your meeting location, you still have to prepare for the meeting. What other items do you have to prepare in advance of your meeting? Do you have all your meeting materials? Personal belongings? Do you need to shut down your computer or take a trip to the restroom before you leave?
Having a nearby meeting can be a convenience so that you don’t take valuable time out of your work day with travel. But if you don’t follow these tips, you might find the convenience factor of a nearby meeting overshadowed by the embarrassment of being late.
Question: What steps are you going to take to make sure you arrive on time to your next nearby appointment? You can leave a comment by clicking here.