The Magic Of Punctuality
I watched John Green’s video on punctuality and I was reminded that I find people who are perfectly on time for everything FASCINATING.
You see, I’m chronically, perpetually early. So much so that I’m always anticipating some sort of loitering citation because I don’t like to show up at someone’s house early (that’s just rude) so I tend to find a house somewhere nearby that I’ll park in front of and read to kill time until I’m on time. Or if I’m meeting someone at a restaurant I’ll sit in the parking lot nearby for awhile until I go in. I know actually showing up early is rude, so I kill time nearby until I’m “on time” for whatever I’m there for.
So someone who is actually on time is fascinating to me, how do you arrive places consistently on time?
Let me explain why I’m perpetually early, and then you’ll understand my confusion.
I consider every step of the process of getting somewhere, I over approximate how much time it takes to complete that step so that I can allow for problems that might arise during that step, and so if nothing goes wrong I end up with extra time when I arrive to my destination.
For example: I met some friends for dinner a few weeks ago on the other side of town. Google maps told me it would take me 25 minutes to get there but it was rush hour and you have to allow for sudden traffic changes so I gave myself 40 minutes just in case I had to re-route. The restaurant was in an area notoriously bad for parking so I allowed myself an extra 10 minutes to find a parking space and then an extra 10 minutes to walk to the restaurant from what was surely going to be a far away parking spot. So, I gave myself an hour to arrive someplace Google maps told me was 25 minutes away. It ended up taking me 30 minutes to get there, no time to park and the spot was close so it would take no time to walk so I was there 20 minutes early.
But I could have struggled with parking, traffic, and had a long walk so I’m glad I allowed myself that buffer. If I had not, I would have been 5 minutes late.
My point is, I understand how people are chronically late: Typically they are not good at the buffering for problems, and they rarely factor the in-between steps like finding parking or stopping for gas. I understand people who are chronically early because we buffer everything for worse-case scenario and we consider all in-between steps when factoring how long something will take. HOW DO THE CHRONICALLY PUNCTUAL PEOPLE DO IT? If they don’t buffer, they should be regularly late because we all know things come up – ESPECIALLY WITH KIDS. If they DO buffer, how are they not regularly early?
Are you chronically on time? Are you just REALLY good at figuring out exactly how much time you need and do you just RARELY run into complications? I must know your secrets because I chronically punctual people magical!