"I'm Always Late!"
Rachael says she's thick-skinned about a lot of things, but when it comes to having a reputation for running late with her staff, that's where she jokingly draws the line. But Rach is not alone -- whether it's picking up her kids at school, bringing her daughter Ella to physical therapy, or getting to a meeting with her employees, Joey never seems to make it anywhere on time. Her biggest regret is being late to her own father's wake, which is still hard for her to deal with. "Every day I feel the guilt and stress of being late, and people shouldn't feel like that," Joey says.
Rachael calls on time management expert Julie Morgenstern to stage a "late intervention" to help Joey face her problem once and for all -- and Joey is even late to that! Her friends, family and her kids' principal open up to her about how her lateness affects them all. After hearing their stories, Joey sits down with Julie in private to go over some startling numbers. "We did a calculation," Julie says, "and figured that Joey spent 30 percent of her time being late or worrying about it. That worked out to 34 hours a week!"
Julie puts Joey on a 30-day program to start reclaiming some of that lost time. The first recommendation Julie has is for Joey to plan her day using realistic time estimates. "You must get real with how long things take to do," she advises. "It is the number one gateway skill to good time management." Julie also instructs Joey to give herself a penalty every time she's late. "When there's another human being involved," she says, "you're going to give them a dollar for every minute you're late."
One cause of Joey's lateness is trying to cram too much into her daily routine. Julie says, "When you're packing too much into your schedule, think of the four Ds."
Delete things. Not everything needs to be done right away. In fact, some things really don’t need to be done at all. Reduce your ambition for the day or for the hour.
Delay. This isn't procrastination, but rather scheduling it for a more appropriate time. "Don't start scrubbing the grout tile right before your guests arrive."
Diminish. Take the shortcut by cutting some corners. The house doesn’t need to look perfect. Get your kids to school on time instead.
Delegate. Have someone else do it so you can arrive on time.
A week into the 30-day program with Julie, Joey tells Rach how it's been going so far. "It's great," she says. "I have not been late yet." Joey says she's even been early to events and appointments (one of Julie's other assignments), much to the surprise and delight of her family. "It's been wonderful," says her husband Tim. "Last week was the first time we had dinner early. Then we had time to spend with the kids, play some board games, put them to bed and then we had some alone time."
Julie offers her parting advice: "I think the key is there's always a good reason behind every bad behavior. You have to find the reason and then fix the problem."
Special thanks to the Devalan Lake Resort.
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