Chronically Late or Feeling In A Hurry?

May 29, 2013 | Gabriel Colella

Have you ever found yourself chronically being late or feeling in a hurry?  I used to be chronically late to a teaching position I had when I lived in Buffalo, NY.  I would almost never be really late, but I was more times than not, 1-5 minutes late for the start of class.  Almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning I would find myself rushing out the door and in a hurry while driving, hurrying to try to find a parking spot and then rushing off to class, to arrive… late.  I found this same pattern happening again after having a child.  I would stay and play to the last possible minute and rush off, or I would not give myself enough time for both of us to get what we needed and get out the door to arrive where I needed to go on time.  There is a lot to be said for being on time, and some practical solutions that can help you to put being on time into practice to create a more stress free existence.

images-2Singularly, the greatest tool we have is our emotions. They are a reflection of mind in the body and consequently give us the greatest amount of information about where our thoughts and our attention are being directed.  One of the first things I do when I notice that this pattern of being late or feeling hurried arises, is to look at how it is helping me to feel.  Is it helping me to feel hurried or in a rush?  Short and snappy with others, especially the ones I love?  Feeling a sense of hurry can reveal to us that we are afraid.  Where there is hurry, there is fear.  Ask yourself what it is that you are afraid of?

What kinds of fears reside in the act of being late?  There are many fears that come up when people are afraid of being late.  Some people I have worked with have a fear of showing up and receiving love.  Some people are afraid of getting fired and all of the implications of that, or they are afraid of someone else getting angry, or not being accepted, ending up alone.  The list of varying fears that this creates is many.  The key is to see what it is doing for you and how you can change it with an action, or through your perception of the situation.

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Let’s start with some simple actions you can take that can help you to arrive on time more often.  Here is a short list of ideas that may assist you:

1)    Wake up 15 minutes earlier in the morning

2)    What tasks can be done the night before that could assist you in saving time the next day?  Can you make/put together part or all of your child’s lunch the night before?  Can you do that for your lunch?  Can you brush and braid their hair so you don’t have to do that in the morning?  Can you organize all of your work and/or workout materials so they are ready to go?  Can you pick out your clothes and/or your child’s clothes?

3)    KNOW when you realistically have to leave to get to where you are going, on time.  This would include giving yourself some extra time in case you encounter much of the inevitable: road construction, school buses, heavy traffic, etc.

4)    Making a “To Do” list can also be helpful in arriving places on time.  When we are not clear on what we are doing with our time or with our purpose throughout the day, we can waste a lot of time in low priority activities.  What might one of these “low priority activities” be?  Well, how many times have you gone to the store to get something for dinner and ended up spending much longer and getting much more than what you needed or intended on buying?  Other examples might be using social media sites or watching TV longer than intended.  These things can be distracting to our purpose, but when we are clear on what we would like to accomplish with our time and energy throughout the day, we are able to make sure we stay energized by fulfilling our higher priority activities, which leads to living an energized and inspired life.

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5)    Above, are all actions, so what exactly can one do to perceive the situation differently?  Sometimes all it can take is a moment of self-reflection/awareness to recognize the fact that you are not going to be on time and that there is nothing you can do about it at this point. Instead, take a deep breath and let go of the idea of being on time or what it means that you are late.  This can also create some space to think about how things could go differently next time and how you want things to go differently next time.

6)    Another question to ask that may shift your perception of the event or how you relate to it is: What is this doing for me, or how is this feeling serving me?  Often, people don’t see feeling guilty or angry as serving them, but if we remember that anger just shows us where we want to feel empowered in our lives, it can lead us to having thoughts or creating actions that bring us to that end.  Guilt, is a form of self blame, and when we grow tired of being the victim in our own lives through guilt, blame and shame, we can see that being on time can serve to eliminate these self destructive and defeating behaviors and thoughts.

Lastly, being on time is about loving ourselves.  When we are late, there are often feelings of anger, blame, resentment, guilt, shame and other fear based thoughts.  This is a way that we beat our selves up and feed our inner critics.  It is also a way that we blame others and take our anger out on them.  So, it is not your kids or that stupid driver ahead of you that is making you late.  Simply put, IT IS YOU.  You are the one responsible for your time and what you do with it and you are the only one that can change the habit of being late and the feelings you have with it.  No one I know really wants to start their day out with fear, but many I know do.  Giving yourself the gift of time and having a purpose in how you will use it, is truly a great act of self-love.  If you think of how many times you have seen someone get grumpy, reactive, harsh and sharp when they are in a hurry, why would you want to do that to yourself on a regular basis?  Our time is our greatest asset and you can use it as a tool to cultivate space, peace and love, or when undirected or without purpose, it can feed our fears, create anxiety, and anger.

The choice is up to you.  Try some of these simple solutions and see how the experience of your day changes.  The more you are able to be on time the more you will see how life can feel so much more “in the flow”. Many people experience less anger and frustration and more joy and balance emotionally and mentally.

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