Growing up, my family lived about 15 minutes outside of the town where I attended school. Most of my friends lived in town, and so the kids living out in the country were often left to find a way into town to hang out.
This was a real problem before getting my license.
Because for my parents, that meant they were signing up for 30 minutes of driving and staying up later than they’d like. And even after I got my license, I still had a pretty early curfew relative to other kids my age.
I think this is where I truly learned time management.
To make sure that I got the most out of my trips into town, I got very good at managing and estimating time. I knew exactly how long it would take me to get ready and drive to any point in town.
Even now, I know exactly how long I can snooze my alarm and still get myself together and meet someone for morning coffee. And I also know, pretty far in advance, if I’m running late.
The moment that I know that I’m running late, I fire off a quick message.
“Running a few minutes behind; see you soon!”
I’m obsessive about this – even if it’s only a few minutes.
It’s important to set and manage expectations. Having worked in the service industry, customer service, and product management, I understand how we react to circumstances that do not live up to our expectations. (Hint: negatively).
When you don’t show up on time, I’m left to wonder if you’re showing up at all. And if you’re five minutes late, who’s to say you won’t be 10 minutes late? 30 minutes late? When is it ok for me to assume you’ve completely forgotten?
There are all kinds of idioms for this including “underpromise, overdeliver” and the Golden Rule. But managing expectations shows respect for someone else’s time.
And if you don’t show respect for their time, they may not offer it again.