Monday, February 16, 2015

Five More Minutes and One-More-Thing-Itis
One of my goals when I retired was to kick the tardiness habit. It's been three years, and I'm sorry to report that I've made little progress.

In my defense, I'm not really retired in the traditional sense. I'm more of a second career girl -- or perhaps just an extension of the first career since my day job (for which I am invariably on time) is still in the same field as the one I retired from.

But plenty of people manage to work full-time and still be on time. My own parents are role models for this -- Dad is always precisely on time and Mom is always early. In fact, it was my dad who told me that being late shows a lack of respect for other people's time.

So I continue to work at this bad habit. And in my quest for punctuality, I've identified two of tardiness' s accomplices: five more minutes, and one-more-thing-itis.

"Five more minutes" is a master of disguise, traveling under the aliases of "oh, I've still got time" and its favorite cloak, the snooze button. "Five more minutes" promises that I can keep at a task (or a nap) for five more minutes and still attain my punctuality goal. Five more minutes lies. Regularly.

"One-more-thing-itis" is also a sneaky little devil. It lures me into a sense of productivity, leading me to believe I can accomplish one more thing before I leave the house, switch gears or make that phone call, thus creating a sense of completion or accomplishment before I move on to the next thing. Nope. "One-more-thing-itis" is also a dishonest little bugger.
What's worse is I think I'm in charge. I set my sights on only the "one more thing" temptations that are quick...most of the time anyway. I set my clocks ahead to overcome "five more minutes" and use those five minutes to plan -- my clothes, my day, the task at hand -- so that I think I'm making reasonable use of those extra minutes.

And sometimes I am. I wrote most of this blog in thirty minutes' worth of "five more minutes" blocks as I struggled to get out of bed at the time I'd told myself I would.

As it turns out, flexibility can be a double-edged sword. Had this been a regular Monday, I'd have climbed out of bed with the alarm (plus my usual two hits of the snooze button), come downstairs "on time" and begun my Monday morning routine. Today I could sleep in ... and so sleep in I did.

And while that's not entirely a bad thing, it leaves me with a feeling of being behind...which is a perfectly fertilized field for "five more minutes" and "one more thing-itis" to plant roots in, taunting me with promises of "catching up" as they suck all the joy out of sleeping in.
But like any weeds, "five more minutes" and "one more thing-itis" are living on borrowed time. I have the power to yank them out -- and I often have. I simply need to see them for what they are, and understand that, like their cousins dandelion and wildflower, they will grow back, looking kinda cute and enticing. And while I can choose to let them live, if I do so, I need to be prepared to turn my back on them, leaving them to wave in the breeze while I go about my business.

On time.

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