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Slow Punctuality

Often when we think about being on time, we automatically envision "rushing." There is a vision of speeding down the highway, towards the bus, or through the airport to be "on time." Then on the flip side, there is this idea of slow-living meaning showing up when you want to show up. Leisurely being late without hurry or stress. In all honesty, anxiety seems synonymous with being on time or early. At least in Western culture, fighting to be on time is an excuse to lose your mind, manners, and kindness.

Punctuality is a Social Construct:

And I use western culture because time is a social construct and the idea of being "on time" varies broadly based on the culture. I am obsessed with this Business Insider article where it points out time acceptability based on country. I'm so obsessed, I found the infographic (thank you, Mr. Gamez) and copied it below. The first person that talked to me about time as a social construct was my brother. During business school, he took an internship in Trinidad. He went from Harvard in Boston, where to be late 10 minutes was unacceptable, to an island where to be on time meant within an hour. It was mind-boggling for him, and he needed to do the inner-work. Inner work meaning stepping outside of America's assumptions about people based on their punctuality. It's easy to see American culture as "right," but with globalization and inclusive thinking, there is a lot to contemplate. Kenny, my little bro, did an entire paradigm shift and internalized that lateness was not a sign of disrespect, chaos, or poor time management. That said, had his internship been in Japan, being one minute late would have been disrespectful and a sign that he was not committed to the job.


Being on your time:

In this article, we are merely discussing being on your time without hurrying. Because regardless of punctuality standards, in most cultures, consistently showing up frazzled, riddled with excuses with a trail of chaos following you, is a sign of turmoil.

Recently, I read The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies. It's an enjoyable book about the principles of raising a child with Montessori principles. It's no surprise to anyone that my favorite parts of the book centered on going slowly. I love the idea that by moving slowly, we can usher our children into being independent. That said, she (like Carl Honore, In Praise of Slow) confirmed when we move slowly most of the time - when it's time to put on turbo gears/rush/hurry, our children are far more able to push it. So no worries, your child (you) will know how to "move fast" when it's necessary.

I always like to use the example of the Cheetah. Most folks only know the Cheetah as the fastest runner on the planet. But guess what? Cheetahs chill most of the day, similar to housecats. According to the article, "Cheetahs Lie Around Like Housecats, Saving Energy for Big Kills" they reserve their energy, only using as much energy as an average human being, all day until they need to make a big kill. By storing energy, aka strolling and relaxing, they can hunt every two-three days (for a male, a mama cheetah kills daily).


That's it. HA! I could have started with this, but there would be no article, and didn't everyone want to know about cheetahs and the social construct of time?



So, yes, y'all, whether moving out the door by yourself, with a partner or some babies - designate MORE than enough time, prepare in advance, and have a designated place for everything!

More than enough time: And so what this looks like in realtime. It takes you 30 minutes to get up and out the door. If you have children, designate the extra time needed and allow for them to put on their shoes, coat in ease. According to Davies, this is a great time to observe your toddler's independence with a cup of tea (away from your child). So give yourself about 45 minutes. FLUFF TIME. That may mean saying "NO" to the additional project, "NO" to the meeting that will make this window smaller, and "NO" to anything extra. Just remember by saying, "NO," you are saying "YES" to leisure, independence, and less stress.

Prepare in advance: Now, if you don't have the leisure of creating your "getting ready" time blocks. Then prepare EVERYTHING (pick out clothes, pack lunch, prepare bags, make sure the car has gas, etc.) the night before. Make sure you can calmly get ready and leave the house with plenty of time without speeding.

Designated Areas: EVERYTHING SHOULD HAVE A PLACE. There is a season and a place for everything. Your keys should go to one spot. Your bag should go to the same place. You and/or your family should know where everything belongs. So, each night before bed make sure that everything is in its place. A quick night tidy and material check goes a long way.

Therefore, y'all, make sure that you use slow-living techniques to leisurely (with a water bottle in hand) stroll in on time.




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