The best thing about best friends is that they are both honest and insightful. My best friend once observed about me - 'You know that you think everything is 20 minutes drive from where you are'. I immediately realised she was right. I leave 20 minutes for any local driving journey, regardless of the time it may take (even to the airport). I actually don't know the time for most trips I make, unless I Google Map it. The end result is that I am often running late, or cutting it very close (My other very bad time habit is trying to squeeze in 'one more job') before leaving, but more about that another day.
As part of my January time log of all that I do, I will be tracking travel time. How long does it take me to get to work, to sit in the chair and be ready to go? How long does it take me to get to church, the movies, or the shops? It will be interesting to see how far off the 20 minute mark I am, including accounting for traffic. Kimmee (my insightful friend) was once waiting for me to pick her up for an hour (or two) because the '20 minute' journey across town in peak hour, wasn't really 20 minutes.
How is my time tracking going? I drove to the office today from a house that I'm staying at (where I'm dog-sitting the beautiful Coco), and it took 30 minutes to get to the office - 10 minutes over the 20 minute window.
Not leaving enough time to get somewhere, or forgetting to account for the time of day and changes in traffic conditions, can lead to additional stress in your day. It also may lead to a cumulative stress where you are playing catch up to find the time lost. Stress is not good for your health and well-being. It is a risk factor for developing chronic disease in later life. Being stressed while driving also creates other hazards as you may find yourself trying to rush. So it is worth your time to look at ways to minimise the stress created by leaving late for a journey.
Leaving too late to get to meetings (or to pick people up from the airport) is a stress that I create,which means I am more easily able to moderate that stress. Making accurate estimates of travel time, and planning accordingly, will lead to a noticeable reduction in my stress burden. If I am unrushed in my travel time because I have planned well, the journey becomes an opportunity to mentally reset, and prepare for the next activity in a calm way.
Being able to leave one location at the right time, travel in a focused and peaceful state of mind, and then arrive safely at the next location, is an important part of having a smooth day. And if there is a crisis and you get stuck in traffic, you can be confident that you did all you could, so now you get to sit back, relax and enjoy the moment. Some times there are things that are just out of your control.
Photo by Herson Rodriguez on Unsplash