“If age teaches you anything, then one of its lessons is certainly not to hurry if you’re already late….”
– Sergei Lukyanenko
As I’ve mentioned before, minimalism isn’t only about managing our stuff. As minimalists, we also need to manage our time. Using time cushions allows us to live more calmly, greatly reducing the amount of stress in getting from one place to another and from one obligation to the next.
Note, I say “greatly reducing.” A few months ago I allotted 40 minutes for what’s normally a 20-minute drive. It took 90 minutes. Realistically, this is something we can’t plan for, and I’m sure you’ve been in similar situations. But under most circumstances, adding time cushions into your schedule will prevent anxiety, rushing around and tardiness.
“There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.”
– Henry A. Kissinger
- Always allow extra time for travel to appointments, in case of bad traffic, inability to find a parking spot, etc. If you arrive early, take a short walk or stop for a cup of coffee.
- Don’t put things off to the last minute. What if your Internet goes down or the electricity goes out?
- Expect appointments to run longer than you think. It’s easy to get into the trap of assuming your dental appointment, for example, takes only an hour, but what if they’re 30 minutes late getting you in? Or you need additional x-rays?
- Calendar yourself to complete a project well before it’s due. Depending on the project, this may be the day before, or a week before.
- Think about everything involved in the task. For instance, I have a tendency to think if the appointment is 10:30, and I’m allotting 30 minutes for travel, I should leave at 10:00. But this means actually driving away at 10:00, not gathering up items to go with me and putting on my shoes at 10:00.
- Practice timing how long regular tasks actually take. This will help you make more accurate estimates in the future.