Crucial Skills®

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Janet: Tools to be on time

Janet McEwen

Change Challenger Janet shares her change plan to be on time…once and for all.

Change Anything
I was on time for my birth, but it has been a struggle ever since. When I am on time, I feel calm and really good. When I am not – which is far too often – I feel stressed and can just feel my immune system drain.

I have been working in earnest to change this behavior for 15 years. However, with help from the Change Anything challenge, this could be the year I change my life.

Changing my behavior is especially important for my career. I have been with my new employer for two years. Where my former employer had a relaxed attitude about starting times for staff meetings, my new employer is much different. We start meetings on time. So far, I have been on time to group meetings but it has not been easy. My goal is to relax so I can contribute my best to the company. To do that, I really need to get my rushing problem under control.

Using the Change Anything model, here are the crucial moments I’ve identified:

  • When I’m going to sleep and want to read “just one more chapter”.
  • When I watch the Today Show and get into the shower late.
  • When I have 5 minutes before I need to leave to be on time and I decide to do just one more task.

The vital behaviors I’ve identified:

  • Turn off the lights at a specific time each night, depending on when I need to wake up.
  • Get breakfast out of the way before the Today Show.
  • Shower during the local news.
  • When I’m in my office, stop any activity or tasks 5 minutes before any meetings start.
  • When I’m at home or outside the office, stop any activity or tasks 10 minutes before I have to leave.

I am definitely making progress. One of my coaches suggested I focus on what is going well rather than solely on what is not going well. It was then I realized that although I continue to struggle with leaving my house at 8:05 am for work, I do arrive early for work meetings, restaurant meetings with friends, and church.

Last week, I realized I have no skin in the game. In other words, aside from feeling bad, I had no other consequences to not leave home at 8:05. I have now placed $250 in a specially designated savings account. I have decided that for each day I leave home later than 8:05, I will donate $5 to a charity I dislike. If I do not leave on time any day in a week, I will give an extra $10 for a potential total of $35/week. I have selected a pair of earrings I would like to buy that cost $208. That means I cannot afford to slip up too often or I will not be able to afford the earrings.

I’ve also added author David Maxfield and my sister Patty as my coaches. This has made a real difference as I no longer feel I’m writing a diary for myself, but that I’m blogging for my team.

I’ve gone through the stages the authors expected – excitement then discouragement. But by adding tools to my toolbox (skin in the game, a daily log, and coaches) I’m finding it’s easier. I also am finding that as I become comfortable with the tools, I’m getting ready to make a second commitment related to exercise. So, I’ll be adding that plan during the next couple of weeks.

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2 thoughts on “Janet: Tools to be on time”

  1. Janice


    I too struggle with the addicting nature of “one more thing” and the Today show in the morning! I’m often late to work as well but never really for important meetings. I love the skin in the game suggestions and also reading about your progress. It’s something that will motivate me as well. Keep up the good work.


  2. Chris Medvescek

    I’m a procrastinator so we’re sort of related. I appreciated your analysis and concrete actions. Go girl!

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