Lost time is a very real phenomena that wreaks havoc in the lives of so many people around the world. Not only are people victims, but some never figure it out.
There’s no such thing as being too early
– I just made this up..
Calculating time is a theoretical concept. Lets take going to work for example. You get a new job and you want to figure out what time to wake up in the morning in order to get there on time. You pull up google maps and do a quick search.
The train ride is estimated at 40 minutes. Great, so if you need to be there at 9AM, all you have to do is wake up at 7:30, shower, eat, get dressed and be out of the house by 8am.
The problem is that this almost never plays out as planned. You may get up and someone is in the bathroom in the morning or your breakfast is overly time consuming. Looking at your phone, turning on the computer, checking facebook while the food is cooking, etc.
These are all tiny examples of lost time that are too real. Sitting there and trying to micromanage and manipulate the instances of lost time is not an effective solution.
Ignorance of Lost Time can Cost You
A few years ago, I was given a job to deliver a brand new car Upstate New York. Living in the city, the trip was estimated at around six hours on google maps. We picked up the car at around 11AM, but didn’t hit the road until maybe 2PM. We had to install the license plate, fill the car up with gas, wait for the EZ-Passes that another driver had, etc.
After we hit the road, we decided to get something for lunch in order to avoid stopping later while we’re completely starved. We looked on the google map, which took a few minutes and found a place we liked fifteen minutes off course. We sat down, ate, used the bathroom and took some filled out cups to go. The 15 min off course, the 15 min to get back on course and 30 min to order, sit, eat and clean up took about another 25-30 min. In total, that was about an hour.
Almost half way through the trip, we needed gas, so that was another pit stop. Pulling in, waiting for the attendant, getting the money out, counting and putting it away. Getting gas and using the bathroom took another 15-20 minutes. We hit the road once again, only to be met with rush hour traffic as we approached a bigger city on the thruway.
A few hours later, about an hour from our destination, we began to get hungry again. The same procedure took place. Look on the phone for something we want to eat, 10-15 min off course, 30 min to eat and freshen up, 10-15 min to get back on course.
We got to our destination at around 11pm.
By the time we were done with all our paperwork, it was a little past midnight. We went to a local Starbucks to get some coffee for the road, but they were all closed. After a bit of searching, we found a Dunkin Donuts and settled.
We hit the road and began heading back home. How this was getting difficult as we both felt drained. We were now in the same car since one car was delivered and I’m in the chase, riding back. Since we were both driving there however, we were both tired. We stopped about two hours in to take a nap. That lasted for about an hour and a half. We then continued for another two hours until I just couldn’t keep my eyes open.
We stopped for gas, but I also pulled in for another 20 min nap that turned into an hour. Another two hours later and my pickup began showing signs of drowsy driving. It was getting difficult. We were hungry, so we found a 24 hour McDonalds and went for it. After we ate, we napped for another hour.
By the time everything was done with and we returned to the dealership, it was 12pm. The manager called us into his office and was furious the trip took as long as it did. He pointed out to us that the trip was only 5 1/2 hours long, 6 the most on google map. He want on to say that we have a 30 min lunch and a few gas stops. He calculated the entire trip should have taken about 15 to 16 hours tops.
That was just impossible to make in that time considering all the micro time-wasting situations. Even adding up the time it took us to pull over and use our phones to find something food probably took an hour or even more if you add up the total for the trip.
Unfortunately, he didn’t account for lost time and me and the other driver took a blow because of HIS ignorance to lost time.
Lose Some Time, but Gain Some in Return
The best solution is to use a rule of thumb that has been working for me consistently. Double your theoretical time and prepare for extra time.
For example: If you want to get up an hour and a half before you have to be at work, try waking up three hours before you have to be there and see the differences. If you get there early, so be it, Prepare for it.
There’s nothing wrong with waiting in a coffee shop with a good book or taking selfies in the bathroom at dunkin donuts. Even extra time finding parking is worth it.
By preparing a productive or entertaining activity just in case of an early arrival, there isn’t that annoying feeling of being ripped off by getting work or an appointment too early. This way you are always consistently early everywhere and you will never be in a rush or stressed.
Lost time is real. Accept the principle and work around it, don’t be a victim!