While having lunch with a friend last week, he asked, “what’s the time?”
“Oh, it’s 3 o’clock already!” He yelled seconds after picking my phone from the dining table.
“No, it’s 2.50pm. My time is 10 minutes faster” I quickly corrected.
“I don’t want to be late.”
He stifled a laugh and placed the phone back to its position.
“How does that work? You’re such a funny character.”
In fact, I use to be…
The girl who never shows up on time. I enjoy too much sleep even though I hardly stay up very late; never imagined joining the league of extraordinary insomniacs either. But waking up from bed was always a struggle. Moving into the final gear and having the last stretch can be tempting. I’d rather bargain with the alarm clock for extra minutes- the same moment I just snooze it shut. Most times, I bargained more than I ever needed- 20 minutes or more can be dreadful!
If you can relate, you know it’s not easy waking up 20 minutes before an appointment- especially when you’re fully aware of the adrenaline rush that comes with a tortoise-paced traffic, coupled with a never ending ‘trotro’ drama. That, can make you go insane!
The thought of cooking up intangible excuses almost becomes inevitable because as always, it should sound more convincing than the last one- no excuse should be overused. It automatically becomes a cliche and lame.
To avoid all this drama and constant sense of guilt, I thought of finding a way of beating time. Taking few steps into the future and setting my own time rules- five of them.
RULE 1: Create your own time and stick to it
There’s nothing as awkward as getting to that interview 10 minutes late and having the door shut in your face. If you’re used to the GMT (Ghana Man Time) that should probably be a pardonable offense but hey, there are people who mean business and so should you.
You can set an alarm alright but hitting the snooze button for that five minutes in dreamland can cost you 30 minutes or more. So here’s the trick. Fast-forward your clock. For instance, if the world moves at 5:00 am, you move at 5:10 am. So before you set your alarm, your clock should be 10 minutes faster or more.
This might look a bit unrealistic initially but it affords you extra 10 minutes for stretching and wriggling your legs before finally waking up. Instead of waking up at 5:00 am by your alarm, you wake up at 4:50 am with the world.
RULE 2: Respect your time
The first few days of this routine may seem awkward but you need a lot more discipline. Respect the minutes you have set for yourself and do as you are supposed to. Forget the fact that you are 10 minutes short of your sleep realistically and accept that it’s 5:00 am and you really need to get out of bed. Time is no friend to those who wish to enjoy the pleasures of the eyes.
To be able to respect your time, make sure you have a working tool. Some of us do not use alarm clocks at all. If you’re fond of using your smartphones for all your alerts, it certainly will come in handy. If you’re finding difficulties in re-setting your time, just turn off the ‘Automatic Date and Time’ in the settings. This will give you the liberty to set your own time irrespective of the automated internet time which generally sets the time based on your time zone.
RULE 3: Don’t Count the minutes
Taking advantage of this rule can be bad for the routine. Make it a point never to take your time for granted. Once you are conscious of the real timing, it can be quite tempting to snooze and count the minutes. After all, it’s not 5:00 am yet, I have 10 more minutes to sleep. That would be cheating! Once you constantly break this rule, it would be difficult to move on to the next step and there will be no result.
Another way to get out of this is to get a second person set your clock for you without disclosing the minutes to you. Once you have the discipline not to cheat, you should be fine. Otherwise, I suggest you set your time in odd numbers. That way, it becomes a bit difficult to calculate perhaps 17 minutes out of 5:04 am. Instead of bringing your calculus skills to bear, you’d be better off giving up and getting out of bed.
RULE 4: Be quick as possible
Do not be complacent about time. Never think waking up early affords you more time to lazy about in your pajamas. Leave your phone, take your shower, get dressed and get yourself to the bus stop if you’re not driving. Once you’re comfortably seated, then you can tell Facebook what’s on your mind. If you have ever missed the last bus by 2 minutes, then you’d know a few seconds can make a lot of difference.
If you’re eager to know whether you are beating the clock or not, the radio bus would probably be of help. Otherwise, feel free to do your own counting once you’re relaxed and being chauffeured.
RULE 5: Feel free to adjust your time
I know the goal is not to show up late to work always and attracting the ‘oh-no-not-again’ look from your bosses and colleagues. A lot of factors may come into play. Once I have to deal with a barrage of traffic lights on my stretch of road, waking up early is non-negotiable. So what do I do?
Instead of 10 minutes, repeat Rule 1 and fast-forward your time by 20 minutes. Taking 20 steps into the future should afford you enough time to snuggle in bed after the alarm sounds and be able to beat the annoying traffic too. This way, you get to wake up 20 minutes ahead of the real clock. But while at it, repeat all the other subsequent rules and make sure you stick to them.
This is probably the only way you can hand over the baton of lateness and wear your smile whenever you walk through that office door, showing up earlier than you ever have. With time, you should get used to living in your own era knowing that time is indeed your future.
Trust me, it works! You can stop by in a week or two to let us know if these tips were helpful.
If you know any other ways of beating the clock, do share in the comment box.