Any responsible driver needs to plan for traffic. Especially when living in a big city. I mean, just in the United States alone, congestion on the road had a price tag last year of $305 billion! That’s a whopping jump from 2016 where it was $10 billion. This number stems from lost productivity (employees “parked” on the highway), wasted fuel, and more. But what, more than anything, is traffic doing to us? Causing unnecessary stress!
In many studies, traffic is actually the #1 excuse for running late!
Recently I took a sampling from my audience across social media re: lateness. Here are but a few of the responses:
- “The reason I’m late is because I’m overly optimistic about how long it will take me to drive to wherever I’m going.”
- “The time that I do account for is the amount of (driving) time that it would take on the best day when I would have the best time (commute).”
- “I think it’s because I always assume that it will take me less time to get to where I’m going.”
Do you see a commonality?
Drive time is an area where almost all latecomers are notoriously optimistic. If once in their entire life they were able to make a certain trip in 15 minutes – even if every time after that for a freakin’ decade it took 25 minutes – they will hold onto that awesome one-time-only personal best.
Planning for traffic is paramount. Here’s how..
Grab a pen and a piece of paper or your SmartLife PUSH Journal and list everything that you regularly have to drive to:
- Kids’ school
- Dentist appointment
- Grocery store
So, in your head, estimate how long it takes to get to each destination. Now, next to every location, write down the number which represents the longest it has ever taken you to drive there. We’re talking beast traffic mode, okay? And then, the final blow: add 10 minutes! You must use THAT new number when you factor in drive time from now on. Got it? If traffic is your excuse for running late, well… never again.
Personal anecdote: I often have to drive to LA for meetings. And I have to tell you, driving to LA can either take 45 minutes, an hour and 15, or two hours and 15 minutes. (It’s no wonder LA ranks as the worst city in the U.S. as far as peak hours spent in traffic) Because of that, I can never plan on my drive to Los Angeles taking 45 minutes or even an hour. At a minimum, I have to plan on it taking at least an hour and 45 minutes. But if I know I’ll be driving during peak traffic time, then I allow 2 and a half hours – ensuring I arrive on time.
Here’s the deal with latecomers…
They often fear showing up too early. Because, uh oh, what will they do with themselves? There’s this feeling of not being efficient. That more things should’ve been done at home.
But, truth alert: This isn’t true in the age of smartphones. You and I both know everything you need to do, can do, should do, and/or want to do can probably be done from your phone.
Not bff’s with your phone? Bring a book or make sure you have your SmartLife PUSh Journal with you. That’s a trick I’ve been doing lately!
Every time I arrive someplace early and I have a few minutes to wait – which can certainly fill me with a little bit of anxiety – I now pull out my SmartLife PUSH Journal. There’s always stuff to review in there. Like, notes I may have missed or maybe a page where I didn’t log in my exercise for that day. So, I go back through it and write updates. It keeps my mind focused.
I’d love you to check out my podcast – How to Stop Being Late Or Get Someone Else To Be On Time – because this blog just touched on one excuse people give: traffic. You’ll hear so many goodies, like:
- A strategy for reverse engineering appointments, so that you’re never late.
- How to deal with the people you care about that hurt you by being late when they know it’s important to you.
- How mantras can help you stay on task.
- How to decrease the likelihood that someone will be late due to social media use.
- How to eliminate the need to estimate time.
- And SO MUCH MORE!
And let me know in the comments if traffic (what’s your city?) is your main reason for being chronically late. If so, you’re not alone and I hope you found today’s blog of major use!