extreme punctuality

I have a (bad?) habit for cutting it close with how I manage my schedule. I love the feeling of going from one thing to another, with no margin, no extra minutes wasted waiting. I prefer not to arrive early or late, but right on the dot, and roll from one thing to the next.

For instance, yesterday was a tightly-packed day for me. I took the Xterra in for an oil change, walked over to 2 Starbucks nearby, and both of them had no room for me to sit down to work, so I walked over to a 3rd place, Original Pancake House, and worked from there for the morning via their password-protected free WiFi. Walked back to get my Xterra, used my lunch break to vacuum and wash the Xterra for its birthday (wifey wanted that). Then over to the nearby Barnes & Noble to pick up gift cards. Then next door to the adjacent Starbucks, which now had a seat for me. Worked right up to my 2:40pm daily reminder to pick up my son from school, and had to do a fast remap in my head to figure out how to get from point A to point B (I-495 Beltway & Georgia). Cut across on Randolph + Right on Veirs Mills + Right on Georgia + Loop around the Staples parking lot + pulled up at the school pick-up just in time + Jeremiah hopped-in. Then back home to work a few more hours. Whew!

This kind of a pace might drive some people crazy. From what I’ve read in Margins and LMS, having no margin in my daily life is not particularly healthy, risks being tardy, and is being over-committed and overloaded. Good pace for me personally, but this has a little impact on some dear people around me, so for times when I’m with them, I have to slow it down, build in time and space to breathe and dawdle.

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6 Responses

  1. David Park says:

    I do this! I shoot for right on time, and sometimes I run a little late, but waiting around seems wasteful to me. But I build margins for people, not tasks. I often find myself collapsing from latent exhaustion, but I like it that way. I was the kind of student who liked finals and found the regular classes a bit mundane and boring. I find this whole 9-5 work life terribly constraining sometimes. I’d prefer if there was enough trust to say, this is my work, and it’s something I do naturally. Even if that means whatever strange methodology I have for this type of “extreme punctuality” — great word for it, or perhaps to borrow production terms, JIT – Just in Time.

  2. Reyes-Chow says:

    I am SURE there must be something Asian/Male related in all of this . . . not sure I WANT in unpack it, as I too LIKE the pace. For me the pace and efficiency allows me to better deal with the interruptions of ministry. I am rarely bothered by last minute things because I hope to have most of the other known “ducks” already lined up.

    I always go back to my favorite quote when folks push too hard to slow down and take it easy.

  3. djchuang says:

    Bruce, I don’t know why you have to racialize everything! 🙂 While you and I and David might enjoy extreme punctuality, I don’t know that many other Asian males who enjoy this kind of pace — and I’m constantly on the lookout for Asian Americans in that networking habit of mine.

    The racialized stereotype on time and punctuality is that most non-white cultures aren’t all that into punctuality and seem to prefer going with the flow, be it “CPT” or “Chinese time” or “Korean time”, and would get started when most people get to an event rather than what it says on the clock.

    Nope, the LMS website isn’t too flashy, but a redesign is in the works. As for LMS, people do find it helpful to have a Christian small group study that motivates them to discover God’s plan for their daily lives. There’s even a web-based version called the Internet Life Management Study (ILMS) so you can learn and experience freedom from anxiety, overcommitment, procrastination and chronic tardiness. I’ve taken the course several years ago, and am leading a small group now at my church — so I have to be a role model and example. 🙂

  4. L.L. Barkat says:

    I think it’s an urban thing. Life is like that here in NY… to find a margin is to be counter-cultural. Though we urbanites like our non-marginal living, I often reflect that it’s in the margin we can hear the Quiet of God. (not that we can’t hear him at all in the thunder either 🙂

  5. Reyes-Chow says:

    Interesting . . . in my Chinese/Filipino existence, I have always found my “Filipino Time” to be much more Kairos/Layed Back and my “Chinese Time” to be much more chronos/rigid. Maybe we’re just weird 😉

    I do think the urban thing has ALOT to do with it as well. My recent spiritual Direction conversations have been around hearing and claiming that I am hearing God in the midst of the energy of the City.