Family Focus
 
GIVE YOURSELF AN EXTRA TEN MINUTES      Dr. Richard Carlson

When you ask a typical person or family about what stresses them out the most, it’s rare that someone doesn’t include the fact that they are almost always running “a few minutes behind.” Whether you’re off to a soccer match, work, the airport, a neighborhood picnic, a typical day at school, or church, it seems that most of us almost always find a way to wait until the last possible minute to leave, thus running a little late. This tendency creates a great deal of unnecessary stress as we’re constantly thinking about who is waiting for us, how far we are behind schedule, and how often this occurs. Invariably, we end up clutching the steering wheel, tightening our neck, and worrying about the consequences of being late. Running late makes us feel stressed out and encourages us to sweat the small stuff!
 
This ever-so-common problem is easily solved by simply giving yourself an extra ten minutes to get yourself and your family to your appointments. Irrespective of where you’re headed, tell yourself that, no matter what, you’re going to be ten minutes early instead of waiting until the last possible moment to rush out the door. The key, of course, is to start getting ready a little earlier than usual and to be sure you’re all-the-way ready before you start doing something else. I can’t tell you how much this simple strategy has helped me in my own life. Rather than constantly scrambling to find my daughters’ shoes or my wallet at the last possible moment, I’m now usually ready with plenty of time to spare. Don’t kid yourself that these extra ten minutes aren’t significant–they are. The extra few minutes before and between activities can be the difference between a stressful day and a joyful day. In addition, you’ll discover that when you’re not running late you’ll be able to enjoy rather than rush through the different things you do each day. Even simple, ordinary events can be great fun when you’re not in such a hurry.