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Chapter 9. Getting Your Act Together > Organizational Rules to Keep from Coming... - Pg. 90

Getting Your Act Together 90 The moral of this story:I should've varied my routine. Just as many people balk at the idea of a routine, thinking it seems too dull and rigid, some people get too dependent on a routine. I'm one of those. The doctor's appointment happened to be scheduled for the day of the week that is my busiest day. It's the day I try to do some household and personal chores along with work. It was a mistake to schedule the medical appointment in the middle of that day. I should have realized that my household wouldn't crumble if I did the grocery shopping another day and that I could've skipped a day at the gym without any serious health consequences. (It wasn't an option to do those things after the doctor's ap-pointment because I had to host my weekly online chat session later that afternoon and then pick up my child at the babysitter's and take her to a toddlers' gymnastics class that evening.) Deviating from my routine would have made the day much less hectic and allowed more time to prepare for the appointment, have a decent lunch, and stay relaxed. Expect the Unexpected on the Way to Appointments If you tell my grandmother you'll pick her up at noon to go out to lunch, I guarantee you'll find her sitting in the lobby of her building no later than 11:10 A.M. , with matching shoes and handbag, all ready to go. My mother and I always have a laugh over this, but there's a serious lesson to be learned from her timing. Not everyone has the luxury of being ready nearly an hour early for appointments, but most of us do have enough control over our schedules to allow at least a little extra time cushion. Giving myself only 20 minutes to dress and drive to a doctor's appointment a mile away was not exactly a wise move, but it wasn't totally unrealistic. If no snags had come up during that 20 minutes, I could've made it. But snags did get in the way. Not only did I have the problems already mentioned, I also realized I had only a few dollars on hand, not enough cash to cover the co-payment I would probably owe (and, of course, I didn't know what that amount would be because I hadn't reviewed my health coverage earlier). Action Tactic Always tell yourself that an appointment or event is half an hour before it is. Even though you'll know the real time, if you keep that real time pushed far enough to the back of your mind, you'll forget about it and will start to think that the fake, earlier time is the actual one. Plus, I realized that parking spaces were just about impossible to find in the area of the doctor's office, so I would need to walk. I'm a fast walker who could probably have gotten there on foot in less time than it would have taken to drive there and park, but there was one problem: The tem- perature was 90 degrees with about 100 percent humidity. I didn't want to show up at the doctor's office all sweaty, but leaving at 1:30 for a 1:30 appointment, I didn't have much choice but to race- walk. The moral of this story:Unforeseen delays just about always come up, so the key to getting places on time is to start preparing much earlier than you think you need to. I could've organized my health insurance information days before the appointment. I could have written the doctor's address and phone number in my appointment book on the daily action page for that day. I could have rearranged my schedule to allow more time to get dressed and walk at a leisurely pace to the appointment. Even if delays don't come up, and you end up being ready a little early, what's the harm in that? Maybe you'll sit around all dressed up with no place to go or will arrive somewhere and have to wait a few minutes. But isn't that better than fighting a battle with time?