Integrity: The importance of being on time

Being on time is more than just getting to some designated place at some designated time. It’s about having integrity. And, its essential for living a fulfilling life.

My life without integrity

My friend, Mohammed, just made a post on him being 34 minutes late. This made me think about my own relationship to time. Keeping to any sort of schedule has been an issue since I quit my regular job in Silicon Valley, left the U.S. to travel the world, and started developing my own software.

This may not seem like a problem since I have no clocks to punch, no place I need to be, and no meetings to catch. Yet, somehow I find myself feeling like I have less and less time throughout the day. Not only that, but I find that I get less and less done in a given day. It requires energy for me just to carve out time to get “real work” done. Then, after I’ve finally gotten something done, I feel tired, frustrated and annoyed with everything.

How is it possible that I technically have more free time in my days now, yet feel like I have less time and get less done?

Unfortunately, with so many changes going on over the last several months, it took until now for me to realize where this stress has been coming from.

Schedules aren’t all bad

Without a schedule, I have nothing to be on time for. This means minutes of my day slip through the cracks. Useless, unsatisfying moments fill up the gaps that I haven’t clearly defined. A few minutes here, a few minutes there. Before I know it, I have a day with hours of less quality time and more unsatisfying “wasted” time.

Without a schedule, people assume I can spare an ear at any time of the day. If I’m trying to get something done or get into the zone, this breaks my focus. It’s like being poked randomly throughout the day. A few pokes here and there don’t do anything, but over and over and when it interrupts something important, I start to feel annoyed.

Without a schedule, the better part of day can go by like this without me getting anything substantial done. Sometimes I can see it unfolding as people around me make plans that include me or innocently interrupt me with conversation, but I can’t seem to do anything about it without using a great deal of energy. This leaves me feeling frustrated with my (lack of progress), especially when I know that said progress is essential for me to make a living.

An idea is only as good as its realization

It seems clear and obvious that I should establish some sort of work-living schedule, that I should designate certain days and times to be strictly for work and others strictly for rest/relaxation/recreation. But, it’s going to take more than just making some arbitrary decisions. After all, an idea is only as good as its realization.

Writing this is my first step towards implementing schedule in my daily life. This is my realization that it needs to be done and my declaration that it will be done.

Over the next few days, I will experiment with various schedules and report back on what works for me. If you have anything that has worked for you, please leave me a comment and let me know!

Comments 2

  • This article is very well done, and it is also a big problem for me. No schedule == No big target achieved.

  • It’s good that you recognize the source of your frustration – I should make a schedule for myself as well. I remember when I budgeted my money (with the help of an app) I was able to spend much more wisely and knew what I had to work with at all times – doing the same thing for time is just as important, as you mention. Of course, there’s always Adderall…