How to Arrive on Time When You’re Killing Time

posted in: Time Management 0

Image of two people overlooking a wall, photography by R. Isip Somehow, thanks to a lighter than usual schedule and incredible traffic or commuting circumstances, you’ve arrived to an appointment a whopping 90 minutes early.

You don’t just want to sit around and wait for your appointment; you want to get some fresh air, stretch your legs and maybe go out for a cup of coffee or tea.

Yet the last time you went out, you lost track of time and ended up being late for your appointment…

In this post I offer a few tips to help you pass the time and arrive to your destination on time!

Manage your “killing time” schedule.

Before you start off on your outdoors adventures, take a moment to set up your “killing time” schedule. Use the following guide to help you:

On-site time – Count back 15 minutes from your appointment time. This is the time at which you must be back at your appointment location. This time also conveniently takes into account any paperwork, sign-in or restroom trips you might need to make before your meeting.

Travel time – Count back another 15 minutes from your on-site time. This is the time at which your “killing time” session ends and you need to start heading back to your appointment location. This takes into account travel, traffic, parking and other en route considerations.

The time you have left is the time it takes you to get to your destination and enjoy some time there.

For example, if you arrive at 1:30pm for a 3:00pm appointment….

  • 2:45pm is the time at which you need to physically be back at your appointment location (on-site time)
  • 2:30pm is the time you need to leave your “killing time” destination and travel (travel time)
  • …which leaves roughly about an hour for you to travel and enjoy your free time.

You can swap out the 15 minutes for any other amount of time for the on-site or travel times, just make sure you give yourself a buffer of time in each to travel and get settled in for your appointment.

Choose a nearby location/destination.

Make sure your “killing time” location is no more than five minutes walking or driving distance. You don’t want to run the risk of being caught across town, or in some other location caught up in traffic if you can avoid it. The closer you stay to your appointment location, the better!

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Select only one task to work on at your destination.

Don’t get too weighed down with work or personal items as you pass the time. Choose only one task or item to work on or attend to while you’re waiting so you won’t lose too much track of time. While you’re at it, you should probably set a timer on your phone, computer or tablet to let you know when you need to pack up your things and leave.

Know when to stay put.

Sometimes it’s not worth the trouble to go outside to kill time. Traffic might be heavy, the weather might be lousy, plus you might not know your way around the neighborhood very well. In this case, it’s better to stay put and wait things out until it’s time for your appointment. Check out my post What to Do When You’re Early to an Meeting for tips on how to pass the time.

How about you? What do you like to do when you arrive early to a meeting or appointment? Will you try any of the above tips the next time you’re early to an appointment? Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.