“Elissa, we need to talk.”
I ran frenzied circles around my manager. She was the eye of the storm standing tall and calm. I was spinning about trying to get my shit together and start work on time.
“Elissa, we need to talk. You’re late again.”
“Sorry – you’re right. I’m so sorry. I was rushing to get laundry started before I left and then I got halfway to the store before realizing I forgot my purse and -”
“Elissa, you live closer to the store than anyone else on the team. How long does it take you to walk to work?”
“Four minutes,” I said flatly.
“You live three blocks away. You are habitually late. It’s becoming a problem. Please don’t let it happen again.”
Congratulations! You were the first of several managers to point out my deplorable time management skills!! You deserve a trophy.
Seriously, though. Thank you. Self awareness is precious and you opened my eyes to my blind spots that day. You showed me that despite my good intentions, I was ultimately letting people down, myself included. Clean laundry, among other things, is a noble aspiration but not at the expense of time integrity.
You’ll be happy to know that since you called me out on my pathetic attempts at being punctual, I have continued to fail. It isn’t pretty. Now there are two kids in the equation and it’s exponentially more complicated. But now I’m seeing time management in a new light and I feel like maybe, just maybe, I’m getting the hang of it. Yes, I’ve read some insightful books and established habits to reign myself in but that’s not why I see the tardiness trend shifting. Now I understand how valuable the gift of time is and I don’t want to waste a minute. If I waste it I have none to give away.
I’ve always wanted to live a generous life. In earlier days, generosity meant parting with dollars and cents. I figured that once saddled with enormous student debt, I would not be able to live generously like I had in the past. But that didn’t sit well with me so I had to get creative. Now I’m learning that generosity has very little to do with money and everything to do with being resourceful and out off all the resources I possess, my time is most precious. Money, energy, health, knowledge – all these things I can influence but twenty-four little hours is all the time I get each day. Now I’m learning to say no before I say yes. Time is free but it’s expensive to waste. I’m beginning to viciously prioritize so that I have more to give away.
So thank you for our awkward little conversation in the stock room at Robson. It got the ball rolling in the right direction. I’m signing off now because all this writing has me spending too much time at the computer and I really must get to bed early tonight. Not before I enjoy some gin with my man though. One must uphold one’s priorities.
With humble sincerity,