A tale of lousy time management.
In the fall of 1989, I promised my younger daughter, Lisa, a trip to the Rose Bowl if the University of Michigan would be playing. The Wolverines won the Big Ten Conference, and I was on for a big trip. I had to make good on my promise.
Because this was a father-and-daughter event, I was in charge. Instead of my wife making the travel arrangements, the job fell to me. My plan was for us to leave Indianapolis on New Year’s Eve and be home the day after the game, January 2. That would allow us three days, or 72 hours. Let’s see how it worked out.
Lisa and I departed Indianapolis at 10 AM on December 31 for the four-and-a-half-hour flight to Los Angeles. (We left our watches on our own time but operated on local time, which was 3 hours behind.)
According to our watches, we arrived in Los Angeles at about 2:30 in the afternoon, a little before noon local time. We took a cab to the hotel, checked in, and realized that we had a fair amount of the afternoon left. There was an NFL playoff game at the Colosseum, so we decided to take a cab there and see if we could buy a ticket. No luck. After spending about 2 hours milling around, we returned to the hotel. We were hungry because our watches now said 6 PM. I tried to make reservations for dinner and every place was full. Then, Lisa piped up, “But Dad, it’s New Year’s Eve! What do you expect?”
Across from the hotel, I found a delicatessen and bought the makings for sandwiches, a couple pieces of pie, and drinks. Back in the room, we had dinner, watched television, and called home, before turning in. It was about midnight Indianapolis time (9 pm local time).
Up early, we took a cab to meet the alumni group at 7 AM for breakfast and a bus trip to the parade. After that, we returned to the hotel for lunch and then to the game. After the University of Michigan lost, we were bused back to the hotel for a reception and dinner, where we complained about a “bad call” that cost us the game.
After dinner, with our small bags in tow, we cabbed to the airport to wait for our plane, which would depart for Indianapolis at 10 PM (1 AM on our watches).
After we landed in Indianapolis, before dawn, I discovered that our car in the long-term lot had frozen locks. I went back to the coffee shop for a cup of hot coffee that I poured between the window and inside of the car door to unfreeze the lock. We headed home.
In retrospect, what had I actually planned? Was it truly three days, a 72-hour trip, to the Rose Bowl? Starting at 10 AM Sunday, we flew across the country and back; travelled around Los Angeles in cabs and in buses, watched a parade and a football game, and took part in 2 group meals—in a total of 30 hours. By the time we returned home, at 6 AM Tuesday, we had been gone only 44 hours, not even 2 days! So much for 72 hours!
Ah ha! This is a story about dyschronia. Do not get out your dictionary—I made it up! There are lots of words that start with DIS or DYS and that is not a good thing for the rest of the word. It says something bad about what follows, like dystrophy (waste away), dysentery (bad gut). You get it. In this case, dyschronia describes being bad at time—my word.
Dyschronia: an inability to manage time well in the abstract. The solution? Plan ahead, write it down, and be realistic about how much time it takes to do things.
Do not be a dyschroniac!
By Savvy Senior
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