Life Is About The Timing

How often have you heard "stop waiting for the perfect time" or "the time will never be just right"?  In some cases I agree with this, but in more cases, timing is everything.  For many of the bigs things, people are seeking out the perfect time:

  • When is the perfect time to buy your first home?
  • When is the perfect time to get pregnant?
  • When are the best times to post on social media?

So why is it that when the questions aren't so big the timing doesn't seem to matter as much?  Even though timing is still important when it comes to the details it is often forgotten.

Let me take you back to how my morning started.  I woke up especially early for a Saturday so that I could catch up on work.  The past two weeks have been some of the most strenuous work days of my career, my husband is out of town so I'm playing single mom, and everything that typically runs smoothly seemed to be inoperative the past couple of days.  In short, things have not been going my way.  Still, I tried to slow down and think through each situation positively -- but the guilt of feeling not at my best at work and at home was getting the best of me.

Hours had passed since I first woke up and I was upset and feeling defeated.  I just hung up the phone with technical support because my computer was not syncing and I was unable to meet an important deadline.  Half of the day is now gone and I've made zero progress ... in comes my daughter.

Daughter:  What are we going to do today?

Me:  (still staring at computer) Sigh.  Not sure.  I need to get this work done.

Daughter:  Well I need to go shopping.

Me:  For what?

Daughter:  Dresses for when we are suppose to dress up, and work out clothes.

Me (thinking to myself):  She does need dresses, but what the heck does she need work out clothes for?

Daughter:  And can we go get my learner's permit today?  I have a lot I wanted to get done this weekend.  We also need to make changes to my passport.  And when can I get my own checking account?  

Me (instantly overwhelmed):  Sigh.  I'm not sure.

Frustrated with my lack of attention to her needs and wants, my daughter left the room to return to her bedroom.  I was upset with her for coming in barraging me with several requests that she presented as needing immediate attention, and she was upset with me for minimizing what is important to her.  Of course, it didn't stop there.  Throughout the day we continued to irritate each other with comments about the other's shortage of caring and never made it to the mall or to fulfill any of her other requests.

Truly, though, the issue wasn't what she was asking -- although it seemed excessive to me -- it was all about the timing.

I gave you an example of poor timing at home, but how often does this happen at work too?  The colleague or customer who needs to speak with you immediately, who needs your attention to something they perceive as urgent, even though it is apparent that you have several other stressful things consuming your time at the moment.  Timing truly is everything when it comes to the details.

If we go back to the example with my daughter.  I would've reacted much differently if approached during a not-so-stressful moment or even given some heads-up like, "Mom, can I talk to you a minute about things I'd like to do this weekend?"  Although difficult for a teenager, being aware of your surroundings and reading people's state-of-mind is important in determining good timing.   Then, if the moment isn't right, deter to another time for your request or set the stage and pause so that the current mindset has space to shift.

Time may not be everything, but timing certainly is.  Timing shouldn't hinder our progress for the big stuff, but it absolutely makes a difference for the small stuff.  The "when" of our daily interactions is just as important as the "what".  So next time you are going to make a request, be aware of the present from the other person's perspective.  Life is, beyond question, about the timing.



Amber Dembowski