Let me tell you why I love McDonald’s (and it is nothing to do with the food).
I like to be always on time (no surprises there), and for me ‘on time’ means arriving at least five minutes early.
Many people arrive just on time and flustered, or late and even more stressed. And for some, that happens often. But how does McDonald’s have anything to do with being on time? Let me explain.
What most people do
How most people operate, when they need to travel more than a few minutes to a meeting, is that they work out how long it should take to get to the meeting, and deduct that from the meeting start time, to work out when they should leave. Then they stay in their office or workplace until that time doing tasks, many of which could be done away from the office, especially when you have all your business files stored in the cloud (for the benefits of doing this, read what Boston University says here).
But here’s the rub. The tasks they were doing may take longer, or it takes them longer to pack up after stopping those tasks, or someone comes to ask them for help, or traffic delays their trip, or they can’t find a parking spot, or, or, or… There are so many things that can delay them, resulting in frustration and lateness. And nobody enjoys being the last arrival who wasted all the time of the other people in the room, who, for all you know, all arrived on time and have been waiting just for you. Good thing they can’t send you a bill for the time they were held up (or maybe if they are lawyers or some other professions, they can send you the bill!).
And it only takes one such meeting near the start of your day, to cause a tidal wave of distraction for the rest of the day and sometimes beyond. You can’t catch up for today, so you don’t get prepared for tomorrow, and when you turn up for tomorrow’s first meeting, you realise that you were supposed to do some things before coming, and you didn’t bring your notes that you need. Snowball leads to an avalanche!
How to be always on time
Whether I am going somewhere in a city or country areas, there is usually a McDonald’s somewhere close to my destination. And to make sure that I will be always on time, I decide to leave my office well in advance. An added benefit of this is often that I am travelling outside of peak hour. I could even leave a couple of hours early, and I make sure I have at least that couple of hours of important work that I can do away from the office (this is where cloud storage and my Microsoft Surface Pro weighing under 1kg (2lb) comes in really handy). So I head off to the locale of the meeting and stop at the closest McDonald’s restaurant. There I find somewhere to sit down, some food options that are healthier than they offered a decade ago, and I do enjoy their McCafe coffee. Many McDonald’s also offer free WiFi access (as many teenagers know!). And I get down to work.
Interestingly, when you do work away from your office, there are normally less distractions and interruptions, so you can get more done in those couple of hours than if you stayed at work.
And when the time comes for the meeting, I am just a few short minutes away. I can arrive a little early, fresh, relaxed and fully prepared for what is to come.
So you too can be always on time. Next time you need to travel more than a few minutes to a meeting, find a McDonald’s close to where you are going. Choose the best time for you to travel there (eg. outside of peak hour). Grab what you need for the meeting as well as some other important work you can do while you are out, and off you go. Chances are your travel time will be less than the alternative, you’ll be more productive on the work you took with you, the meeting will go better and you will be much more relaxed, with time left to prepare for the next day as per our End of Day Review process.
Have a great year.