I don't like the term anal.
Thesaurus.com suggests "perfectionist" and "precisionist" as alternatives. But, those who know me would never describe me as a perfectionist; anyone who has witness the results of my DIY projects would never suggest I was precise.
I do try to insist on punctuality, however. Since fatherhood has been added to my list of responsibilities, I have even less time to waste waiting for others.
Unless there was an unforeseen, unavoidable circumstance, it is rude to keep anyone waiting for more than 15 minutes. Even a ten minute delay is rude if it's habitual.
To avoid forcing people to wait for me, I use what is referred to in live television production as "backtiming". This technique involves recognizing the absolute "out" time for your show (for instance: 7pm for a one-hour show beginning at 6pm), and calculating what time each item in the telecast must begin in order to not run past your deadline.
An example of how this would be put into practice in everyday life:
Situation: You and your family are invited to a 6 o'clock supper at a friend's house; the friend lives 20 minutes away.
Here's how a ('ahem') perfectionist/precisionist would arrange to be there on time:
- 5:30pm - You should all be in the car. This means seat belts on, with the vehicle in motion towards the end of the driveway. This does not mean in the car, with one person still having to pee and another looking for sunglasses.
- 4:30 - All other household activities should be slowed and then abandoned allowing enough time for a shower (if necessary) a tidying of toys, and a change into fresh clothes, etc. This is not the time to start one more half-hour episode of "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego", or to make a 'quick' call to your mom, or to quickly begin your last finger-painting project.
- 3:30 - This is the perfect opportunity to let the kids know they have an hour of free time before they have to start getting ready. When they continue goofing around and arguing with each other, remind them they are only losing time from their one hour they have before they need to start getting ready.
You get the idea.
I tend to "We should go!" people a lot.
The response I often get is: "Relax. No one will mind if we're a few minutes late."
This happens when I meet friends before we leave together to go meet other friends. This happens when I pick people up, or when I am myself being picked up. Inevitably, my impatience earns me the labels "precisionist" and "impatient"(I'm afraid I'll have to return to 'anal'. It is too apt).
Why is that?
Why am I the problem because I enjoy punctuality?
Didn't Jesus or Confucius say "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you?" They must have been punctual men, since no one likes to be kept waiting.
Why does no one like to be kept waiting? Because they organized their day is such a fashion as to be ready to receive you. Your friend had their house ready for the dinner party at 6pm; the restaurant had your table ready for 7:30; your friend has been waiting by the front door for fifteen minutes when they surely had better things to do. Better things to do than wait for the chronically tardy.
As a working professional, a parent, a homeowner, and a human being, my day is busy enough without someone else's tardiness built in. I like my vestibule, but I don't consider it a tourist destination I need to admire for more than a couple of minutes while I stare out the front door.
I believe you cannot change people. I'll always have to wait on those same late-comers.
It's my labelling I object to.
Anal. Precisionist. Perfectionist. Antsy. Impatient.
Why am I the problem because I like being on time?
Call me anything; just don't call me late for supper.