Dance between controlling your own time and rolling with the punches, even when other people don’t control theirs. Many times, crazy events converge to work out in the end, but this is no validation that craziness should become habit.
You might be late and your friend late also, but that doesn’t mean that being late will improve your life in other areas and with other people. Being late is generally a problem, but that doesn’t mean you should be rude to your friend over mild tardiness. Learn to expect the margins as they are; if they are intolerable, say so. Find a way to control your own schedule with flexibility.
Consider clothes made with stretchable fabric. Stretchy clothes have a defined form, but they can expand and retract as needed. Like stretch cotton, carry a book with you to read or keep important side projects ready in your pocket. Always have a way to keep your own time from being wasted so that you truly have no grievance against those who make you late.
Airports are another story. Agree to call ahead the morning of; use a wake up call for an early rendezvous or quickly touch base before hand when preparing to leave for an importantly timed journey later in the day. Plan for lunch near the train station before departure or include time for a pit stop to freshen up a few minutes before your appointment.
While some simple scheduling gimmicks are useful, the important part is self control: don’t make other late and don’t be angry when others make you late.
An incompetent leader will truncate essential conversations and terminate tardy talent just to stay on schedule. But, the schedule itself doesn’t pay the bills; scheduling is merely a tool for efficiency. If your goal is to be on time every time, quickly fire everyone an end all projects, then there won’t be any chance of latency.
This “time” principle applies to needed patience with difficult people, such as the need to educate employees—fellow, subordinate, and superior—on how to cooperate, stay on task, mind one’s own business, or complete paperwork correctly. A smooth running machine needs both tuning and oil.