How someone doesn’t (or can’t) ever arrive on time is a phenomenon that I will never understand. I pride myself on being prompt and usually early to anything I am invited to (parties, gatherings, or client meetings). If my wife and I do happen to have to arrive late and not everyone at the party knows, they are concerned and begin to text us asking where we are. It is undoubtedly one of my biggest pet peeves.
Arriving late or keeping people waiting insinuates that your time is more important than the other persons. That may not be the case or your intent, but to the punctual person, this is how we feel. Some people will tell you that no matter what time they wake up, they are still late to everything. I find it hard to accept that logic, but there can be underlying factors.
People who are chronically late, more often than not, procrastinate, and they try to avoid a situation. Others may have issues with self-control that cause them to be late such as overuse of alcohol or a “shopaholic” who can’t get out of the store. Anxiety and depression may also be a cause of their not being on time as they struggle to even get out of bed.
Ask yourself what kind of late person you are
Management consultant Diana DeLonzor says that there are seven types of late people in her book Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged.
The “Deadliner” works until the very last minute possible. They rush from one place to the other and thrive under pressure, or so they say.
The producer loves a “to-do list” and feels a sense of accomplishment by getting things checked off. Producers have no concept of real-time and often underestimate how long a project will take. “This will only take 10 minutes, and I’ll be right there”. 2 hours later, they are still a no-show.
The Absent-Minded Professor
The absent-minded professor is the person who is easily distracted and can’t keep track of time. They lose everything they need and come in and out of the house, asking where things are all the time. “Have you seen my keys, did I lock the door, where’s my briefcase,” you get the idea.
Nothing is the fault of the rationalizer. They are always late because of something or someone else. “The traffic on the 405 was terrible tonight”. Newsflash, the traffic on the 405, is always terrible.
The indulger is the person who lacks self-control. This is your “one more” friend when you’re trying to leave the bar to make it the concert on time.
The evader tries to avoid feelings of insecurity or anxiety by being late.
The rebel, in my opinion, is the worst type and is almost always a narcissist. They arrive late to assert power, for the rebel believes they are more important than anyone else in the room.
Have you ever met one of these seven types of late people in your life? I bet most of you that are reading this would say yes, that’s my wife, best friend, or boss. So what can you do to make you are on time all the time? Here are some simple steps you can take and habits you can work on to ensure you are always prompt.
How To Be On Time All The Time
Wake up when your alarm goes off
We all would love to hit the snooze button when our alarm goes off continually. However, the reason we set the alarm is to get up, so do it! The longer you lay in bed, rationalizing in your head how you can lay here for another “10 minutes and be fine), the more of a rush you will be in when you do finally get out of bed.
Why start your day off in a rush. Get out of bed, maybe even set your alarm to be a little early, so you aren’t starting your morning behind.
Make promptness a priority
If you genuinely want to be a punctual person, you need to understand that you have a problem with being on time. Just like an alcoholic who denies a drinking problem, the habitually late person denies their continual tardiness. If you are someone who is never on time, you are not only hurting yourself but others who are waiting for you. Being late can affect your job, relationships, and more.
Commit to being more punctual and start this mindset today.
Prepare what you need in advance
When I have a big meeting, I make sure that everything I need is prepared the night before. This preparation includes anything I might need at my meeting (samples, handouts), the conference room is reserved, the agenda is ready, the projector is working, etc. The same goes for your personal life. If you’re leaving for vacation in the morning, don’t pack when you wake up but instead pack the night before. Being prepared in advance is just another step to being on time.
Plan to be early, not on time
People who plan to arrive typically map out their commute, which might take an hour and decide if their meeting is at 9:00, then they need to leave at 8:00. This method of preparation doesn’t take into effect any traffic you might hit or other snafus along the way. One stalled car on the parkway could cost you 15 minutes.
Instead, plan to arrive early. If I am commuting to NYC for a meeting and I need to be there at 9:00, I get up early and leave my house by 6:00. Getting up early allows me plenty of time to make sure that I am where I need to be on time. Allow yourself extra time instead of playing it too close for comfort.
Be OK with waiting
Along with planning to be early is being OK with waiting. When I’m early to a meeting or if I am making good time commuting somewhere, I know I can always pull over and get some work done on my laptop. For others, they might take the time to catch up on a good book or maybe visit a store or run a quick errand beforehand.
If you’re an impatient person waiting may be torture for you. I used to be like this, but then I decided that sitting in traffic was worse than being early and sitting in a coffee shop or hotel lobby killing time. Instead, I opted for keeping my sanity and having peace of mind that I wouldn’t be late.
Whatever you do, be early and be OK with waiting.
Set continual reminders for the items you need to address. If you need to leave for a meeting at a specific time, set a timer for it. There are no excuses for not being able to set a timer these days, considering we all carry cell phones with this capability. Set a reminder an hour before and another one for 15 minutes before to be safe!
Leave on time
It seems simple enough to say but leave on time. If you leave late chances are you will arrive late. If you’re at work and you know you need to go at 5:00 to get home for your child’s soccer game at 7:00, then leave on time. The work will be there tomorrow, regardless. Don’t try to squeeze in one more task or “to-do” into your day; leave.
People who are on time are generally prepared to do the best they can. Being on time, let’s others know that you can be trusted and that you value their time as much as yours. Don’t keep people waiting for you. Use these 7 tips above as your starting point to being on time all the time.
Are there any tips that you use to be on time? Let me know in the comments section below.