I was at a conference recently that was due to start at 9am every day, and every day I was there on time and every day the conference started late, when I asked the organiser why we were always late starting he said that he had to wait for people to turn up before he started, he didn’t appreciate that with this line of thought, delegates knew he wouldn’t start until they got there so there was no reason for them to be on time!!!!!
While everyone is occasionally late, we all know someone that couldn’t be on time if their lives depended on it. You can’t be on time consistently, if it’s not a priority. You must first decide to be punctual before you can change. The ability to consistently be on time reduces stress, builds trust, and shows respect for others. You’ll also gain a feeling of self-control.
Regain control and be on time with these tips:
- Get up on time. When your first act of the day is procrastination, it’s going to be hard to be on time for anything. When the alarm goes off, get up. One solution is to place your alarm clock on the other side of the room. Just remember not to climb back in bed.
- Have extra time built into your schedule. If your son’s football practice ends at 7:00, avoid agreeing to meet a friend for dinner at 7:30 on the other side of town. What if traffic is heavier than expected or football practice runs late? Assume the worst and schedule your time accordingly, and more often than not you will be on time.
- Plan your day the night before. If you spend a little of your leisure time in the evening to plan the next day, you won’t spend time in the morning trying to make decisions. Have an evening routine that includes preparing for tomorrow.
- Part of being on time consists of stopping on time. If you don’t end your current activity in time, you’re guaranteed to be late for later activities. Avoid short-term thinking. Consider the consequences to lingering on your current activity for too long. Think how your decision will affect the remainder of your day.
- Be respectful. When someone has to wait for you, you’re implicitly announcing that you don’t respect their time. You’d rather be late and keep them waiting than be on time. Others resent this lack of respect.
- Record your appointments in one place. If you have appointments listed in your phone, on scraps of papers, and on your desk calendar, your schedule is a disaster waiting to happen. Choose one place to schedule all of your obligations.
- Know exactly where you’re going. You might know that your destination is about a mile north of the grocery store near your old house, but that’s not good enough. Pull up the location on your phone or computer before you need to leave. Know exactly where you’re going and how to get there.
- Avoid getting ready last. Rather than watching TV until the last possible moment and then getting ready to leave, get ready first. Any leftover time can then be spent in front of the TV. You can’t be positive how long it will take to get ready. But you can turn the TV off and walk out the door whenever you need to.
- Use alarms. Set an alarm for 7:15 if you must leave the house by 7:30. Give yourself enough warning that you can get out the door on time.
- Keep at least a half-tank of fuel in your car. How many times have you barely squeaked out of the house on time, only to realize that you don’t have enough fuel for the trip? Keep enough fuel in your car for any situation.
You can be on time! A few new habits will ensure that being late is a thing of the past. Get your day started on the right foot by getting out of bed on time. Be realistic with your schedule and respect others. Use alarms to your advantage. You can be known for your punctuality if you so choose.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor