Be On Time: 10 Tips for Being Punctual

being on time reduces stress, builds trust, and shows respect for others

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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25 thoughts on “Be On Time: 10 Tips for Being Punctual

  1. If only it would be that easy.. I like sleeping. Should really change my habits though.. Punctuality is a skill that I do not have, haha.

  2. Excellent post. I used to be “that guy” who was always late. That changed when I got a new District Manager who’s office was located in my store. Unlike my old DM who was chronically late, Charly was always early. On time for him was 10 minutes early. Our relationship was tense the first few months but after a few hard lessons, I learned to be on time (5 to 10 minutes early) for everything.
    Tom recently posted…Content is KingMy Profile

  3. We call being late “Angela Time” because my sister in law (angela) is notoriously late – and it has to do with not estimating how long things take. Or, not paying attention to the time and stopping what she’s doing.

    However, I’ve somehow become that same type of person after never being like that in my life. I’d like to blame it on just being tired, but I think it has to do with the internet – my phone specifically. I can read in the bathroom now and I lose time quickly.
    Jenn Alex Brockman recently posted…Meal Plans to Start Low CarbMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Jenn, fight the urge, if you start being late people will think the same of you as they do of your Sister-in-law, it will become Jenn time 😉

    • I think it’s narrow minded and unkind to label people who aren’t skilled in time management as ‘selfish, thoughtless inconsiderate people’. You have to remember that time management is a skill, nothing more and nothing less.

      I am sure you do not possess every desirable skill in the catalogue, have you considered what it would feel like to be judged as a human being and labelled with unkind words simply because you lack a skill that another has?

      Making such personal presumptions about people based on certain skills they do and do not possess is not conducive to a healthy working environment.

      It is also disappointing to see the author of the website agreeing with such unkind comments, essentially personally attacking the very people who are visiting his website for his advice and paying for his books!

      • I beg to differ. It is not a ‘skill’ to buy a clock and pay attention to it.

        If you agreed to show up somewhere at a set time, that does not require ‘time management skills’… you just get your ass into gear and leave home in time to make sure you get there at least roughly at THE TIME YOU AGREED TO SHOW UP.

        Over the past 60 years I have had much experience with meeting people on professional/business appointments, as well as socially meeting friends.

        I make the effort to show up on time, and if I can do it, it is possible for everyone. There are accidents outside of your control that can delay you, but this is NOT what I’m talking about when I refer to ‘selfish, thoughtless inconsiderate people’.

        What I am talking about are the personal friends of 5 – 10-20 years who declare they have no embarrassment whatsoever about the fact that they just can’t be bothered to ‘make the effort’ it takes to ensure their timely arrival at the set appointment.

        They have always laughed and said “Why should I care? They/You can just wait for me” to my face when I complained about being kept waiting etc.

        They seriously have no problem at all with expecting the world to wait for them until they feel like showing up… and I’m talking an hour or two at times!!!!

        Absolutely ZERO sense of responsibility for their actions… and just SO MANY of them that I’ve known… and in that 5 – 10-20 years I (barely managed to) stay friends with them they never, ever, made any effort to improve their ability to show up at the AGREED TIME we had arranged.

        Just Not Good Enough!!!!

  4. Great article! I used to be neurotic about being not just on time, but early, and then I had kids. I did well when they were little, but now that they are older and I have less control over how quickly they get ready, I get stressed when they threaten to make us late. I’ve learned the secret to not getting stressed is to be as prepared as possible in other ways, like the ‘gas in the tank’ suggestion, and planning out their outfits the night before.

    I still rate punctuality as pretty important, even if you’re just meeting up for a playdate. Great tips in this piece!
    Jessica recently posted…Pen Names, Pet Peeves and PublishingMy Profile

  5. Love your image Mike! Totally agree with your thoughts, if you allow for people to be late they will continue to do so. For me I am working on building time into my schedule during the day for non-related business stuff. Such as going for a walk or exercising without having to worry about rushing to get back to work.
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  6. I didn’t have a best man at my wedding due to the fact that he is always late for everything. A few weeks before our wedding we made arrangements for an outing and he was late. My wife and he had an argument about his lack of respect and the result was her telling him to “p–s off”. Fortunately they have made up now, but the fact remains…

    Being continually late is a huge lack of respect for the people waiting. Show respect and be on time!
    I’ve sent this link to my mate as a hint to get his act together. Hopefully he’ll still come around (on time) to watch the Rugby with us on the weekend 🙂
    Duane Reeve recently posted…How to Identify and Stop Affiliate Link HijackingMy Profile