Never Be Late Again: Tips for Being Punctual

Do you know someone who is consistently late rather than consistently on time? So much so you either account for the lateness or make jokes about it?

While everyone has an occasionally slip up, some of us couldn’t be on time if our lives depended on it.

You can’t be consistently on time if it’s not a priority.

Being on time reduces stress, builds trust and is a cornerstone of respecting other people.

If you are one of those people who is always late, or know someone who is regularly late, here are some tips to regain control of time.

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 daughter’s swimming lesson ends at 7:00, avoid agreeing to meet a friend for dinner at 7:30 on the other side of town. What if getting changed, getting home and then battling traffic across town takes longer? Assume the worst and schedule your time accordingly.

3.    Plan your day the night before. If you spend a little of your time in the evening to plan the next day, you won’t spend time in the morning trying to make decisions. Have a 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. 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, on your desk calendar (if they still exist) or in three different email address calendars, your schedule is a disaster waiting to happen. Choose one place to schedule all of your obligations.

7.    Know where you’re going. You might know that your destination is about a block from of the supermarket near your old home, 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. Traffic conditions might have changed.

8.    Avoid getting ready last. Get ready for your next activity first, then use any left-over time to do other things. You can’t be sure how long it will take to get ready.

9.    Use alarms. Set an alarm for 7:15 if you must leave by 7:30. Give yourself enough warning that you can get out the door on time.

10. Keep at least a half-tank of petrol in your car. How many times have you barely squeaked out of the office or house on time, only to realise that you don’t have enough petrol for the trip? Keep enough petrol in your car for any situation.

Note: This one only works if you are not in lockdown 😉.

11. Early is on time, on time is late. This one taught in the implementation of EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System®). Turning up on time means you will waste the first five minutes of your meeting shuffling papers, opening up applications or documents and exchanging pleasantries.

Everyone can be time! A few new habits will ensure that being late is a thing of the past. Start your day on the right foot, be realistic with your schedule and respect others. It’s time to turn those punctuality jokes or cold receptions into a thing of the past It just takes time.