Being late to anything is one of the ugliest habits.
It shows a lack of consideration, respect, and professionalism.
In college, I had a professor who was adamant about punctuality. Once that clock hit 9:00 a.m, the door was shut. It didn’t matter if you had to drop your kid off, or was rear-ended by a person who was texting, or if the clock was at 9:01.
If you were late, you were late. The only exception was if you took the bus (and you had to prove it). Believe me, this made our morning classes interesting by seeing the expression of student’s faces through that 2×4 glass window.
Yes, his principles were a bit extreme, but ever since that class I never had trouble showing up on time.
Punctuality is a respectable habit. Not only will it please the other person, but it will also give you some time to prepare for whatever is necessary, to breathe, calm down, and assess the situation. If you’re going to a job interview and you’re sweating buckets, arriving on time will allow you to keep your composure and to prepare accordingly (and change your shirt).
Showing up on time isn’t hard. Like anything in life, it requires much practice.
I don’t know who said this quote, nor can I find who said it even if I type it in Google, but I think it was a coach who said it to me during my younger years, and it is forever embedded in my brain:
If you show up 15 minutes early, you’re on time.
If you show up on time, you’re late.
If you’re late — don’t bother showing up at all.
It’s incredibly simple, and failure to adhere to this code is nothing but an excuse.
Let’s break this down a little further, because the part where it says “show up 15 minutes early” is definitely the hardest.
If you have to be somewhere by 10:00 a.m, and you start getting ready by 9:00 a.m, chances are you’re gonna be late. It doesn’t matter how fast you prepare or how close the place is to your home.
When preparing to do anything, time flies. You know it. I know it. That person over there knows it.
The first step to being on time to anything is to accept responsibility. Let’s break this down a little further:
- The day before you have to go somewhere, write down everything you need. So if you’re going to the beach with a bunch of friends, write down what exactly it is you need to have a fun experience. If it’s a job interview, make sure you have a pen, all necessary documents, resume, whatever. Become aware by using visualization.
- Go to sleep early the day before so you can wake up without feeling groggy. No one wants to deal with a diva in the mornings.
- If you have to get somewhere by 10:00 a.m, and it usually takes you 30 minutes to get there, leave an hour or an hour and a half earlier. So yes, if the meeting is at 10, you should be in that building by 9:30 ready to go. In order to be there at 9:30, leave at 8:45, maybe 8:30.
Yes — it’s that simple.
Whenever you have to get somewhere by a certain time, use this guide. Remember the quote and those three simple points. It will take practice — getting up early, preparing, etc — but you can master it. You can make every meeting on time and never be late to anything.
Here’s a warning: as you master punctuality, you will notice that everyone around you is terribly late to everything. Send them this guide .
How do you make it to things on time? Share your ideas and tips below. I’d love to hear from you.