The Important Courtesy of Showing Up on Time
Time waits for no one and like the ticking of a clock, time is now measured in the pings, dings and chimes announcing the arrival of the newest email, voicemail or text. Over the hours of the day, our attention constantly drifts in response to these cues, triggering a curiosity of something new and exciting or the more mundane reminder of yet another task or appointment.
Where Does the Time Go?
Who hasn’t glanced at a smartphone and found themselves late for an appointment or meeting? It’s easy to wonder if these oversights are the result of too much to do or trying to cram too many things into too little time. But how easy is it to justify checking off one more task or answering one more email before heading out the door? Often in the short-term this method works, producing feelings of productivity in the moment. But if abused, it can evolve into problematic lateness.
Busy – The New 4-Letter Word
Occasionally tardiness is excusable, but being on time is a common courtesy. Showing up as expected conveys respect and communicates the present event and those involved are a priority. Conversely, showing up late without explanation, communicates exactly the opposite. Lateness is avoidable, so why create unnecessary stress and anxiety, especially when chronic lateness undermines relationships and professional reputations?
Implications at Work
Being on time and prepared to work is one of the quickest ways to demonstrate responsibility. It’s a way to remain in control of a situation and convey the necessary trust. In turn, punctuality provides a calming atmosphere in which to perform the task. This sense of competency and peace is a way to subconsciously put yourself and others at ease, making interactions less stressful for all.
A Disciplined Approach
Choosing to be on time is not a one-time decision. It is the result of many small choices designed to build a bank of time into your schedule to spend when you need it most.
Pick and Choose – Realistically only so much can happen in a day. Prioritize the important events such as arriving to work on time or to a meeting or appointment. Add in extra cushions of time for traffic delays, uncooperative family members and slow-moving mornings.
Plan for Contingencies – Advance preparation and planning can be the necessary kryptonite to lateness. Little contingencies such as a full gas tank and following a proven morning routine can make arriving on time even easier.
Build in Time – No one can create more time but you can schedule in blocks for unforeseen tasks. These “extra” times can become catch-up periods or simply a moment to catch your breath before beginning the next activity.
Know Yourself – Understanding unique needs and failings is one of the best ways to create the right time-management plan for you. For example, if you’re a morning person, schedule important tasks for earlier in the day. Late risers should plan to deal with critical things later in the day.