Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, How Fit Is Your Business? as well as his latest book, Fit to Grow. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301.275.0208.
By itself, being on time is not a measure of success or failure, but it is an attribute of most successful people. They value time—their own and that of others—and are on time consistently.
I like to make lists, and here’s one about why being on time important:
- It is more efficient and effective for all involved
- It makes what you do more predictable
- It helps you to achieve deadlines
- It is respectful
- It develops trust in your dependability
- It is the right thing to do.
There are times when it is socially acceptable to be a little late (like showing up to someone’s house for dinner 10 min late), but in business settings you should always be on time. Being on time doesn’t mean being early. That was perceived positively in the past, but today, being early can be as annoying and disruptive as being late. For some people, late + excuse = on time, but you are never going to win any points with that mindset.
Here are a few tips on how to master the habit of being on time:
- Make it a priority
- Write it down
- Don’t schedule so tightly that you will fail. For example, schedule calls or meetings for 25 minutes instead of a half-hour to give yourself time to be prompt for your next appointment.
- Anticipate delays. If traffic might be an issue, plan to arrive at your location 10 to 15 minutes early (and try to make time spent waiting productive).
- Reduce reactive time. If your schedule is interrupted, instead of addressing them immediately, schedule a time to deal with non-emergencies later.
- Confirm times. Confirm appointments up to 24 hours in advance to make sure everyone is aligned for on-time arrival.