Make promises you can keep.
Really, that’s what punctuality is all about, isn’t it? Making a promise to be somewhere at a certain time, and actually being there. So why is it so hard?
People who are chronically late share some common characteristics. They will underestimate how long a task will take, or misjudge the passage of time. They are sometimes just overly optimistic about how much they can get done in a certain amount of time, or maybe they like the power trip they get from knowing someone is waiting on them. Whether your motivation is honorable or not so nice, if you’re not punctual, you’re being less than thoughtful.
If you’re like me, you want to be thoughtful and considerate of other people’s time. Not only that, but being punctual makes you look like you’re in control, shows integrity and shows respect for others. And that’s not a bad professional image to convey.
So here are some hints on how you can be more punctual in your work and home life:
Wake up when the alarm goes off – Being on time is harder when you start your day behind the 8 ball. If you’re rushing to get out the door, you’re already at a disadvantage, so pop out of bed when the alarm goes off and give yourself plenty of time to look and feel your best.
Stay on top of local weather and traffic reports – Being caught on the road longer than you want to be just adds stress to your day, and that’s no way to kick it off.
Check directions before you leave to go somewhere – Nothing saves you time and anguish like knowing where you’re going. Even if you have a GPS that leads you by the nose to your destination, it’s helpful to look at a map and get your bearings.
Be realistic about how much time a meeting or activity will take – If you’re like my manager and ask for 30 minute meetings to discuss a subject that will take 45 minutes to cover, do yourself a favor and plan for 45 minutes (or even an hour). If you find that you’re unable to determine what will put you behind schedule, just add some time in to be sure you’ve got it covered.
If you’re unsure of your estimates, spend a week timing your regular activities so you’re fully aware of how much time you really need.
Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early for every appointment – You may think that’s a waste of time, especially if you’re one of those people that try to cram more into your day than actually fits. Well, you can still cram if you plan ahead! I get all of my business periodicals and whitepapers electronically, and I take that extra 10-15 minutes and get some of my reading done on my iPad. It makes me feel like I’m still accomplishing something, even when I’m waiting.
Try making appointments off-hour – A meeting at 3:10 says “My time is precious!” and people will be more likely to show up on time for it. True story! It’s the same case for you – holding a meeting at 3:10 conveys a psychological urgency that will have you showing up on time as well. Give it a try and see if it works!
Punctuality conveys respect and dependability, and that’s what being a Revolutionary Assistant is all about. Make your on-time arrival a priority no matter what you’re doing, and your friends and co-workers will appreciate you all the more.
Next Post: Wednesday, April 16