Whether you like it or not, being on time matters. In fact, it matters a lot. It gives a message to others whether they can trust and rely on you when it comes to delivery of important things both professionally and personally. It gives others insight into how you view them, their time and how you view yourself vi-a-vis the same aspects. A person who respects his own time, respects others time as well. Being chronically late can have countless unintended consequences, and it’s a seemingly small thing that can have a huge and lasting negative effect on your image or career. By contrast, learning the importance of punctuality – or being consistently on-time, every time, or even early – is an incredibly simple way to set yourself apart from the crowd. It allows you to make an instant good impression and goes a long way in helping others see you as someone worth listening to.
There is no excuse for being late. Barring true emergencies, being on time is completely within your control. Taking ownership of your time, knowing the importance of punctuality, and choosing never to be late again, is one easy thing you can do to change your life and career for the better.
Here are some of the big reasons for being on time:
1. Being Late Weakens Your Position: When you’re late, you’re starting off on the wrong foot. Nobody wants to start an important business meeting with an apology. You may also be stressed and scattered, which may make the other person question their choice to work with you. If you can’t even be trusted to be on time, why would a customer trust you with their money?
On a Positive note: When you know the importance of punctuality, it puts you in the driver’s seat. Being on time helps you be cool, calm, and collected, and you make a great impression by showing the other person you respect their valuable time. By arriving early, you allow yourself a few extra minutes to think through your argument, and you appear more confident, poised, and in control.
2. Time is money so when You’re Not on Time, You’re Stealing: If time is money, then by arriving five minutes late you’ve just stolen something of value from the other person, which is NOT a great way to start any important business negotiation.
On a Positive note: Being on time instantly makes the person feel valued and appreciative, which could make them more open to your sales pitch.
3. Being Late Communicates a Lot…and mostly None of it is Good: Being late tells others a lot about you, your integrity, and your respect for other people. It tells them you think your time is more important than theirs, and whatever you are doing is more important than what they could be doing. It shows disrespect and disregard, and it might make the other person feel that you’re totally unreliable, careless, and disorganized.
On a Positive note: Being on time shows others that you’re trustworthy, considerate, and prepared. You’re showing them they are important to you and you are bringing your A-game.
4. No Excuses can be a Good Excuse: Other than a real emergency – and no, sleeping late and traffic don’t count – being on time is 100% within your control, and it’s easy! Sure, staying on schedule does take some planning and organization, but compared to almost every other challenge you could face at work, being on time is a cakewalk. Being late is like shooting yourself in the foot.
On a Positive note: Being on time is an incredibly simple way to impress others, make people like you, and make yourself look good. Why wouldn’t you do it?
5. Being Late only Wastes Time: When you’re late, you’re not buying yourself a few “extra minutes” you’re throwing away those minutes on things that could have been accounted for with a little planning. Being late often forces you to do extra work by scheduling follow-up meetings when you can’t finish your whole agenda, or by slowing you down on a project because you haven’t organized your thoughts ahead of time. Time wasted can never be taken back, always remember that.
On a Positive note: Knowing the importance of punctuality, on the other hand, saves you time. Good time management makes you more efficient, which means you can leave work right on time. This helps you to have a good work & life balance.
6. Being Late can Waste Money: Ever miss a flight or a show because you were running late? Ever have to pay extra for parking because your meeting ran over? And so many other ways in which you can lose money by just being late however small the difference maybe. Being late can lead to some costly mistakes.
On a Positive note: Always being on time can save you from a wide variety of late fees and penalties, and it can help you catch those precious first-come, first-served deals.
7. Being Late Makes You Scatterbrained: The stress you feel when you’re constantly running late interferes with your ability to make decisions, think and speak clearly, perform with precision, and get things done with a winning attitude. Hence the consistent delay in your approach will only cost you dearly at a later time.
On a Positive note: By being on time, you’re able to start meetings, projects, and your work day clear-headed and free from the nagging emotional distractions.
Being on time doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it doesn’t have to. Even those of us who struggle with punctuality will admit that being on time just takes a little planning, and most importantly, admitting to ourselves that being on time matters. Just think about it. When you really care about being somewhere on time, you’re able to make it happen. Right? That’s because the biggest trick for improving your time management isn’t a trick at all. It’s just knowing the importance of punctuality.