Better Late Than Never? Not So Much

Running Late For Business Meeting

Better late than never. Do you agree?

Try telling that to the gate agent when the plane is already pulling away from the gate. Or to the prospective client that cut short their earlier meeting to accommodate your schedule. And that Broadway play that will have you wait in the lobby until intermission, let them know too.

Better late than never? Not so much.

In many situations late is late and that’s that. It’s unfortunate that many people don’t believe that to be the case. They believe there’s always some “wiggle room” when it comes to being punctual, after all, what’s five, ten, or fifteen minutes? Of course, they’re incorrect.

The best strategy is to be on time, and a few minutes early is even better. There’s no downside to being early, and getting organized, or contemplating what’s next in your day, and relaxing before your meeting or event starts.

But punctuality can be challenging, especially for business owners juggling multiple responsibilities. Here are three tactics to make it that much easier:

Plan accordingly and leave yourself enough time. Traffic jams and delays on public transportation are not unusual. Factor in an extra 15 minutes or more depending upon the circumstances to allow for the unexpected and set an alarm to make certain that you leave on time. Make certain you have your phone with you so IN CASE the unexpected happens (i.e., a total standstill because of a car accident or subway stalling in the tunnel), you can alert the person or people that are waiting for you.

Stay focused. Don’t start a new task or activity right before you are getting ready to leave. Distractions are often the cause of being late, and the best way to avoid them is to “shut down” what you are currently doing, and not start anything else, within 5-15 minutes before you are due to leave. Set an alarm for when you MUST get out the door – this is very easy to do with your cellphone. Use this time to tidy your desk, and mentally prepare for what lies ahead, and make certain to leave when your alarm goes off.

Make being on time a priority. Being punctual is a mindset that can be acquired by anybody, no special skills required. Don’t make excuses (everyone in my family is always late) or decide that “it doesn’t really matter.” Being punctual is being respectful, and unless you don’t care what people think, then it is something at which you should aim to succeed.

After all:

Arriving late to a dinner party and causing others to wait for the meal that is slowly getting cold in the kitchen is a sure-fire way to lose friends.

Showing up late to your child’s school play will make your child sad, especially if they know that Mom and Dad missed their time on stage.

When you think of it that way is it worth it to not plan and leave enough time to be where you need to be.

Didn’t think so.

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