Why is it so important to be one time and why do people care so much when I’m late?
If this is a question you’ve found yourself asking recently, we’ve got all the answers you need.
This article covers some of the reasons why you should prioritize being on time, as well as some top tips to help you achieve it.
6 Reasons Why Punctuality Is Important
So why is it so vital to try to be on time as much as possible? What does it matter, really?
1. It shows respect.
Arriving on time shows that you value whatever it is you’re about to take part in.
Being punctual for a meeting shows that you respect the other people in that meeting, and that you don’t want to waste their time.
You’re essentially sending a message that you understand how valuable their time is and you are honored to share some of it.
2. It shows you care.
If you’ve made plans with friends, turning up on time is a way of showing that you care.
You want to spend time with them doing something nice, planning a fun trip, or perhaps helping them through a breakup.
Getting to the right place at the right time shows that you’ve made the effort to be with them or support them.
If you’re in a relationship, showing up on time also sends your partner the message that you’re still interested and invested and want to spend quality time with them.
Being late shows that you don’t prioritize them and could lead to more issues further down the line.
3. It makes everything run smoothly.
Being punctual is really important in a lot of ways, and one of them is scheduling.
Work-wise, being on time to meetings with new clients may help you gain new business and make more money for your company.
It also shows loyalty to existing clients and lets them know that you still care about them, even though they’re already paying you.
In general life, it means no missed travel arrangements, no rushing to fit things in, and no compromising on things.
4. People depend on you.
People depend on you to be on time.
Sometimes that means completing and delivering a project within a deadline so that other people can do their jobs properly.
Sometimes it means showing up to dinner on time so that your table isn’t given away and your date night isn’t ruined!
Whatever it is, people make plans around times and you need to show up in order to keep those plans on the right track.
5. Your reputation is at stake.
This is very important when it comes to your career.
If you’re always late to meetings or miss deadlines, you start to look pretty sloppy – it seems like you don’t really care and that you can’t be bothered to make an effort.
Word will spread and you’re unlikely to be taken seriously.
This may lead to people not wanting to work with you as they’ll worry you’ll mess things up for them.
It can also mean that senior colleagues are less likely to put you forward for promotions or exciting opportunities – they can’t trust you to take your job seriously, so why should you be rewarded?
6. It shows you’re taking it seriously.
Getting somewhere on time implies that you’re taking it seriously, whether it’s work-related or social.
This is really important if you already have a bit of a reputation for arriving late!
Each time you’re late, you make people feel a little bit less important in your life.
Nobody wants to feel like they’re forcing someone to spend time with them, and being late (or even cancelling plans last-minute!) can feel like rejection.
Take it seriously, commit to it and show up!
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How To Be Punctual
So, now you can understand the value of being on time, here are some great ways to ensure you follow through.
1. Set alarms.
If you struggle with arriving on time, we’d suggest you set alarms – and lots of them!
Plan your day the night before and walk through how it will go in your mind.
Decide what time you need to set an alarm to get ready, then a reminder halfway through the allotted time to give you a nudge, and then another 2 reminders for when you need to leave.
By having a walk-through, you’ll be able to identify any areas of your plan that may cause trouble.
For example, if you’ve got an early morning meeting, plan your day the night before.
Walk through it all – you wake up (2 alarms), shower, get dressed (having your clothes ready helps), make coffee (program your machine to make it for a set time), get your bag (by the door, packed and ready), and a final alarm reminds you to leave the house in the next 2 minutes. Easy!
Okay, so it might not be that easy if you’re not a very organized person, but the more you use and stick to alarms to help you get things done, the more automatic it will become.
2. Avoid distractions.
Distractions are the enemy of punctuality.
When you have limited time to do something or be somewhere, you cannot afford to waste precious seconds by turning your attention to other things.
The key here is to catch yourself in the act and promptly return your focus to the thing you need to do.
It’s about being conscious and mindful of your thoughts and actions.
This is a habit that comes with time. At first, you’ll find it hard to register when your mind has been taken away from the task at hand.
But each time you realize that you’ve been distracted, you’ll get better at catching the next one a little bit quicker.
3. Write it in your diary.
Some of us need to physically make a note of something in order to remember it.
It almost doesn’t seem real if it’s spoken about in a passing conversation, but once you’ve written it (in pen) in your diary, it really does exist.
Keep your diary with you at all times, even when you’re grabbing coffee with the girls.
This will help you make a note of anything that comes up while you’re chatting and means you’re more likely to write down a plan – and stick to it.
Go for a mini pocket notebook so you’re not weighed down!
4. Reverse the situation.
If you’re having trouble following through and actioning all of this, have a think about what being late means.
Reverse the situation and imagine it’s you who’s waiting – sat alone in a coffee shop unsure of whether to wait or just buy the coffee because your friend is always 20 minutes late.
Or waiting in a meeting room, agonizing about your presentation for an extra 10 minutes because your boss was too busy.
It’s not a great feeling, is it?
You’re probably imagining experiencing a bit of embarrassment (is it you that got it wrong, you don’t want to look silly on your own!), rejection (why don’t they care enough to want to see you?), and confusion (did you do something to upset them?).
Remember these feelings next time you’re making a plan and then make sure you follow through with what you promised.
And if you are the type of person who doesn’t think twice if someone else is late, just bear in mind that most people aren’t so laid back.
You may be perfectly content to wait, but you are in the minority. The majority of people probably find it quite annoying.
Hopefully our tips on how to be punctual have helped, and you now fully understand why it’s important to be on time.
You’ll probably notice that people treat you slightly differently the more events you arrive at on time…
…they’ll be friendlier and more open as you’ve shown you care and value them.
…they’ll give you more responsibility now that they know you can be trusted to take things seriously.
…and you’ll feel much better about yourself too!