I have a friend who often comes late to gatherings and meetings held in his own home! He’ll come into the room, apologising for the ‘terrible traffic’, even though he’s simply had to walk down his own passage!
It’s an amusing joke amongst friends – but being consistently late can be annoying and frustrating for those who have to wait for you before they can start.
In some cultures around the world it’s quite acceptable to be late and people work around it, but if your progress and career depend upon your being reliable, dependable and professional, it’s vital to know how to be on time.
But how to do this??!!
The most useful way to learn how to manage your time better is to know when you have to be somewhere – and then to work backwards. If, for example, it’s an unavoidable fact that you need to be at work at 8.00 am, let’s start with this.
(And, if you have to be there at 8.00 am, it’s a good idea to plan to be there by 7.50 am, as this gives you an extra margin for error.)
Working backwards, if you need to be at at work at 7.50 am, calculate your travelling time from home to your destination. Make this the real time it takes, rather than some optimistic hope of how it would be in a perfect universe!
If you’re driving, look at the worst case scenario and factor in traffic delays and other possible hold-ups. If you take public transport, add in the time that it takes you to walk to the taxi rank, bus or train station.
This calculation will let you know what time you need to leave home.
When you know what time you need to leave home, work out how long you need to get ready in the morning. Factor in everything – all the people concerned, the preparations and realities – and this will let you know what time you need to get up.
Sleep-time and bed-time:
Again, working backwards, if you need to wake up at a certain time to get everything done, calculate what time you need to go to bed in order to get enough sleep to function well the next day.
Don’t underestimate how many hours of sleep you need. While there may be a few rare individuals who can survive on very few hours of sleep, many people in today’s world, including children, live in a permanently sleep-deprived state.
If you need to be asleep by a particular time in order to refresh and recharge yourself, work out what time you need to start getting ready for bed. Once you know the cut-off point for the day, you’ll know when to start turning off electronic devices and moving towards your bed-time routine.
It’s worth it to learn new habits
This may all sound easier-said-than-done, especially in our frenetic world when it’s almost become a badge of honour to be exhausted from overworking and endless activities, but it’s worth it to start changing your habits to improve your health, well-being, productivity and peace of mind.
This system can be applied to meetings or other events where your presence is expected at a certain time. If you need to be somewhere for training or a presentation within your building, it’s useless to start running down the passage with 5 minutes to spare, when it actually takes at least 10 – 15 minutes to get where you’re going! And it adds insult to injury when you arrive late and then still expect to run out for a cup of coffee!
Raise your standard of behaviour – it feels good!
Punctuality is generally seen as one of the hallmarks of a professional, organised, respectful, considerate, reliable and trustworthy person so it’s to your advantage to make some changes to improve the overall quality of your life.
And as someone remarked after the last blog: “It is truly amazing and empowering how you feel when you keep a new healthy habit going for a few days!” The first few days are often the hardest, but the positive benefits will encourage you to keep on going.