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How to be More Punctual

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Understand what a lack of punctuality means to others and what to do about it

Thanks for finally showing up! I've been here since... well, whatever date it says this article was published.

Punctuality isn't just about being on time - strange as that sounds.

There are many little ways to disrespect others, from continually talking across them when they're trying to speak to forgetting about something they'd told you is important to them. Lots of ways that relay that special little signal: "You don't really matter!"

Of course, everyone is late sometimes due to unavoidable circumstances - bloody traffic! - and being obsessive about punctuality can bring its own problems. But punctuality becomes a problem when being late is habitual. Lack of punctuality forms an image in the minds of those exposed to it - and if people see you as unpunctual, that'll seriously disadvantage you. Here's how:

Be more punctual to enhance productivity

Constant unpunctuality isn't just rude or inconsiderate; it is also a communication, just as your body language transmits messages about what you are like. Tardiness says:

  • I am sloppy, unorganized, and undisciplined.
  • I am unable to think ahead.
  • I am unrealistic in that I underestimate how long things will take.
  • I am selfish.
  • I am not committed to this relationship/friendship/project.

I'm not saying you are these things; I'm saying that these are the signals sent by bad timekeeping. Unpunctuality is also an ineffective way of going about things and can block your success. Meetings may have to be rushed, important relationships damaged, and work schedules messed up.

What can you do to be more punctual?

Better punctuality for better living

Well, obviously better planning is vital. If you need to meet someone at 3.00, don't aim for 3.00 - aim for 2.45. Think about what might prevent you from getting to your appointment on time and allow for these possible hurdles (sometimes thinking negatively is positive).

Another way to ramp up motivation for better punctuality is to strongly put yourself in the shoes of the person(s) having to wait around for you. Empathy is the capacity to see through other people's eyes in such a way that you can better understand their point of view and needs.

Sit down and strongly imagine being the other person who has to wait around for you. Notice the irritation, the boredom, the frustration, and not getting on with other stuff.

Ultimately, being more punctual is going to make you more respected and more productive. Everybody wins.

Published by Mark Tyrrell - in Job Skills