The Cost of Unpunctuality


Do you know someone who always write “on my way” and is already ten minutes late? Or always forgets to meet deadlines? I often wonder when do arriving late to meetings, start events past the appointed time, or simply be untimely became fashionable? More important - who “invented” that it is acceptable?

More often in our overscheduled, overcommitted, super hyper society, we get to observe this behavior constantly. However, people do not realize the individual and collective negative consequences. When we are late, we show our worst professional skills, lack of emotional intelligence, create bad impressions and horrendous reputations. Being untimely projects that we are disorganized, lack of respect to our time and of others, and poor meticulousness.

A few days ago, I had a meeting with an entrepreneur I am advising. Although already late, she called me on two occasions to advise she would arrive late. I reminded her that we had schedule forty minutes, as I had a prospective commitment. She tried humoring me, explaining me that the reason was because “she had too many goals, for her limited time”. She also advise me to go late to my next commitment with my best smile. It is pointless to say, I was completely offended and flagger blasted. Does she realize her wrong doing and the effect her behavior will have in the efficiency, effectiveness and consistency of her business?

As I had lost all my words and became mute, my only “come back” was to remind her that a major component of a business rapid growth can be attributed to carefully cultivate partnerships and collaboration. The best way to find them was by; prioritizing on eradicating all the noise that kept her off track to fuel growth; create dream results for her meetings -including detailed framework questions and not phones allowed.

But then, we have those who continuously joking admit that they will be late to their own funeral. Let’s be reminded that been recognized as untimely and unreliable is negative - and has severe personal and professional cost. Tardiness is a terrible virtue.

My simple and practical techniques to promote punctuality:

1. Arrive 15 to 30 minutes before the engagement. Others will begin to catch and even copy our good behavior. You become the “Master of Punctuality” and believe me, that is a great thing.

2. If you have a meeting, and the guest arrive is late - only provide the person the time remaining in the scheduled time. This will make others eradicate the habit of being late.

3. Do not change your agenda for the “unpunctual”. If your first commitment is late, ensure to adjust and continue your day as planned. Do not look bad, because others make you look bad.

4. Organize days ahead. If you must submit a presentation in seven days, strategize and make an analysis of how many hours it will take you. Set a goal to have it ready for one day ahead of the deadline. Scheduling working two or three hours before the set date can do the trick.

5. The night before – have at the door, on your bag or in the car, everything you need for the next day. And it means everything. Go through the following day in details and reach out all the necessary things. You will not be delay the next morning right before getting out the door.

6. Separates time between commitments for calls, emergencies, traffic, lack of parking - are events which, on average, take 20% of our days.

Remember that time is the most important human capital we have - is worth much and is in danger of extinction. The key is to organize and remember the effect that has on our reputation.



EnglishCristina Hermida