Brief Thoughts on Punctuality

I agree with Max Strom’s piece on punctuality; he argues that running late is not a time management issue, but rather a life span management and commitment integrity issue. Briefly,

Here are some of the common excuses and myths for running late:

  • I don’t want to interrupt the flow of what is going on, such as a great conversation.
  • I can’t stand arriving early and having nothing to do.
  • I don’t remember to plan out how much time it actually takes me to get somewhere.
  • People really don’t mind so much if I’m late. The only people who mind are people with control issues; so it’s their problem, not mine.
  • I am very spiritual and am concerned with higher things.

What you may be unaware of:

  • You have probably lost friends over this issue and are not aware of it because they did not tell you.
  • You have definitely lost business because of it.
  • Most people resent and are offended by being kept waiting. They feel like you do not respect or care about them. Or it makes them not trust you.
  • People feel that if you are unreliable in this way, you are unreliable in other ways.
  • If you cause your spouse to be late with you on a regular basis, your husband or wife will probably feel that you are not only disrespectful of him or her by running late but you are also embarrassing your spouse by causing him or her to be late as well. This syndrome can be a source of great irritation to an otherwise compatible relationship.
  • You may have a fear of success, and running late is a form of self-sabotage.

He explains:

In my case, my habit of running late was a form of self-sabotage as it caused me to suffer as well as inconvenience those waiting for me. But for some people the cause of this issue is different. I know someone, for example, who is chronically late, but it causes no stress in her whatsoever. Running late may be a passive-aggressive way of controlling those around you. But whatever the cause of your lateness, there is always damage done to others and to yourself. I have noticed that with only a few exceptions, it is the most successful and busiest business people I know who are almost always the first to arrive to my workshops. In other words, those with the busiest, most complex, and high-pressure careers, who have the best excuses for running late, understand the value of promptness and live by it.

It is a pet peeve of mine when people run late. What I try to do is covered by one of Max’s advice bullets: factor in all the time that won’t make you late and then add twenty to thirty minutes to get there earlier. Bring a book, laptop, or whatever else and arrive EARLY. This framework has worked for me for most of my life.

Highly recommend reading in its entirety.

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