Dan Kennedy, author of No B.S. Time Management For Entrepreneurs, emphasizes the importance of punctuality. He not only advises it from a time management standpoint, but also claims that everyone he has met who is consistently on time is successful, while those ignoring this discipline fail. He goes so far as to say, "Someone who cannot keep appointments on time, cannot keep scheduled commitments and cannot stick to a schedule should not be trusted." He quotes statistics that claim that more than 60 percent of employees in the U.S. frequently show up late for work. Does this mean that 60 percent of employees in the U.S. can't be trusted and are failures? Perhaps Kennedy can be accused of overkill, but the point is valid. When you are late for appointments, meetings or work, you show a lack of respect for other people's time as well as your own. And yet punctuality is a problem for many people. How can we ensure that we keep appointments by arriving on time? Here are a few suggestions:
- Make up your mind that you will be punctual from now on. In many cases lateness is caused by a lack of commitment to arrive on time. Have the right mindset.
- Record the commitment in your planner and also record the time you must leave the house or office in order to arrive on time.
- In carrying out step two, plan to arrive 5 to 10 minutes early.
- If you have a fair distance to travel, always allow more time than you think it will take. This is the same as scheduling more time for a task than you think it will take.
- Don't be trapped by the one last thing syndrome. If you're ready to leave and it’s still early, leave anyway. Utilize the time at the other end rather than trying to finish one more task before you leave.
- If you are not a morning person, but have early morning commitments, set the alarm a little earlier. Some of us may need to go to bed a little earlier to make this work.
When it comes right down to it, punctuality is a habit that can be developed. It takes great effort at first, but eventually simply happens. Habits are formed by repetition. If you want to acquire the habit of punctuality, you must repeat this behavior again and again.
How long does it take to change your behavior from one of tardiness to punctuality? The late Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho Cybernetics, is credited with saying it takes 21 days to form a habit. So you will have to muster all the willpower at your disposal, take advantage of the above list of suggestions, and persist until the habit is formed.
The habit of arriving on time does have its rewards. A quote attributed to speaker Ed Foreman in Kennedy's book is probably not overkill: “You can advance in most business organizations by doing three things: “show up; show up on time; and show up on time ready to work."