Being On Time Matters!
Don’t believe me? Just ask the many who have been terminated because of their lack of discipline to be on time. Sadly, I see this in the younger generation more and more.
When I played baseball professionally, it was team policy from the manager that for every minute you were late on the field it was $100, no questions asked. Dressed and on the field at 4:00pm meant 4:00pm – NOT 4:01pm. Trust me, that concept taught you time management, and the importance of being on time and punctuality very quickly!
In short: people who are habitually late (or are late even once, when it counts) project incompetence, self-centeredness, and even a lack of integrity.
First, it’s important to see being on time as part of your whole attitude towards time. You’re never going to be on time if you haven’t put into practice a set of good time management action steps.
That means, for example, having a central place where your time commitments are recorded, whether that’s an online Calendar, Outlook, Smartphone, Day-planner or just an index card with your schedule on it. To be on time you have to know where you have to be and when, but it’s a step a lot of people try to skip – they want to hold everything in their heads. Bad idea!
Secondly, being on time requires a bit of an attitude adjustment. A lot of the time we let ourselves show up late because the event we’re showing up to isn’t all that important to us. Try this: don’t schedule events that aren’t that important to you. Use that time for things that are important to you. I know, there are a lot of things in your life that may feel obligatory, Either make those things important to you, or figure out how to cut them from your calendar.
Below are a few action steps you can take to manage your time better and be more disciplined with you time.
Don’t check your email or voicemail right before you leave – That “last quick check” will almost always take more time than you think – which is, after all, what you’re hoping for. If you thought there’d be nothing important in your email, you wouldn’t bother checking. Avoid doing this. It will get you every time.
Plan for trouble – Always add 25% to your time estimate to get anywhere or do any task. If you think it takes 30 minutes to get to work, give yourself 40. If you need 12 working hours to finish a project, give yourself 15. The worst thing that could happen is that you get a nice “atta boy” – where you’re always ahead of schedule and everyone thinks you’re a miracle worker. Plan for trouble!
Set up the night before – If you are not a morning person, you will have a hard time getting going in the morning, so make sure you get organized the night before. Lay out your clothes, put your keys, wallet, etc. in tomorrow’s pants pockets or your bag, load up your bag with whatever material you’ll need in the morning, put your lunch together, and so on. In the morning, wake up, shower, get dressed, grab your stuff, and go.
Set you alarm clock – This is elementary, however many people who don’t value being on time won’t practice this simple life discipline. Meetings and conference calls have been missed and jobs lost because of this simple, yet profound discipline. Set your alarm clock 5-10 minutes before your intended time to get out of bed and don’t hit the snooze button. Get up and get going. Your day and job depend on it.
Fill your gas tank when it reaches 1/4 tank – I made this a priority last week. I knew I had to leave my home early to get to a baseball game I was scouting. So on the way home the night before I stopped to fill up my gas tank so I would not have to stop in the early morning when I left my home. Don’t let an empty gas tank make you late for anything. That is a poor excuse. Fill up whenever you reach 1/4 and you’ll never have to make an emergency stop at a gas station during your commute. (Plus, I’m told it’s better for your engine – whether that’s true or not, I have no idea.)
Arrive early – My dad was famous for saying; “I’d rather be late at the golden gate than to arrive at hell on time.” I encourage young baseball scouts just starting out to be at the ballpark 2 hours early. You can get set up, prepared, gather information and get organized. Same is true in any line of work. Arrive early. Get organized and prepared to start your day. Don’t be the employee that shows up at 7:55am when your work day requires you to be there at 8:00am. Be there 15-20 minutes early. It will help you and will be noticed by those you are accountable too.
Be punctual and be on time. Time management is a vital part of your life and career. Tell your time where to go – or someone else will. Remember, If you fail to plan – then plan to fail.
Have a great week!
Are there any other action steps you practice to manage your time more efficiently and effectively?