Call me old fashioned but I still believe punctuality is important. I get extremely irritated when someone keeps me waiting, even if it is just a minute or two. I do not believe I am alone in these feelings either. Unless you live on a tropical island or darkest Africa, punctuality is still required and expected by most of society, in our personal lives as well as business.
Being on time shows respect for your own time as well as that of others. It projects the image that you are reliable, dependable, diligent and disciplined. These are all good characteristics in a person or employee. It will make you more productive and will reduce stress.
Sure, it is not always easy to be punctual, especially given the frantic pace of modern life but it is important and it is worth it.
So how can you be more punctual? Let us look at 5 tips that will help you become more punctual.
- Plan Your Diary Carefully
It is simple really; if your meetings overlap or are even back to back on paper (or on your smartphone these days) it will be impossible to be punctual during the day. A tight schedule might give you the illusion of productivity but is a recipe for disaster. Allocate a reasonable buffer zone of 10 to 15 minutes between each appointment or meeting. Be clear at the beginning of the meeting what the end time is. This is not rude but a confident way of showing that you respect everyone’s time.
Be realistic about how long it will take to reach your next appointment if you have to travel. Make sure you know the route and allow for potential traffic issues. Leave some room for error or the unforeseen.
- Set Reminders
Now that you have a realistic, achievable schedule set reminder. Technology makes this very easy. Set multiple reminders in case of a sudden distraction that can throw you off course.
- Avoid Email, Voicemail and Messages
Multitasking is a myth, it seldom works. While many people believe, it makes us more productive, this simply is not true. Like with other tasks, build time into your diary for emails and messages. It is far too likely that incoming messages will distract you from whatever it is you are supposed to be doing at the time.
- Use Downtime Productively
The benefit of getting to a meeting early is that it gives you time to do final preparations, catch your breath and be 100% ready for everything. Feeling relaxed and confident at your meeting is something to appreciate. If you have additional time, you can do some work on other projects or work that needs to be done so it is not time wasted.
The alternative of arriving late will only put you on the back foot and most likely lead to an unproductive meeting.
- Plan Ahead and Be Prepared
I spoke earlier about the importance of creating a realistic and achievable schedule. If circumstances change, take action immediately to prevent any issues. It is much more professional to change an appointment than to be late or not make it at all.
When you do get to the meeting or appointment, ensure you are fully prepared. Do not leave anything to chance, especially when it comes to technology. Even if you arrive early but there is a printer issue or a cable missing, it will throw you off balance completely and ruin what could have been a great presentation. Check and double check. It is always best to be self-sufficient when it comes to equipment and material. Where this is not possible, make 100% sure everything you need is in place.
Make use of these practical tips that will allow you to be more punctual. It will reduce stress in your life, improve your image and make your daily interactions more productive and beneficial to all parties. You won’t regret it.