What you're saying if you're always late

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As I struggled to get my kids out of the house on time…again, I decided I would use this as a teachable moment. So, once we were all in the car and headed down the road, I asked them this question: “Why is it important to be on time?” Their answers were all correct, but at the root of everything, I think the answer is stewardship. By stewardship I mean “The responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving” (dictionary.com). Time is worth caring for, preserving, or even protecting, depending on the situation. And when you don’t steward your time, you’ll be late, and when you’re late, you aren’t only wasting your time, you’re wasting other’s time as well. So what you’re saying if you are regularly late is “I don’t really care about your time, and I can’t manage my time either. Eventually people will expect you to be late, and if that’s the case, you better be really good at what you do, or you’ll have one foot out the door. Here’s three things to do today to be on time, all the time. 

  1. Give yourself five more minutes than usual for travel. Most of us check the time it will take to get somewhere, then walk out the door with exactly that much time until we’re supposed to be there. This results in you being late most of the time because you didn’t account for the time it would take to find a parking spot, and walk across the parking lot, not to mention any traffic or slow downs you might experience during the drive. 
  2. Don’t schedule meetings back to back. Give yourself at least 15 minutes in between meetings. There is always a conversation that needs to happen after a meeting, someone you need to follow up with. Or perhaps you send an email that would best be sent now, verses waiting until all your meetings are finished. If you space out your meetings, not only will you be on time, your brain can finish one set of thoughts and start the next set and you’ll be more effective in each meeting.
  3. Stay off your phone. Games and social media, while they have their place, can really distract you from what would be the most effective use of your time. Think about how many times you’ve sat in your car or on the toilet for way to long because you were scrolling or gaming.  I know, I’ve done it too.

If you’re always late, you’re ultimately saying, I don’t care about your time, or mine, and I won’t be effective as an employee. Let’s avoid that.

Andy Dykhouse