Let's face it, nobody likes to wait for someone. Being on time is a very important skill. Not only does being punctual demonstrate your organizational skills, but it also sends a sign of respect for the time you may be sharing or taking out of someone else’s day. There are many reasons people are late. Either they don’t measure time efficiently, they take on too many responsibilities or even in some cases, being on time is simply not a priority for them. Being on time is no easy task, but if you want to make it a thing of the past, here are a few tips that you can consider to help you prioritise your day and increase the likelihood of being on time.
Top 12 tips to help you be on time!
- Calculate the commute. Don’t just give a hazy time estimation – calculate the full-time taken to travel, including walking, transiting, waiting, travelling and locating.
- Technology is your friend. Record all your appointments, locations, the time taken to travel, etc in a centralized location. This can be your personal organizer or your mobile phone. Nowadays, technology has made this really easy.
- Be clear on the location and how to reach it. If it’s a new place you have never been to before, you can either a) go there before the appointment to familiarize yourself with the place b) schedule in enough buffer time to find the place on the day itself and/or c) check street directories and maps to pinpoint the exact location. People are often late because they have a hard time finding the place.
- Get ready beforehand. This includes your attires, your bag, your materials, etc. This prevents delay from trying to look for things in the last minute.
- Avoid the snooze button. Have you been late before due to oversleeping? Wake up immediately when the alarm rings – don’t give yourself any chance at all to renegotiate yourself to sleep! Oversleeping usually results from not having enough sleep – Be sure to give yourself sufficient sleep time the night before. For some power boosters, check out 21 Tips To Wake Up Early.
- Plan enough time for the task you are doing before. Usually, tardiness is a result of the domino effect – where the previous activity (or activities) overran. Be realistic in your time allocation. Use previous times taken as a good benchmark.
- Set an alarm and reminders. Sometimes, it’s possible to lose track of time even when you are trying to be conscious of it. Having an alarm lets you be more timely. Once the alarm rings, leave immediately without delay.
- Don’t drag on with your task when it’s time to leave. If your prior appointment or task cannot be finished in time, start wrapping it up and preparing follow-up plans. Be clear on where you are ending off so you can continue on at a different time later on.
- Keep your keys and travel necessities in the same place. Put these travel necessities in the same spot every day. When you return home in the evening, place them there. In the morning when you depart, get them from that spot.
- Travel in non-peak hours where/when possible. This prevents you from being delayed by traffic jams, crowds, queues, etc. If it is not possible to avoid that, include a generous amount of buffer time accordingly.
- Have backup plans. In case you do become late for some reason. The backup plan can be taking a faster but costlier mode of transport (e.g. taxi), picking out an alternative mode of travel, and so on.
- Be early. Undoubtedly, the most effective tip. Often, failed efforts to be on time stems from trying to arrive on the ‘dot’. Truth is, there are so many unpredictables that it’s impossible to arrive at the exact time. It’s much easier to arrive earlier.
If for some reason, you know you are definitely going to be late or have a good probability of being late despite all efforts to be on time, contact the person immediately as a form of good etiquette. This gives the person lead time to plan his/her schedule accordingly, rather than dropping him/her with the news at the last minute and wasting his/her time in the process.