Be on Time!
Are you on time? 20% of people are chronically late. And the other 80% are impacted by them!
On this episode of Coffee with Colleen, I offered you seven tips to always be on time!
Do you know people who are chronically late? I do. The people you always know are going to be late. The ones who you tell you’re leaving at 3 pm, when in reality you plan to leave at 4 pm?
Most chronically late people don’t do it on purpose. Most of them don’t enjoy being late. Very rarely do people think, “Yeah, I’m going to be late on purpose so I can make an entrance!”
If that’s the case, then there are other issues going on with them!
Experts say that being consistently late sends a message to your friends, your family, your co-workers, the people you’re trying to impress that you are:
- Easily distracted
My dad raised us, God rest his soul, to always be 15 minutes early.
Does that mean you show up and knock on someone’s door 15 minutes early?
You plan to arrive 15 minutes early in case there’s traffic. In case you have a flat tire. In case you hit every red light along the way.
And if you do get there 15 minutes early, guess what? You can sit down the block, or in the parking lot, and do some meditation. Answer some e-mail. Check your Facebook. Do whatever other little things need to be done.
Dad raised us to show consideration for other people by always being there when you say you’re going to be there.
To help you do that, here are seven tips to always be on time.
Number 1: Admit it if you tend to run late.
It’s frustrating when some people won’t accept the responsibility that they tend to run late. They’ll blame circumstances — like their children or the traffic.
If you’re occasionally late — and, of course, if it’s true — you can use those excuses.
But consider this: when’s the last time you were on time? Are you “on time” only half the time?
If you’re not sure, ask family and friends, “Hey, am I late? Or am I on time?”
They’ll tell you if they love you.
Number two: Determine “why” you’re late.
Some people are adrenaline junkies. They get high on all that racing around or running around from event to event on their calendar.
They get a rush from rushing around!
It may also be your temperament. So check out The Four Temperaments course.
Find out your temperament!
Other times, people use their time as a power play. That’s just about being egotistical. These people think, “I am so important that other people will wait for me.” So they will be late on purpose.
Sometimes you’re late because you’re chronically overbooked. You have too much on your calendar so you can’t get from one event to the next without being late because you have too much going on.
Or it may be bad time management. There’s also my course, Putting Your Day on Autopilot.
That course is currently closed. But I teach how to have most of your day “done for you” by developing routines.
Number three. Stop poly-tasking!
You’ve heard of multitasking? There’s really no such thing. It’s Poly-Tasking! It’s more than doing two or three things at the same time — we’re trying to do 18 things at the same time!
You’re trying to do way too many things. So the first step is to learn to say “No.”
So people who multitask, or poly-task, are usually the ones that are late.
Some people say, “Yes, but I can multitask!”
We’re fooling ourselves. Because your brain cannot think of two things at the exact same time.
It’s like saying you’re going to look at one wall on your right, and at the same time that you’re looking at the wall on the opposite side of the room.
You can glace back and forth between the two walls rapidly in a millisecond. But you can not focus on two walls at the same time.
It’s the same thing with your brain. Your brain can’t focus on two things at the same time.
Some studies say that once you’re focused on something and you’re distracted, it takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to get to peak focus again on that same topic.
Put down your electrical devices and prioritize! Put “being on time” in your “Urgent and important” quadrant (which we talk about in the Auto Pilot course). Make being on time urgent and important.
Number four. Preparation. Routines. Rituals. Habits.
Prepare to be on time, put it on your list, and make it a priority. Set a timer.
There are so many different apps — whether it be your maps app on your phone, or the Waze app — that if you put in your address and the time you want to be there, the Waze app will tell you when to leave.
Use electronics to help you to be on time.
Prepare. Make sure that you’re not running around like a chicken with your head cut off, as grandma used to say, at the last minute looking for your keys.
Everything has a place, and everything needs to be put back in its place.
Put your keys, your wallet, or your purse in the same spot. Decide what you’re going to wear the night before.
Number five. Murphy’s Law.
You know Murphy’s Law: if something could go wrong, it will. Prepare for running into traffic. That there may be an accident. That you will hit all the red lights along the way.
If you prepare for that ahead of time, you’ll know that you need to leave early and prepare it.
Plan on being there 15-minutes early so that you can sit in the driveway (or sit down the road) and answer email.
Number Six. No “magical thinking”.
Some people are very optimistic (some say “unrealistic”) and that’s why they’re late.
The truth is, they lack time management. They’re adrenaline junkies run around a lot at the last minute but still say, “No problem. I can be there.”
Even if it’s an hour away, they may say they’ll be there in 20 minutes.
Be careful of this “magical thinking” and instead assume things are going to take you 20% longer to accomplish.
This also means deadlines: like a writer’s deadline, or a deadline for a project at work.
Like this scene from Star Trek:
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Yeah, well, I told the Captain I’d have this analysis done in an hour.
Scotty: How long will it really take?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: An hour!
Scotty: Oh, you didn’t tell him how long it would *really* take, did ya?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Well, of course I did.
Scotty: Oh, laddie. You’ve got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.
Researchers call it “planning fallacy”. People tend to underestimate how long a task is going to take them. Probably because we have “magical thinking” — optimistic thinking that we can get it done if nothing goes wrong.
For example. This morning I knew that in normal circumstances, I can get ready for this show in 20 minutes. But this morning, since it’s been a month since I’ve done the show, I planned a full hour! And it’s a good thing I did, too, because many things went wrong.
So if you think something’s going to take you 30-minutes, give an extra 20 percent and plan 36 to 40 minutes.
Number seven. It’s OK to be early.
Usually, that’s the first thing that somebody says to me: “Yeah, but if I plan to be there 15-minutes early, isn’t that rude?”
Well, yes — If you went into their house!
Being early doesn’t mean going in. You can sit in the parking lot. You can call your mother. Or send your mom a text. (I’m sure she’d appreciate that!) Or do some self-care by setting your timer and doing some meditation. Sit in the car and meditate instead of playing video games on your phone!
It could be time for you just to sit, take some deep breaths, and relax.
What do you do to help you be on time?