Resolve to Stop Being Late in 2016

By Jim Houck

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – It’s less about what you might miss, and more about acknowledging the worth of other people’s time. Stop being late.

I like to be on time for things; maybe even to a fault. It’s a reasonable expectation, and a matter of respect, right? Everyone’s time is valuable, and everyone has other places to be and things to do. So if everyone is on time, every time, the world would simply be a better place. Right? Think of the chain reaction of productivity that would result from that. We’d all get more things done.

As someone who bills by the hour in my business, I’m hypersensitive to punctuality in the workplace. Arrive too early, and the client’s perception is your meter is running prematurely. Arrive too late, and the message you’re sending is you’re not prepared, not reliable and your time is more important than theirs.

For me, making a habit of arriving places on time involves following a simple algebraic formula: (X-10). Maybe it can work for you. Here’s how it goes.

I was scrambling recently to make it to a 1 o’clock meeting across town when a thought occurred that I’ve since implemented. And you know what, it works. And it’s so simple.

I left my office at 12:30 for this 1 o’clock meeting because I knew it would take about a half hour to get there. Pretty logical thinking, right? In algebraic terms, X+30=Y, where X is “departure time” and Y is “meeting time.”

As I was scrambling to get there I thought, you know what, if I would set my mental clock for a 12:50 meeting start, and leave 30 minutes prior to THAT time instead of the 1 o’clock meeting start time, I would not only assure I’d get there on time, but I’d avoid the added stress and anxiety associated with rushing. I’d probably even honk my horn at fewer slow drivers on the way.

So that’s what I do now. (X-10)+30=Y-10.

If I have a 1 o’clock meeting that takes 30 minutes to get to, in my mind it’s a 12:50 meeting that I have to leave at 12:20 to get to. I’m building in a little cushion time. Nothing excessive. Just 10 extra minutes to account for walking to my car, hitting an extra light or two on the way, finding a parking spot, etc.; things that are small individually, but potentially add up to being a few minutes late.

Those 10 minutes will ultimately lead to less stress and better preparation once I’m there. And more time to tap my watch and begrudge the ones who haven’t arrived yet.

Be 10 minutes early. Try it out. And do your part for world harmony.

Editor’s Note: The author, Jim Houck, is president of The Houck Agency, a Youngstown marketing and public relations firm. He can be reached at [email protected] or 330-554-5234.




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