Always running late? Do you keep telling yourself that you’ll be on time tomorrow? You’ll make it to the appointment on time next time. You’ll get to your lunch meeting a couple minutes early when you get together again.
The problem is that when you continue to promise yourself to be on time and continually fail, that’s not a mistake. That’s a habit.
Being late isn’t about you. You think it is, and that’s why you aren’t on time. You think it’s about the fact that you’re just so busy and you’ve just got so much going on that you can’t possibly be on time. But the reality is that you’re late because you’re thinking about yourself and what you need, rather than how your tardiness affects others.
Every minute you’re late to work, you’re taking away from the work you’ve promised your employer. Every time you’re late to a conference call, you’re showing the person on the other line that you’re unprofessional and disorganized. Every time you’re late to lunch, you’re telling the other person that your time is more valuable than theirs, and you don’t care if you’ve wasted minutes in their day.
Being late isn’t something you can put a stop to tomorrow. It’s something that needs to stop now. Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier. Be polite, but firm with others—end your conversation 15 minutes sooner, so you have time to get to your next appointment. Be realistic about how long your tasks are going to take, and then give yourself ten extra minutes in your schedule, rather than trying to cram every last minute.
Being on time is something that some are better at than others. But an easy way to improve is to put others first, to consider their needs before your own and to prioritize their schedules.
Try being three minutes early to everything this week, then shoot me an email and tell me how your experiment went!
As a speaker and author, Curtis Zimmerman has impacted over one million people with his life-changing messages and award-winning programs. Curtis is an expert at transforming organizations by inspiring individuals to live their lives at performance level.
Want to be inspired? Check out his podcast The Next 24 Hours.