Punctuality: So Rare, It Might Just Be A Super Power!

I’ll admit that this primarily bothers me because of how I was raised. My mother made sure I was ALWAYS on time everywhere I was supposed to be. Most of the time, I was 10-15 minutes early. After years of having this principle drilled into me, to this day I’m pretty much always on time. The first thing you notice when you are perpetually on time? The fact that hardly anyone else ever is.

This really comes down to a matter of personal values. People who show up late are basically saying that they value their time considerably more than they value yours. It is perfectly acceptable to them that they waste 10,15, 20 or more minutes of your time waiting for them so they can spend a little more time getting ready, make a stop for some food or have a longer phone conversation.

I’m sure most people aren’t bothered by the more mild cases of lateness. No one will get sour over five or 10 minutes here or there. If you start making people wait for 30 minutes or more without a reason they might get snippy. The fact is, since everyone shows up late, they don’t tend to think about those couple of minutes. Yet if you show up late and make them wait on you, they would undoubtedly be offended that you are wasting their time. I mean, how dare you value your time more than theirs. That contradicts the fact that they really know that their time is more important.

More than just a matter of respect and courtesy, it is a matter of efficiency. If you figure the average person is 10 minutes late, it doesn’t seem like a big deal at the time. Let’s say that you have one arranged meeting time every day of the week. Perhaps it is a coffee date with a friend, a meeting with an employer or supervisor, dinner with a family member, a party…etc. If you wait those 10 minutes every day for those people to show up, it ends up being 70 minutes a week. 70 minutes a week multiplied by the 52 weeks in the year comes to 3,640. I’m going to scroll that back to 3,500 to account for the inevitable fact you wont be scheduling things every day. If the average person lives for 80 years, and about 70 of them you are at least moderately responsible for making appointments that comes to 245,000 minutes.

That is about 4,083 hours.
… or 170 days.
…or almost half of a year.

That is almost six months of your life that would be wasted. It really adds up. You can accomplish a lot in six months. Maybe those few minutes don’t really matter to you. Maybe you don’t care to much if people show up late on you. That doesn’t mean you should do it to other people. It isn’t hard to stick to an appointment. If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, just do it!

It is important to also look at how this makes you look. Maybe your friends won’t judge you too harshly for wasting a little of their time, but other people very well might. In a work sense, it is very irresponsible to show up late for meetings or the job itself. It makes it look like you either don’t value your position or don’t care about the meeting or job. No one wants an irresponsible employee.

Learn to budget your time accordingly. This is a skill that will come in handy for a lot of other things in life as well.

The moral here: Show a little courtesy and stick to your word!



Posted on February 9, 2014, in Daily Rantings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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