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How To Be Punctual And Why – 5 Actionable Tips

How To Be Punctual And Why – 5 Actionable Tips

“I will be there in 15 minutes”, you said. But you know very well that you need at least 30 minutes or more. You had no need to lie, but you did. If you told the truth, nobody would be waiting, but you didn’t. Why?

In this article, you will learn the importance of punctuality. You assume you know the damage caused by being late. After you read through you will realize how mistaken you were. There is a significant impact on your growth, relationship and long term goals if you arrive late frequently. You will gain an understanding of the impact caused and learn ways to overcome the chronic habit of being late.

This article is ‘Step 3 – Being Late: Surprising damage that you are totally unaware of‘ of the final phase: Transforming into a productive superhuman of the 3 phase transformation into superhuman productivity. You can begin right from step 1 by accessing the index here – 3 Phase Transformation into Living Your Dreams.

To understand the purpose behind the activity I recommend you to read through the article. But, for the busy bees, you can go directly to the exercise.

Rushing because late

“I will be there in 15 minutes.”

I am sure you have heard the above sentence, haven’t you? You know a lot of people who are late for every occasion. Or are you the person who is always late?

Whether it is you yourself or your friend, all latecomers have one thing in common. They have a backpack like a trekker, filled with reasons accumulated over the million occasions they have been late for. Whether it is jam-packed traffic, having to drop a friend or the alarm not sounding, a justification is ready.

Being late once in a while is normal. We always have unexpected traffic, a flat tire, an unforeseen task showing up and so on. If your practice of being late has become habitual and the reasons mentioned have become an everyday story, you have a problem to solve.

The mindset of punctuality

Being punctual starts in the mind. Being late has less to do with the circumstances you face. It is said – Punctuality is the politeness of Kings. Whether you are on time or late depends on what is in your mind. If you want to be on time, you will find a way. On the other hand, if you believe it is ok to be a little late, you will assume the circumstances are causing you to be late.

The secret to effective time management starts with punctuality. This applies both at work and outside work.

Are you the person who shows up late when meeting friends? Do you answer a phone call saying “I will be there in 15 minutes” when you are well aware that you need more than 30 minutes to make it?

Being late is both a habit and a disease, a contagious one. With time, people start showing up late for your meetings, because they know you will be late anyway. Showing up late at every occasion is also called chronic lateness syndrome.

How others look at you for not honoring time commitments

Honor time commitments

Do you know what being late says about you? Let’s take an example and look at the other side of the story.

If you have an appointment with your dentist at 11 AM and he shows up only at 11:30 AM, aren’t you irritated? Don’t you feel what was the need for an appointment if he cannot make it on time? Don’t you feel you are wasting your time while the dentist is valuing his time more than yours?

Being late is disrespectful

That is exactly how others feel when you are late. Being late is disrespectful.

If you cannot honor a time commitment, it is impossible for you to be effective at managing time. If you are late on a daily basis it implies two things.

  • One, lacking the discipline to show up on time
  • Two, lack of respect for the time of the other individual/s

When you repeat being late enough number of times, you will end up being a person who is not taken seriously. If people joke about your late coming habits, do not be proud of yourself.

The biggest impact of being late on a daily basis

If all the above-stated of being late were not bad enough, here is the most important damage you cause to your own self every time you are late.

Every time you do not honor your word, you subconsciously lose respect for yourself. The more you do it, the more you convince your mind that it is acceptable to be late.

Over time, your mind learns that not honoring a time commitment is a common occurrence. Soon, the mind translates the same belief into the goals you set for yourself. You mentally convince yourself that being late with your goals is acceptable. Final Result – You keep postponing your goals forever.

Does this strike a chord now?

Remember, every time you show up late, you are hampering your own self more than anything else.

If you have trouble managing your time well, start being punctual with everything. Effective time management is more of a habit, a mindset, and a lifestyle. It is not a process to follow.

Be punctual

You do not need to read a book or hear some expert advice to be punctual. It is plain common sense. If you are anticipating traffic, leave a little early. If you do not always wake up at the first alarm, set a second alarm. You already know what it takes to be punctual. You just need the discipline of applying what you know in practice.

Scenarios where it is acceptable to be late and when it is not

We will get to the exercise of making sure you are always on time henceforth. Before we get there, let us consider the scenarios when it is acceptable to be late and when it is not.

The Late Comer with No-Dependency:

If it makes no difference to anybody or the situation if you are late, it could be acceptable to be late. For example, if your friend’s circle is catching up for a party in the evening, it is acceptable to be late.

This is because your late arrival is not halting the stream of events. Your friends can get started and you can join them a little later. Though it is recommended to never be late for your own good as mentioned earlier, at least no other person in the room is offended because you did not respect their time.

The Late Comer with Dependency:

If the situation requires your presence to get started or to proceed, it is unacceptable to be late. For example:

  • You are meeting one on one
  • You are a part of a meeting which has multiple people who can start without you but your input is required for the meeting to be effective
  • You are going for a party with a big friends circle like mentioned in the early case, but you are the one responsible for getting the booze
  • You are a part of the meeting where your input is not crucial, but you walk in late, scramble and find your seat, distracting the flow of the meeting

Exercise: The vow of punctuality

Vow of punctuality

As an exercise, you will make a vow to be bang on time for a week from now. You will never be late again for the duration you promise. 10 minutes late is not normal anymore, it is late. Whether you are the boss or a subordinate, you have no right to assume that your time is more important than anybody else’s. So here are some tips to stop being a habitual latecomer.

Tips to stop arriving late

Tips to stop being late

1. Inform the concerned person that you will be late:

Inform about being late

If you are going to be any late than 5 minutes from the schedule, you owe the other side a text or a phone call informing that you will be late and why.

If you are wondering, can you inform the other party and be late on a daily basis? Sure, try that out. I can guarantee you, if you have an ounce of self-respect, you will stop being late. Or your guilt of being late time and again will refrain you from informing altogether.

2. Accept the fact that you are late because of you:

Accept your mistake of being late

There are two categories of latecomers. First, the ones who know they are late but do not give a rat’s ass about their problem. In fact, they might even be proud of giving out an impression of having things to do. Bullshit! If you are one among them, do know that people are already frustrated with this stupid habit of yours. No one admires you for it and you have annoyed enough people. Get rid of the stupid habit.

Second, the ones who are late but believe it is for one reason or another. This category of people believes the traffic, the extra work which popped up or the friend who bumped into them was the reason for the delay. It is never themselves who were the cause of being late. If you are one among them, remember it was your call to start just on time to have no buffer for traffic. Who made the decision to spend time talking to the friend who bumped into you when you knew you would be late?

Leave a comment on which category of latecomers you belong to. If you belong to the first category, leave a comment Category 1. If you belong to the other, leave a comment Category 2. I am curious.

Irrespective of which category you belong to, you are the reason for being late, period. The others also face the same traffic and do not have a helicopter(unless your friends are high profile, which is unlikely if you are a chronic latecomer), others have friends they bump into too.

You are late only because you have made up a mental time range which you believe is acceptable to be late.

For some it is 15 mins, for some others, it is 30 minutes and for the chronic latecomers, it can even be hours. Based on the mental time window you have set for yourself, you plan your departure accordingly and finally blame the circumstance. It was never the circumstance but your thought process which caused you to be late.

3. Throw all the excuses out the window:

No excuses

If you are a habitual latecomer, the excuses you are making are only excuses to your own self. Others do not give a damn about why you are late. They are frustrated because you are late and the reason makes no difference because they know better than to trust your reasons anyway.

4. Remind yourself of losing respect and put yourself in other’s shoes:

Dont lose respect

Every time you encounter a situation where you are delaying your departure, remind yourself that if you were on the other side how annoyed you would be. Also, remember every time you do this, you lose a little respect; some respect from yourself and some respect from the other person waiting.

Over a period of time, you will have no respect to lose for your punctuality because you would have lost it all.

5. Stop procrastinating the departure:

Leave early without procrastinating

If you are chronically late, you usually have a barrier that delays you from taking the first step.

You are late for the meeting because you do not want to get off the bed. You are late for the gym because you do not want to change into the gym outfit. You are late for the party because you do not want to make the choice of clothes to wear.

Whatever is the barrier, if you overcome it, the rest of the sequence of being on time will follow. You can break the barrier by using a countdown. For example, if you are lazy to change into the gym outfit, do a countdown 3…2…1 and just do it. The countdown helps in overcoming the barrier because you are working with a deadline now.

time management tips how to stop being late


To summarize this, being punctual is a lifestyle. Learning how to stop being late is more of a mindset than tips to follow because you already know what you need to do be punctual.

If you try to be punctual only for important meetings but keep your Uber driving waiting for 10 minutes, you will never be punctual. It is more of a mindset where you make a firm decision to both spoken and unspoken time commitments. The more you respect other’s time, the more you gain respect. When you follow this with discipline, the more people will consider you as a benchmark of punctuality.

Make punctuality an every moment habit. The more you look at your punctuality as a long term problem than an occasional symptom, the sooner you will overcome it.

This article is ‘Step 3 – Being Late: Surprising damage that you are totally unaware of‘ of the final phase: Transforming into a productive superhuman of the 3 phase transformation into superhuman productivity. You can begin right from step 1 by accessing the index here – 3 Phase Transformation into Living Your Dreams.

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