Stop Being Late: Time Management for Tardy People

Here’s a nice article on 5 Ways to Stop Being Late.  Made me start thinking about punctuality.  A quiet amusement of mine is to watch the expression of people who arrive late for my time management seminars. Tail between the legs, these people shuffle in sheepishly mumbling something about traffic, while their friends tease, “How can you be late for a time management class?”

The number one complaint I receive from managers who hire me to coach their staff on performance is something around “the inability to meet deadlines, is always late, is constantly running behind, or he/she forgot.” There are actually three types of people I see:

1.      “Late” people are typically perpetually late, for everything. 

2.      “On time” people typically arrive a minute or two ahead or behind the goal. 

3.      “Early” people are rare and generally arrive early to everything. 

People are much more irritated by lateness than we ever know; it can dampen everything from promotions and raises to friendships. Late people crowd us, physically and mentally, all the time. We all hate the fact that their lateness undoes our schedule and disrupts our day. Showing up late for work or sending something in late, no matter how well done, still means a black mark against you.

I’m an Early, not because I’m so incredibly productive, but because I’ve discovered the benefits in doing so. For one of your productivity goals, I’d like to encourage you to become an Early. Why is it important to be early?

·        You get the first choice of many things.

·        You gain admiration and respect.

·        You are able to relax and not sweat.

·        You get good press and publicity.

·        You get time while waiting to relax or read.

Being an Early makes you look competent and lets others know you can be depended on. Being a Late, however, makes people wonder if you’ll come through this time. You’ll always be bringing up the rear, never totally trusted, no matter how skilled you are. Even if you’re on “on time,” that’s fairly typical…boring? It just doesn’t stand out. It’s okay…just expected…yawn. Don’t be simply “average.”

LATE says, “I can’t make deadlines.”  EARLY says, “I don’t need deadlines.”

LATE says, “I’m out of control.” EARLY says, “I’m in control.”

LATE says, “I can’t look beyond the moment.” EARLY says, “I look ahead.”

So how do you become an Early? It has nothing to do with setting your watch five minutes fast and “fooling” yourself, because psychologically, you know it’s five minutes fast and make up for it anyway. Keep your clocks on the correct time. It’s less about time management and more about planning. In fact, this simple, inexpensive principle will actually prevent 50% or more of your “time management” problems.

Instead of thinking, “I begin speaking at 9:00 AM,” my thoughts are this: “I should plan on arriving at 8:00 AM to set up and get prepared.” Then I have to figure out how long it should take me to get there at eight, not nine! If I do arrive early and have some “free” time, I’m prepared.  I have bills to pay, magazines to peruse, or thank you letters to write. Before you relax each night, have your clothes selected, school papers signed, lunches made, briefcase packed, and schedule outlined.

Best of all, become an Early and you won’t have “deadlines.” They will become unnecessary because you’ve already completed things early. Deadlines were made for people who would not get things done without it. Work for the completion of a project or task, not for the deadline. Deadlines are often irrelevant, because the task gets put off until the deadline when it could have been done much sooner. Telling yourself you’re “more creative under pressure” is just an excuse to procrastinate and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.



  1. Daily Report for May 31, 2007

    Team Collaboration Livescribe Mobile Computing … Livescribe announced a paper-based computing platform, whereby users write with a special pen on specially-printed paper and where the audio content in the environment is captured and cued to the place…

  2. What does it mean when you boss wants you leave on time??? Unfortunately you have work to do and it appears that he may not understand the job load. He does not respoect the work of an accountant.