Success Habit # 9 Be on time every time – or phone in
“If you’re not ten minutes early, you’re fifteen minutes late” attributed to Vince Lombardi, 1913-1970

The cost of lateness in business is measured in dollars, lost production, decreased morale and lost opportunities. A study in the UK valued work tardiness at £9B per year in 2013 and whilst the most common reasons for lateness were traffic and transport related, a high level of people said it was tiredness or unforeseen circumstances like leaving something behind and having to retrieve it. It may not surprise you that people who are late are usually always late, and that people who are on-time are usually always on-time.

But why is this the case?

There has been ample research done into the amount of lost time and its impact on business but little research into the reason behind the reasons for being late. One researcher, behavioural psychologist Dr Cecilia d’Felice, author of ‘Dare to be you’ – believes no-one likes to be late, but there is often an underlying reason why they are perpetually late.

Diana De Lonzor, author of ‘Never Be Late Again’ – believes that chronically tardy people don’t like to be early. They have every intention of being on-time, but they never make it. They are either trying to get as much done as possible all the time, so they fit too much in, or they subconsciously get a thrill out of running in at the deadline with no time to spare, and this never works for them.

I can see how not wanting to be early can cause you to be late, and it makes sense that a tardy person’s intention is not to waste everyone’s time, but it amazes me that people rush to get more done than can be done and get an adrenaline rush from it!
It does explain however, why these people never phone ahead to inform others who are expecting them – they are flat out trying to fit too much in, and they still think they are going to make it on time right up to the deadline!

So, can we fix it? – Yes we can!

Step 1. Decide that you are going to do something about it – like many things, admitting you have a problem is the first step and then committing to doing something about it. As always, plan your work and work your plan.

Step 2. Practice measuring time – understand that the passage of time is different for different people and relearn how much you can do in 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc.

Step 3. Plan to be early every-time – if you plan to be on-time and you are continually late, change your plan. Try planning to be 5 minutes early.

Step 4. Build-in extra time – when you are trying to plan your movements, build in some extra time before your deadlines to allow for the unforeseen circumstances.

Step 5. Be happy with early – many tardy people struggle with planning to be early and building in extra time because they hate being early. Switch this around by planning to use your early moments in a positive way. You could check your social networks, read an article or listen to your favourite music – anything but make it positive.

It’s easy to be on time when you really want to. You’re never going to miss that flight to Europe for your dream holiday, right? So you know you can be on-time, just apply yourself and be the change you want to see.

There is also an old French proverb that says: ‘People count the faults of those who keep them waiting.’ If this is true, and I must say I have experienced it, it is another powerful reason to be on-time.