Buying into lies about running late

Buying into lies about running late

First off, let me be upfront that I’m often guilty of running late, so what I share here comes from self evaluation. I have committed to solving the problem because as you’ll see below, nothing good comes of running late. I hope my observations about lies I bought into over the years will help you, or someone you share this post with, resolve to be prompt instead of making others suffer the consequences of running late.

  • Perception is reality in this arena. If you have a reputation for running late, it’s because it’s well deserved. Self-denial will not help you get better.
  • Failure to be prompt is disrespectful and communicates that your time is more valuable than someone else’s. Your time is not more valuable that someone else’s whom you’ve made a commitment to.
  • Failure to plan for traffic, know how to get where you’re going, plan on time to park, etc. is failure to prepare to arrive on time. All of these “unexpected delays” are very foreseeable. If you do not prepare to arrive on time, you are preparing to arrive late.
  • Being more productive is not more important than respecting someone else’s time. Could you image saying, “Sorry I’m late. I had a few calls I had to wrap up. I think getting those calls done was worth making you sit here and wait on me.” Probably not. The trouble is that’s exactly what you’re saying with your actions.
  • If you do not allow adequate transition time between calls, meetings, etc. you have decided at the outset to run late as the day goes on. You’re fooling yourself to think a compressed schedule is going to work when it’s never worked before.
  • Five minutes late is five minutes late. Either you’re on time or you’re late. It’s binary. Start arriving five minutes early.

Does being on time matter to you? How have you improved or how are you struggling? Share your story in the comments below.

  • m.l.

    My “business” is schooling and raising children. They can be seemingly even more unpredictable than traffic jams. However, my chilidren are predictably unpredictable in that there is almost always a 30 minute block of time lost in getting to an appointment. Someway, somehow thirty minutes evaporates. About four months ago, I stopped pretending like I could make those thirty mintues stop disappearing and instead just planned them into our schedule. As much as I cringe at “losing” that time, we now show up most places on time and sometimes even early. It’s a small victory, but it is always worth thr effort.

    • Levi Smith

      Great point about the predictably unpredictable!

  • deanna

    Direct hit. So true and never said. I’m guilty, but so much better than I used to be.
    It makes me think about the way I book appts because invariably someone is late coming to me, which in turn makes me hold everyone behind them back. Now how to solve that dilemma and still make a living.

    • Levi Smith

      Good to hear from you and thank you for commenting! What if you were to offer a reward for arriving early such as $X off your next appointment? The idea being that losing a reward would be more motivating and customer friendly than trying to penalize people for being late (I hope some doctors offices are listening).

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