“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late” – William Shakespeare
People count the faults of those who keep them waiting.
Unfaithfulness in the keeping of an appointment is an act of clear dishonesty. You may as well borrow a person's money as his time.
I grew up in a household with strict rules. I grew up in a household where I was not only the youngest, but also the only girl. Amongst the countless rules in my home, one of the most important ones was a strict curfew. If I was supposed to be home at 10:30 PM, and arrived at a mere 10:31, I was grounded. And in my house, grounding was referred to as “blackout.” No phone, no TV (in my room), no computer, no friends. I quickly started referring to my parents as “crazy” because I felt like the specificity of the curfew was pointless.
But having a strict curfew taught me a number of things. For one, it helped me learn how to budget time effectively. I remember constantly thinking when I was out and about, hm, if it’s a 20 minute drive from here to home and I have to be home by 10:30, I should probably leave at 10 just in case there is roadwork or I catch all of the lights. Like Shakespeare said, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” Until this day, I am an expert at letting people know how long it will take me to get from A to B. And if there ever is a reason that I will be late that is, in fact, out of my control, I do not hesitate to let someone know with an apologetic phone call. I have to say, it goes a long way in the business world.
Another thing my strict curfew taught me was personal accountability. My parents drew the line in the sand. It was well-defined. If I crossed it, I had only myself to blame. Excuses like these never, ever worked:
- “Oh, there was roadwork, it wasn’t my fault.”
- “I had to see the last band play at the concert, and their set was extra long!”
- "Come on…. I caught, like, every light.”
- “I almost made it, though! I was only a minute late.”
They all failed. It wasn’t about the excuses, it was about me fulfilling a basic duty- to be on time. Regardless of the reason you’re late, there’s typically SOMETHING you could have done about it. So utilize Google traffic patterns, get to the meeting early and go over your notes, but do not be late! Because 99% of the time, it’s on you.
But the most important lesson my curfew taught me is the power of punctuality.
When I budgeted extra time to get home, I felt more relaxed. If I waited until the last minute to go home, I’d be frantic the entire drive home. In the workplace, the same applies. If you’re driving to a sales pitch or an important meeting and you allow yourself plenty of time to get there, you’re going to feel better, more confident, and you are instilling a good impression on the client/colleague. It shows that you’re reliable, level-headed, and you can get things done. And you didn’t even have to say a word!
The saying “better late than never” does not apply in the workplace. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, you’re saying to the person/people you’re meeting with, “My time is more valuable than yours.”
So yes, my crazy parents were right. And I’m sure they’ll be happy to hear it.
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Kate Jacoutot is the Marketing Coordinator for Spire Workforce Solutions. To learn more about Kate, visit www.thronemarketingtm.com.