Be On Time, Every Time

Your delay will lower your demand.”

I would like to introduce you to Larry the Late. He is the most consistent person in your organization. There are only three things that are certain in life: death, taxes, and Larry being late. If the meeting starts at 8:00 am, he will arrive at 8:15. The project that is due on the 26th of the month will get to you on the 27th. When you are traveling to an out of town conference, Larry will board the plane right before the flight attendant closes the doors. Do you know Larry? If you looked in the mirror, would you find him? 

Larry has unknowingly created a brand for himself. He has become known for poor time management, lack of urgency, and not being organized. Larry is actually good at his job, but his procrastination speaks louder than his performance. What Larry does not realize is that he has been passed over several times when higher paying positions have become available. His delay has lowered his demand. What can you do to make sure that you don’t end up like Larry? Below are three nuggets that will help you to be on time, every time.

In all of my years of leading people, I have heard every reason in the book as to why someone was late to a meeting. I have never heard anyone tell me the following: “Eric, Sorry I was late, I need to leave my house earlier the next time.” Most people blame traffic. The key to being on time -- every time -- is to take personal ownership for all of the factors under your control. If I was late, traffic was usually not the real reason. The reality was that I did not leave my house early enough to anticipate that there may be an accident on my route to the office. If I had left an hour before my scheduled meeting time instead of 30 minutes before, I would have made it. Once you realize what you have control over, you can make the necessary adjustments. 

Key Placement
Have you ever been ready to leave your house only to discover that you have misplaced your keys? I have the following two part solution to this problem. First, designate one place in your residence for key placement. It helps to identify a place that you have to pass before you leave. Several people that I work with have created a special key holder by their exit door. 

Next, you must discipline yourself to place your keys in your designated place every time. Whenever you misplace something, the first question you are asked is “Where did you have it last?”. The fact that you don’t know adds to your stress and frustration. By applying the discipline that I just mentioned, you will always have the answer to this question. This little habit will save you lots of time and mental stress. 

The Half Tank Rule
I was rushing out of my house to attend and important meeting. I was behind schedule so every minute was critical. As I started the car, I realized that I was within ten miles of running out of gas and my destination was thirty five miles away! On this particular morning, there was a long line at the pump. The time I spent at the gas station made me late for my meeting. 

This experience forced me to implement the “half tank rule”. Here is how it works; whenever my gas gauge is at or beyond the half way point, I find the closest gas station and fill up. Not having to get gas in the mornings will save you least 15 minutes and take you from tardy to timely.

Taking personal ownership, focusing on key placement, and implementing the half tank rule are three nuggets that will help you to maximize your time and minimize your stress. Stay tuned for next week’s tip. If you found this week’s tip to be helpful, please forward this post using the social share buttons at the bottom of the page. 

Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner