issue no. 3
It’s About Time—Part 2
No doubt you’ve heard numerous times that being late for meetings, appointments, or any sort of engagement is rude and shows a lack of respect for others. But how many of you have noticed that being late is also a cause of stress for the one who is late? Yes, when you’re late, most likely you’re also stressed.
So not only is “being late a mark against your testimony as a Christian, as someone who is supposed to be concerned for others, loving and respectful of them and their time,” and not only can a “lack of punctuality make a whole Home or work be inefficient,” but it also stresses you out.
So there’s another stress-buster right here: Be on time! Or better yet, as they say: “Don’t be on time, be early!”
Squandering others’ time
Time is precious to everyone. I’ve observed that almost everyone feels that one of their most valued commodities is their time. This being the case, one of the most surefire ways to annoy someone is to keep them waiting. While most people are somewhat forgiving, keeping them waiting is a sign of disrespect and a lack of acknowledgment. The subtle message is, “My time is more important than yours.”
There are times when factors beyond your control prevent you being on time. Things happen to all of us, and no one has a perfect record. Truthfully, however, a vast majority of the time, being late is preventable. But instead of planning ahead, allowing a little extra time, or making allowance for unexpected problems, we wait just a little too long, or don’t allow quite enough time—so we end up late. We then compound the problem by making excuses like “traffic was horrible,” when in reality, traffic is virtually always horrible. The problem wasn’t traffic but the fact that we didn’t factor enough time in our schedule for the traffic. It’s likely the case that, even if traffic was horrible, you got off to a late start, and whatever the excuse, the other person isn’t going to be interested or impressed. It may not be fair, but sometimes your work and other positive traits will be overshadowed by the fact that you were late.
I wouldn’t underestimate the negative impact of making someone wait. It drives some people crazy. And, even if they don’t express their frustration to you directly, it can show up in other ways—not taking you as seriously, avoiding you when possible, being disrespectful, showing up late to your future appointments, as well as a variety of other forms of retaliation.
Being late creates an enormous amount of stress in your own life, too. When you’re late, you’re scrambling. You’re in a hurry, behind schedule. Your mind is filled with stressful thoughts like, “I’ve done it again.” Or you might be hard on yourself, wondering, “Why do I always have to run late?”
When you’re on time, however, you avoid all this stress and then some. They may not express it, but the people you work with will appreciate the fact that you’re not late. They won’t have any reason to think you don’t respect their time. You won’t get a reputation as the person who is always late. You’ll stop rushing, and you will even have more time to reflect.
*Recognize that being late is upsetting to others and stressful for the one who is late. People’s stress level is very high when they’re late. They’re racing, worried, and anxious. They spend the first few minutes apologizing. One of the payoffs of being on time is that you eliminate the stress and you eliminate the time spent apologizing.
*When you’re regularly late you create a reputation for yourself, and it’s not the best reputation to be establishing. People feel they can’t trust you or rely on you.
Jesus: Being punctual is not only important when meeting with people face to face. It also involves meeting deadlines on time, getting back to others in a timely manner and responding to something when you say you will. I know it’s hard to keep up with everything and get back to everyone as soon as they would like. Things have sped up in the world today to where everyone expects immediate answers and they aren’t looking or thinking or planning ahead much. A lot is done at the last minute and people want immediate answers or responses, which makes it difficult. Sometimes their expectations are unrealistic, and you have to trust Me to take care of things in the meantime, when you’re not able to get to something right away. However, when you tell someone that you are going to do something at a certain time, then you need to be sure to do it.
Dad: If you have the habit of being late, change it to one of being early, not just on time. That way you won’t have to worry about being on time because you’ll be there ahead of time. And if you see you won’t be able to make it on time, call ahead or notify the person you’re going to be meeting that you’re going to be a little late.
You might think this is a big fuss about a little matter, but being faithful to be on time isn’t a little matter to others, nor to the Lord. It’s a big matter to Him, just as it is to others. So don’t miss your appointments, or His appointments, and be a disappointment! Redeem your time, and value the time of others, and they’ll value you as a faithful and loving friend.
If you have trouble with being punctual, here are a few tips that could help you get to places on time.
1. Keep All of Your Appointments in a Master Calendar
Write down all of your appointments, activities, parties, lunches, etc., in one place on one master calendar. This can be either a desktop, wall, PC, or online calendar. They each have their advantages and disadvantages. Use whatever works best for you. The important thing is to not have multiple calendars that can get out of sync. So keep everything you need to do on one master calendar in order to prevent overlaps and schedule conflicts. (Google has free online calendar software that allows friends and family members to see each other’s schedules. For more information on Google calendars click here).
2. Put Travel Times in Your Calendar
On your calendar, don’t just write down the time of your appointments, but the time you need to leave the house for your appointments. Plan on arriving 10 to 15 minutes early to allow for delays. Take a book to read, a nail file, crossword puzzle, or head phones and an MP3 player with music or books on it for something to do if you arrive early.
If you are going some place new, the night before look at a map and estimate how long it will take to get there and add a little pad time for getting lost along the way. You can also print out directions from an online site like LiveSearchMaps, YahooMaps or ViaMichelin to help figure out the best route and shortest driving times.
Keep a map in the car for alternative routes in case you get lost or are stuck in traffic.
3. Take a Tip from the Boy Scouts and Be Prepared
Each day check your calendar to see what is going on the next day, or better yet the next week, and prepare any items you need well in advance of each event or appointment. Lay out the items you need for activities the night before.
If you have young children still in diapers, keep their diaper bags packed and ready to go at all times with wipes, fresh diapers, clean clothes and snacks. Working adults can lay out clothes, work papers, etc., the night before work. (Editor: Or witnessers, have your Activated mags and/or other tools ready, clothes ironed, etc.)
4. Streamline Your Morning Routine
Save the more elaborate breakfasts for weekends. During the week have easy breakfast foods. If bathroom congestion is a problem in the morning, have some family members shower at nighttime instead of in the morning. You can also have a set schedule for bathroom times for each family member for both day and evening routines.
5. Keep Track of Your Keys
If you are frequently late because you can’t find your keys, always keep your keys in the same place. Then keep a spare set of keys in a designated place—just in case. Key chains and clips can also be helpful for wandering keys.
If you’re late in the morning because you oversleep, try setting your alarm clock very loudly and put it across the room so you have to walk over to turn it off. If you get an alarm clock with an AM/PM setting, then you can set it right away each morning for the next day.
Try to go to bed early enough each night so your body isn’t still in a deep sleep phase when it is time for your alarm to go off.
Nothing inspires confidence in a business man sooner than punctuality, nor is there any habit which sooner saps his reputation than that of being always behind time.—W. Mathews
I know you are very busy and I’m sure you have lots of “good” excuses [for being late], but the reality is that there is no good excuse.—Mama