I am one of those people who must be on time. If you tell me to be somewhere at 9:00 AM, I am probably going to try my hardest to be there at 8:30 AM. (And I will probably get mad at you because what kind of person schedules something that early unless it’s work?) I love it when other people value punctuality too. If I have to wait for a person longer than a few minutes after a set time, I get anxious and a little bit angry. If I value your time, you should value mine. Today on the blog I want to share a few tips and tricks with you for being on time so you can start being that person who is early instead of late.
1. Only Schedule Commitments You Know You Can Keep
If you can’t keep a commitment, don’t say yes to it. Especially when you are talking about career and education related commitments, you need to be punctual. One thing that was taught in my sorority often was DWYSYWD or “Do what you say you will do.” It’s a simple concept that few people value in today’s day and age. You can say no if you don’t want to do something, but once you commit to a task, make sure that it gets done.
2. Make Sure Your Schedule Is Detailed
When you schedule anything for yourself, you want to make sure that you are as detailed as possible. Don’t just put “Meeting with Amanda” instead, get more in-depth.
- Which Amanda? (There’s a lot of us, you know!)
- Where will you meet Amanda? (Address or building and room number.)
- What time will you meet Amanda? (Very important information for being on time.)
- What is this meeting with Amanda about? (You don’t want to be blindsided with this meeting. You want to know what you will be talking about and what materials you may need to bring to it.)
When you are detailed about your meeting plans in your planner you take out the element of surprise. You know exactly what is going on every single day.
You know who you are meeting, when you are meeting them, why you are meeting them, and where you are meeting them. Sure this information is probably in your email or a text message, but sometimes it’s not.
Sometimes you create a verbal agreement with Amanda and where do you turn then? Plus no one wants to open the various places we make plans like texts and emails every time we have a scheduled meeting. Instead, do the smart thing and put it all in your planner.
3. Check Your Schedule Every Night
Each night before you go to bed (or every morning when you wake up) you should make it your mission to review your upcoming schedule. Where do you need to be and when do you need to be there? Your goal should be to take a few minutes to solidify your schedule in your mind. No one works well when they are flying by the seat of their pants going to meeting to meeting with no thought as to why.
Instead, physically go through your schedule that day:
- When are your classes?
- When are your meetings?
- When do you need to go to work?
- When do you need to work on homework?
Whatever your day looks like, walk through that day from start to finish. This walkthrough will help you plan your day as much as you can without physically going through your day. This will be a great first step to completing your day punctually.
4. Create Alarms For Your Commitments
If you have a major commitment, make an alarm for it. Don’t just make the alarm for 5 minutes before the event, especially if you know you will be at home in bed or at another location across town from that commitment. Instead, create an alarm that’s an hour or even more (if necessary) before the event. This is your get your stuff together and go alarm!
Your alarm should make sense for the commitment. If your event is 20 miles away from your home, you shouldn’t make an alarm five minutes before the event—that would make no sense at all! You want to make sure that your alarm is long before the event start time to give yourself time to get ready and travel to the event.
5. Leave Early For Your Commitments
I am a big believer in being not just on-time for commitments, but being early. When your goal is to be just on time for events, that can easily translate to being late if just one part of your plan goes awry. For example, if you leave with just enough time to get to a place on a light traffic day, but traffic happens to be heavy today, what will you do then? Chances are you will probably be late to your commitment because you didn’t plan for a heavy traffic day.
Leaving early will not always ensure that you get to your events on time, freak accidents happen, but you should always try to leave as early as you can so that you have a lesser chance of being late to events and commitments.
6. Space Out Your Big Commitments
If you have two big commitments, especially if they are in different parts of town, you shouldn’t put them back to back. Instead, you are better off putting a few hours between those events to make sure that you have time to get from one event to the next event.
Be Conscious Of Commitment Locations
On the other hand, if all your commitments are happening on the same campus or in the same building, you probably don’t need to be as conscious about spacing out big commitments. This does depend on the size of your campus or building, though. If you go to school on a small campus, you can probably put big commitments back to back. If you go to school on a huge campus where there is a lot of traffic, though, you may still want to space out your commitments if they are in various buildings across campus.
Give Your Commitments Adequate Time To Breathe
You also want to make sure that you are conscious of how long it takes events to happen. For example, if your professor never lets class out early, why would you agree to be somewhere 10 minutes after class is done? You want to make sure that you fully realize how long certain events will take.
If you have a meeting with your campus organization and then a meeting with your group for a class project, don’t schedule your second meeting 30 minutes after the first one begins. That wouldn’t be smart, and it would just make you unnecessarily late. Schedule your commitments better, and you will see that you are on time for more events.
7. Bring Along Small, Portable Activities For The Downtime
Finally, if you do all of this, you will probably have a lot of downtime between events because you are focusing on being on time, especially at first. I encourage you to bring along some small activities that you can do during this downtime. Here are a few example activities:
- Plan in your planner
- Study your flashcards
- Listen to an audiobook or recorded lectures
- Read a book for pleasure or a class
- Work on homework that you have to do
Whatever activity you decide to do during this downtime while waiting for events, make sure it counts for something. Being on time for events doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice all that time between events. Once you are safely to the commitment location or while commuting (if you have audiobooks or recorded lectures), you can make use of that extra time instead of giving it up for the sake of punctuality.
Punctuality is a skill that not many people practice in today’s day. I hope that today’s tips have given you something to think about when it comes to being on time and how you can make punctuality a more important part of your life.