On-time, Early, or Late

How to NOT be Late

Do you run late?

Would you like to learn how to be on time or better yet…early? I don’t know about you, but to me, being late used to seem like a genetic trait. My mom and dad were always late when it came to taking me to games and picking me up from school. I didn’t want to stay for after-school activities because I knew I would be the last one picked up. When I got a job and had to get into the routine of my schedule, I found that I was always 10 minutes late. No matter what I did I would always be late.

What does being late have to do with KLT?

Being late is most most closely related to trust. If you run late on regular basis your contacts will be thinking about if you are going to be on time or not and they might not want to do business with you. If someone spends a lot of time with you and “knows” you run late, he/she may not want to refer you to others.

Here are some ways you can improve your timeliness:

  • If you need to wake up at a certain time to get ready, get up 15 minutes earlier than you think you need, or wake up 30 minutes earlier and take a walk or do some other chore to get yourself moving.
  • Set multiple alarms. My husband uses different sounds to mean different things. He has an alarm that sounds like a life-threatening catastrophe that rings if he doesn’t get up after the earlier alarm. My son has an alarm that shakes his bed.
  • Know how long it takes you to get ready. I used to think getting ready should only take an hour, but when I timed myself, I found that it took me an hour and 15 minutes to get ready.
  • Know your habits. What do you get into right before you have to be somewhere? Give yourself enough time for these habits or nip them in the bud!
  • Don’t try to be on time. When you try to be on time you can only be on time or late. If you aim to be early you can be early, on time, or late. There are much better odds when you plan to arrive early. If you are late even if you give yourself more than enough time you can say you did everything you could and you were still late. *Disclaimer: EVERYONE runs late now and again due to being HUMAN. I don’t believe it is possible for someone to be on time or early to every appointment, but there are people who do manage their time better than others and who are early or on time more often than they are late.
  • If you know it takes you an hour to get somewhere, give yourself 90 minutes to get there. When you get to your destination you could run into parking issues, construction, one way streets, etc.
  • If you are not familiar with an area give yourself more time than you are anticipating needing so you can arrive without stress. I like to add 30 minutes because if you are 15 minutes behind, you are still 15 minutes early 🙂
  • Be in place. Sometimes, if I have a meeting and want to prepare, it’s easier to get there a couple hours early than it is to think about what time I have to leave to be on time. This is called “being in place.” That way I don’t have to worry about my arrival time. Another way you can do this, if you can’t go to the exact location, is to be as close to your destination as possible early to decrease the potential for traffic issues, and other problems that are out of your control.
  • Give yourself time between meetings. If you have an appointment at 8 that is supposed to last an hour, give yourself an extra 15 minutes to end the meeting. Account for the time packing up and walking to your car.
  • Be realistic. If you tend to run late, it’s ok to give yourself more time that you think you’ll need.
  • Be reliable from the start. If you are late the first time you meet someone, this creates the foundation of your business relationship. When I work with someone, if he/she doesn’t show up or is late the first couple times we meet, I am less likely to do business with that person. If a relationship is established and then someone has an incident of lateness or no-show, it’s not as big of an issue, because I already trust that person and know he/she is trustworthy, but being trustworthy takes effort.
  • Don’t put yourself against the clock. If your GPS says it takes 45 minutes to get somewhere, don’t GIVE yourself only 45 minutes to get there, adding 20-30 minutes will help you be early or on-time.
  • Learn local traffic patterns and alternative routes. I like to take “the road less traveled” to avoid traffic delays. If you know when traffic gets backed up, when trains are expected and alternative routes to your destination, you will have more control over your travel and arrival time.

Being on time can build trust, so taking extra time may be necessary and will have a positive impact on your KLT score very quickly. You can find out your “Trust” score with a KLT Report.