Published November 25 2012
Ms. Simplicity: I’m late, i’m late for a very important date!Are you one of those people who is late or early for appointments? I consider myself on time or early for most but every once in a while I am late. I have friends who are chronically late. It doesn’t matter what it is for, they are always late. The theory is that they are late because they value their own time more than yours. So that really got me thinking about my friends who are late. One is chronic with his lateness and it is almost an accident when he is on time. It is no big deal to him. I think it is an ego builder because he knows things can’t start until he gets there. If he is early it is as though he expects a medal. I just want to say that it is common courtesy to be on time, no medals should be awarded.
I also lump doctors and other professionals into this group. When was the last time that you had a doctor that was on time? (I do have some doctors in my life that are on time, so this does not apply to you my on time doctor friends, so don’t worry) And please, please, please don’t put me in a room and put me in a gown and then make me wait for 45 minutes. That is being late. Putting me in a gown and then knocking on the door in three minutes is on time! I know that if they had a policy that their fees were discounted based on how late they were for the appointment; they would suddenly be on time. I had a friend that use to be late but now she wants to beat me and she now arrives earlier than I do, and she takes pleasure in it. I am ok with that because she is placing value on my time and I am placing value on hers and it is a win/win!
So here are some tips to making sure that you are on time.
1. Try being early and find time to relax and breathe before the appointment or before the other person arrives. Once you start to arrive early, you will like the feeling. I think we get addicted to the rush of the rush, going from one place to another without really taking time to feel. Take the time to enjoy the journey and don’t always be “busy” and realize that life is actually better enjoyed when we take our time.
2. Always plan to be delayed for some reason and plan that time in accordingly. Could a train crossing the tracks delay you? Does a meeting always run late? Then plan for it and when it doesn’t happen you are early and if it does happen you will still arrive on time.
3. If you are running late, notify the person you are meeting ahead of time so that they can plan to arrive late as well. That is common courtesy. This happened to my son and I at a doctor appointment at Mayo. The doctor was in surgery and running 45 minutes late and they called me to notify me so that if I had not left for the appointment yet I could readjust my morning. That was so refreshing and appreciated.
4. If you are meeting someone for lunch or dinner and you are late, you offer to pay the bill. Paying the bill is the least you could do since you made them wait.
5. Take a good look at what is making you late. Do you oversleep? Do you wait until the last minute to pick out what you are going to wear? Do you have a hard time finding your purse or keys before you leave? Plan ahead and figure out ways that you can help yourself. Go to bed earlier. Pick out what you are going to wear the night before. Have a special place in your home that your keys and purse always are kept.
6. Do you have meetings that always run late? Stagger your meeting starts so that your next meeting doesn’t start until at least 15-30 minutes after the previous one ended. Allowing you time to at least stop for a bathroom break in-between meetings. If you are the person running the meeting, make sure that they always end on time. If you have a room full of people who all leave 20 minutes late, it starts a domino effect of everyone running late for the rest of their day. Make it a game or a contest if you need to. Reward yourself for when meetings end on time. Start to respect the time of those in the meetings and chances are the meetings will start to end on time.
My trend of being late ended as soon as I realized that I was putting myself in front of the person I was going to meet. I was putting value on my time and taking value away from theirs. If you think about the other person, chances are you will start to be on time…..that is unless you are a narcissist and then you have bigger issues. As Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world”. If you want people to value your time, than you need to first value theirs.
I am curious how many people are going to send this post to the chronically late person in their lives. If you were sent this post, please keep in mind that the person who gave it to you loves you and only wants to help you with your tardiness. And consider “gifting” them with your presence by being on time the next time you see them!