So what is this punctuality thing all about and why is it important? In this post, we’ll be looking at the importance of punctuality in life and how being punctual impacts you and other people.
From a big-picture perspective, being punctual is part of doing what you say you are going to do. When you do what you say you’re going to do, you are keeping a promise to yourself. When we break our promises (especially the ones we make to ourselves) we start to doubt ourselves. Little by little self-doubt creeps in and eats away at us.
Keeping promises to yourself (even the smaller ones that might not feel substantial – like being punctual) results in a higher sense of self-worth.
From a practical, day-to-day point of view, being punctual means turning up on time.
Punctuality isn’t just for job interviews (though we will be covering that one off in our list below). Being punctual is important for a variety of reasons. Being constantly late can have serious repercussions on your life.
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Let’s look at the importance of punctuality in your life.
If you are going for a job interview, being punctual is essential. When it comes to job interviews, being punctual isn’t a luxury or something that is nice to do, it is a necessity.
Not turning up on time likely means you won’t get the job. Rolling up late doesn’t give the impression that you are serious about the position.
Interviews aren’t the only situation where you need to turn up on time or even early. If you have ever been to a performance at the theatre, then you know that you have to be seated and ready before the show starts. For the sake of the other people in the theatre (the ones who did manage to turn up on time), the doors are shut so that people can enjoy what they paid good money for, without people wandering around blocking their view.
If you want to get serious about being punctual, grab yourself a copy of Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged by Diana DeLonzor. While I haven’t read this book myself, it has some excellent reviews.
Being punctual creates a good impression (including that important first impression)
Being on time (or even a little bit early in certain cases) creates a good impression.
As mentioned earlier this good first impression is essential when it comes to job interviews but it’s also important when it comes to working in general. Your boss, your co-workers, and possibly your clients (if you have those) will notice if you are constantly turning up late.
Being punctual is part of conducting yourself as a professional (no matter what job you have).
Related post – How Would Your Work Colleagues Describe You?
Punctuality and productivity often work together
If you have major problems with punctuality, you might also have issues with productivity and procrastination.
If a lack of planning means you are always late, you may also be prone to leaving everything to the last minute or putting off starting in the first place.
If you need help getting yourself organized, an excellent time management book is Eat That Frog!: 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracey. This book is my favorite little pocket rocket regarding all things productivity and time management.
Constantly being late makes you look unreliable
When you are constantly late, you come across as unreliable.
People may stop trusting you. They might stop making plans with you and inviting you to events.
People may end up having low expectations of you. While you might be thinking people expecting less of you isn’t such a bad thing since they rely on you too damn much for things, you really don’t want people to think you are unreliable.
The truth is if you are feeling like people rely on you too much, it’s more likely you have a boundaries issue that isn’t going to be addressed by being unreliable. If you are doing things that you don’t want to do, because you feel pressured by other people, it’s time to set some boundaries.
Related posts –
- Are You a Reliable Person?
- How to Be Congruent and Why It’s So Important
- The Importance of Setting Boundaries
Not being punctual can mess with other people’s schedules
As a former personal assistant, I know what it’s like to run a busy executive’s calendar.
When someone has back-to-back meetings and one of those meetings is delayed because someone was thoughtlessly late, that person’s day can easily go off the rails. This can often mean the person missing lunch and having to work back late.
Think of the other person and be on time.
Related post – 10 Signs You Need to Be Setting Boundaries in Life
Being on time stops people from worrying
Have you ever been waiting for someone to turn up, they’re incredibly late and you start to worry that something might have happened to them?
If you are meeting a friend who you know is a bit of a worrier or anyone who struggles with even mild anxiety, it’s best to not leave them waiting for long periods of time waiting for you to show up.
Save them the worry and turn up on time.
It stops people from doubting ‘the plan’
So while we are on the worrying topic, have you ever had that moment when someone is really late and you start wondering if you are waiting in the wrong spot, or perhaps you got the time or place wrong?
You can’t reach them on your mobile, they aren’t replying to your text and you are starting to feel your stress levels rising.
I hate that feeling.
Be on time and spare your friends from doubting whatever the grand catch-up plan was.
If you have a friend who is constantly late and/or unreliable and you are feeling frustrated and devalued, it might be time to be more assertive about your needs. An excellent book for learning to be more assertive is The Assertiveness Guide for Women: How to Communicate Your Needs, Set Healthy Boundaries and Transform Your Relationships by Julie De Azevedo Hanks Ph.D.
People hate to be left waiting
No one likes to be left waiting. When we are left waiting, particularly if it’s the same person doing the same thing over and over again, it can lead to resentment, frustration, and anger. It can even contribute to the end of a friendship or relationship.
Many years ago when I was living in Sydney, I had a friend come to visit from interstate and we were meeting another friend in the Sydney CBD to go to a party together. I got caught up with my out-of-town friend and left my best friend standing waiting for me for nearly an hour in a public place by herself.
My friend waiting on her own was incredibly upset with me. At the time, I didn’t realize how inconsiderate I had been but now with a bit more maturity under my belt, I understand why she was so upset.
My being late felt like I had discounted her feelings and devalued her. I had made her feel unimportant (and let’s face it, no one likes that feeling!)
Since that day, I have tried to always be on time. When you are punctual, it helps people know that you value and respect them.
I consider being on time a habit, so if you need to be working on better habits, I would recommend the excellent book Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear. I have read this one myself and it’s an excellent book. It’s been on the top of the bestseller list for what seems like forever (okay since it was published in 2018) and has over 100K positive reviews. This book is definitely helping people change their lives!
Being punctual helps keep you calm
You’re running late, you’re rushing around trying to get where you need to be, and you end up you arriving late, flustered, apologizing like crazy, and possibly sweating more than you would like!
You’ve just arrived and you are already in a bad mood (not to mention you’ve put the person waiting for you a little on edge as well).
All of this could have been avoided if you took the time to plan to be on time.
Being punctual means you arrive at your destination calm and stress-free.
Being early means you might get in early
I like to always aim to be early, even if it’s only by a small amount of time. Planning to arrive earlier gives you a buffer in case you get caught in traffic or your bus is late (I’m a public transport gal).
There are benefits of being early. You might get into your appointment earlier than you planned.
Being early means you might find yourself with some much-needed spare time to enjoy. This has thankfully happened to me a lot over the years. 🙂
If you struggle with procrastination, this book can help, Conquer Procrastination: Proven Strategies to Maintain Productivity and Take Control of Your Life by Natalie Bardo.
Being punctual could be a safety issue
This isn’t going to apply in all situations but it could definitely apply to some.
If it’s late at night and a friend is left waiting by themselves, it could turn into a safety issue.
Be on time, and make sure your friend and yourself are both safe.
Sending a text to a friend to make sure they got home safe after a night out is also a good idea. My friends and I do this all the time. It helps all of us have a good night’s sleep knowing our friends are home safe.
Being punctual lets people know you value them and their time. Understand the importance of punctuality, plan, be punctual, and make the most of your precious time and energy.
Read Next – 12 Key Characteristics of a True Friend