Punctuality, it seems, is a lost art, an old-fashioned idea that many businesspeople seem to have forgotten. Still, arriving on time remains the best way to be considered professional and in control.
As noted in a ProlificLiving.com post, “The Importance of Being Punctual,” being late:
- does not make you an important or special person. Whoever you are doesn’t reserve you the right to be late.
- once or twice in your life may be unavoidable but being late consistently makes you unreliable.
- says you clearly do not respect the other person’s time, only yours.
- affects your boss’s impression of you and damages your upward mobility at the company.
- consistently implies you are rude and lack all consideration and respect for the other person as well as for the commitment you made.
The writer adds “Your apologies for being late, however profuse and sincere, do not excuse the tardy. Your reasons for being late insult the other person’s intelligence.”
Even the great entrepreneur Richard Branson concludes that punctuality is important in business and life.
“Being on time is respectful to your hosts and also means you can effectively manage your day,” Branson says. “Once you get behind, it is hard to catch back up again. Being punctual doesn’t mean rushing around the whole time. I always find the time to exercise and to spend time with my loved ones. It simply means organizing your time effectively.”
I was once late for every appointment. But perhaps the only New Year’s resolution I’ve ever kept was to become punctual, no matter the cost.
Now I plan ahead (using the calendar synced on my devices) and arrive early so that I can collect my thoughts, respond to emails and have a few precious moments to breathe.
Branson says being on time doesn’t necessarily mean working to a strict, rigid schedule. Instead, it means that we must effectively delegate, be unfailingly organized and communicate clearly. Being flexible and being punctual, then, aren’t mutually exclusive.
If you can be both, Branson says, you and your business will thrive.