The Lost Art of Punctuality

I’m apparently old. I know this because I can remember when being on time mattered. Punctuality was considered proper and showed manners. When you showed up on time it sent a message that you were considerate of other people’s time. It showed a certain level of professionalism and organizational skills that could help differentiate people.

I attended a Catholic Military High School. One of the very first lessons you learned was to be on time. When you weren’t on time bad things happened. Very bad things. I can count on one hand the number of times I saw the same person be late twice in four years. I never saw the same person be late three times. Never!

It makes me think that being on time is still possible if it’s important enough to you. In high school it was important to me because I didn’t like to bleed. There were absolutely no excuses accepted for being late. Punishment was swift and severe. You quickly learned the value of controlling your schedule and always leaving early enough to ensure that no matter what, you would be on time. You might get some place way early but that was very much preferred over being a second late.

You learned the importance of time management and effective planning. You learned just how bad procrastination can affect your chances at success. You learned that it really is possible to always be on time if you really really want to be on time. It’s just a question of priorities.

Today it seems as if punctuality matters less. Heck, if we’re running a little late we can just call from our cell and tell the person we are meeting with that our time is more important than theirs. I know we wouldn’t actually say that but don’t kid yourself, whether you say it of not, they may well be thinking it.

Being “fashionably” late has become socially acceptably and society is worse off for it. Business is worse off for it and you are worse off for it. 

Live for one week as if being on time was of major importance and you’ll be on time. I’m not talking about just work stuff, I’m talking about family and social events too. People who are chronically late are chronically late for everything. 

You can separate yourself from your professional competition by always being on time and you can show respect for family and friends by never making them wait on you.  

If you need to be somewhere in 60 minutes then give yourself 70. Not only will your punctuality improve, your stress levels from “just making it there” will go way down.

Punctuality is a choice, I encourage you to make it your choice today.

8 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Punctuality

  1. Catholic Military School Steve? Well…that speaks VOLUMES! (grins)

    Reminds me of some lyrics to a song my daughters used to listen to called ‘I Will Follow You Into the Dark’ by Death Cab for Cutie. (….I have no idea how or why they come up with that name for a band…no clue… : )

    ‘In Catholic school as vicious as Roman rule
    I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black…’

    I must confess I read this and filled with instant guilt. Until now. Are you monitoring how many times I sleep through my alarm and either miss or arrive late to the 6am Sunday morning #spiritchat TweetChat!? (Just wondering! – grins)

    I will have you know that other then that, I’m actually one of those horribly punctual people. I don’t like contending with chronically late people.

    And on that note, I should copy and paste this in a note to God to complain about the fact my future husband is turning out to be chronically late and it’s just NOT acceptable anymore! (grins)

    And yes, please take the above in a very lighthearted manner.

    Great post and reminder Steve.

  2. John Halloran says:

    As I sit here after that lame first half of football. I need to vent on your post. Mostly to make me feel better. I had to have a discussion with my lovely wife in Italy last month on punctuality. I told her. You are making me look bad! She was shocked. What do you mean she asked and I told her what I live by in my business life. “If you are not 10 minutes early you are late”. My wife lives by the fashionably late school of thought. Drives me crazy. When our children were all young it was somewhat unavoidable getting 3 kids ready to go anywhere. Now that we are empty nesters there is no excuse. Ok, I feel better now back to this lame not so Super Bowl and at least in my mind no real memorable commercials.

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