Better never late than late

Column by Michael Norton

Posted

In the midst of our hectic life and sometimes chaotic schedules there are times when we find ourselves running late for almost everything we do. As I found this happening more and more in my own life recently, I had to stop and ask myself, why?

Was I not placing enough emphasis or importance on the meeting I was scheduled to attend? Did I believe that even if I was just a few minutes late that would be OK? Had I convinced myself that my time was more valuable than that of the person I was supposed to meet with? Or was I just cramming as much as I possibly could into my day and getting so wrapped up in a project or task that the time just slipped away and before I knew it I was already running late?

I found myself justifying my lateness, not only to me but to everyone that was on my calendar. Making excuse after excuse until finally I realized that I was making excuses and making apologies for something that I could easily control.

You probably have friends or family members that fall into this very same category. They are late for everything and always call or text with a reason for why they are running late. I have a few people in my life too that qualify as habitual late arrivers. So much so that we would have to tell the person that is chronically late that the scheduled event was starting 15 to 30 minutes earlier than it was actually starting. I am sure many of you use the same tactic for those in your own circle of friends and family who struggle with being on time.

And here I was thinking, if I keep this up, if I continue running late for everything, that pretty soon people would start managing me in the very same way. I would get the invitation for a 7 p.m. dinner when the reservations were really for 7:30.

This just comes down to commitment and respect. Two things that I teach and coach on a daily basis, but was not applying in my own life. And really when I have this conversation with clients or friends we discuss awareness of where we are supposed to be, the commitments we have made for the day, and the people or clients we are scheduled to meet with that day. We also make sure we take into consideration the respect for their time and for their expectations.

There are so many tactics to use that are helpful, including alarms or alerts on our smart phones to reviewing our calendars the evening before or very first thing in the morning each day. Again, becoming aware of where and when we are supposed to be somewhere or with someone.

Now for all of you who do not struggle with this problem as you are always on time, punctual, and prompt, maybe you too can help coach those of us who have slipped and despite our best efforts show up late for everything. And for those of us who have slipped, this is one of those bad habits that needs to be addressed and eliminated as early as possible. Because the longer we allow it to go on, the worse we actually become. We go from being just a few minutes late to showing up 30 minutes late, or even later.

There is an old saying that goes like this, “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.” So remember respect, commitment, and awareness and we will have a much better shot at being on time and avoid running late for almost everything we do.

I would love to hear all about your strategies for being on time or your frustrations with others running late at gotonorton@gmail.com. And when we start improving our efforts at being on time, it will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of www.candogo.com