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The Importance of Being … On Time

Louis XVIII of France said that “punctuality is the politeness of kings.”

If that’s true, I know a few folks who would’ve have been dethroned, burned at the stake or beheaded by now!

We all have friends, family members or coworkers who are habitually late, but we love them anyway.

However, after one too many uncomfortable times sitting at a restaurant alone for 45 minutes, with a server constantly checking on me, trying to keep me company and minimize my embarrassment that I’ve either been stood up or are on a lunch date with an imaginary friend, I’ve come up with a few tricks.

Over the years, this early bird has provided faux meet-up times earlier than the real time, sent friendly reminders and in some cases, made sure a person was on his or her way before actually leaving myself.

Don’t ever be fooled by a tardy party – when they say they’re on their way, they mean they plan to leave in 10 minutes or more.

I believe that if you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late and if you’re late, then you’ve got a lot of explaining to do.

I’ve had my own moments of insanity when I can’t find my car keys, gotten lost, thrown every piece of clothing I own out of my closet and still have nothing to wear or just can’t get moving. If that’s the case, I make sure to call whoever may be waiting for me just as soon as I know I’m going to be late, and I get there as soon as I can.

If you’re more than occasionally late to work, school, church, appointments and meetings, you can be sure others have noticed too. Even if you’re great at smoothing things over and have an arsenal of excuses, wasting other people’s time could build resentment and even harm your relationships and professional standing.

If I’m late, I feel embarrassed and have an overwhelming worry that I’ve missed something important or insulted somebody – even in the few minutes I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. Just remember, if somebody invited you to an event or made plans, they obviously want to see you!

Being timely has always worked to my advantage. If I’m interested in a job, I send in my resume immediately. If I want the best seats for a concert, I buy the tickets the second they go on sale. If I want to see my doctor, I take the first appointment of the day.

Some people consider being late to be fashionable, and never arrive to anything on time. Those are the people who miss out on the great food and drinks and get the scraps! I think we’re all better than scraps!

Here a few tips to avoid being late:

If you’re going somewhere new, get directions in advance or use a GPS and estimate how long it will take to get there. Always reserve a few minutes for mishaps or traffic. Some say I go around my elbow to get to my arse – that’s ok, I’m still on time!

Each day check your calendar to see what is going on the next day – this way you can visualize how your time is being spent and adjust where needed. I have this funny way of wanting to color my hair or paint my nails before big events and it always gets me in trouble!

Lay out the items you need the night before. Every little time saver helps, especially for people like me who are frantic in the mornings. Think about what you’ll be wearing or taking with you – heck, lay out your underwear if it helps you to not be late!

Acknowledge that you have a hard time being punctual and try to make small changes. If people truly care about you, they’ll accept you for who you are and won’t order you to the guillotine.

You’re not a bad person – just realize that other people’s time is just as valuable as yours.
Just keep working on it, and remember, “Better late than never, but never late is better.

><(("> Mandy Stark

Mandy is a ><(("> Friend of Catch Your Limit, a marketing firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To contact Mandy email her at or to learn more about Catch Your Limit, visit

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  1. Rachel Lawley says

    Mandy – well said! :) Thanks for the tips.

  2. John says

    Great Post! This reminds me of a video on “Taking charge of your time” by Vineet Nayar. You might want to see this.

  3. MarkSpizer says

    great post as usual!

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