“The trouble with being punctual is that nobody’s there to appreciate it.”
That’s a quip from American humorist and reporter Franklin P. Jones (1908-1980). While jokes can be funny, they can also be a way to highlight things that are really happening, and in this case, it’s that, over the past decades, more and more people are forgetting the value of being punctual.
There are even times in which the desire to be late becomes the reason why one was late—how else would the phrase “fashionably late” even exist?
People have taken the value of punctuality so much for granted that even its consequences can be made a joke of. (See right. Image from here.) Unlike unicorns, however, these consequences are real.
So, for this post I want to bring appreciation for punctuality back. Here are 10 reasons why.
1. Punctuality is a way to show that you value your time and that of others.
Respect for others includes not wasting their time, and being early or on time for your appointments is a way of saying you value other people’s time without actually saying it. So, whether it’s a meeting with a company executive, or a coffee date with your high school friend, the minute you arrive is a statement of how much you value your time and that person’s. Remember, actions speak louder than words.
2. Being punctual is proof that you can manage your time well.
Besides showing that you respect another person’s time, being punctual is also proof that you manage your time well. Those excuses I enumerated earlier? They aren’t valid at all because if you manage your time well, you’d have taken them into account: the time to wake up, the traffic, the location of your appointments, your things-to-do and your essential items. It takes a great deal of foresight to be punctual—so being punctual reflects well on your character.
3. It makes your company, or team, more productive.
Punctuality, not only in arriving to work or school, but also in your accomplishment of tasks, really makes a difference, especially when you need to meet a deadline. But even without a deadline, having punctuality helps you and your team to produce more work and accomplish more tasks within the time frame allotted for them.
4. Punctuality is an assertion that you are reliable.
The more often you turn up on time and the more tasks you accomplish before the deadline, the more confident people will be of you and your work. By experience, they know you are reliable, and so they will know that they can entrust you with more tasks.
5. It builds discipline.
For you, punctuality instills a certain kind of discipline, one that helps you stay focused on the tasks at hand. Punctuality makes you pay close attention to details, because arriving or accomplishing tasks on time requires ensuring that everything is complete.
6. Punctuality helps you gain the trust of your colleagues and avoids resentment.
Because you are punctual, people see that you are reliable, hence they trust you. Conversely, if you are always late, colleagues may become anxious and will feel resentment towards you, no matter what reason or excuse you have to give.
7. Being on time saves you from embarrassing situations.
Don’t you feel embarrassed whenever, knowing you are late, you enter a room and everyone turns around to look at you? It gets even more embarrassing when your colleagues and teammates are waiting for you because you have something that they need to begin the meeting!
8. It creates a good impression and boosts your professional reputation.
Again, punctuality builds trust and confidence. So why would anyone be surprised if you got promoted because of this?
9. It lessens stress.
When you’re on time, you are less likely to be anxious or stressed out—which means…
10. Being punctual is satisfying!
According to Jane Austen, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single person in possession of punctuality, must be wanted by all.” Just kidding! But let’s allow this joke to highlight a reality different from the one mentioned earlier: punctuality makes one a more disciplined and trustworthy person, and by effect, a happier, more satisfied person. Don’t you already feel a sense of accomplishment when you meet a deadline? If punctuality is ingrained in you, your time management will be better, your discipline tougher, your stressors fewer, and your relationships with others more meaningful, because there’s not a minute wasted on waiting… and inventing valid excuses.