Punctuality is hardly a superpower, although it may feel like it for some.
It’s simply a habit, as are brushing your teeth, taking a bath, and eating breakfast.
One-year olds don’t know that their teeth need brushing. But over time, as their caretakers brush their teeth for them, they learn that teeth need daily brushing.
We all started out not knowing that we have to do certain things in order to maintain ourselves. But with learning and practice, we develop habits that keep our lives in order.
Punctuality seems to be an elusive concept to many people these days. It’s a rare trait that few people take seriously. We all joke about having a “watch made out of rubber,” meaning it can stretch time.
But in reality, it’s not cool to show up late, waste other people’s time, cause unnecessary upset, and potentially compromise good relations. We think you owe it to others and yourself to be on time.
Like any habit, practice is key! Here are 12 habits of punctual people:
1. They Start Early.
Because they have had a good night’s sleep, punctual people can wake up and start early in the morning. Being punctual first thing in the morning will usually lead on to the rest of the day.
2. They Know Themselves Well.
Punctual people are likely disciplined and can follow a solid routine if they need or choose to. Over time and with experience, they know very well how long it takes them to carry out each of their daily activities like taking a shower, eating breakfast, driving to work, etc. This knowledge enables them to fit other tasks into their schedule.
3. They Allocate Time Wisely.
If they know it takes them a total of one hour to get ready in the morning, they are prepared to set their alarm an hour ahead of the scheduled leave-time.
4. They Make A Checklist Of Everything.
The factor that differentiates highly punctual people from tardy people isn’t a superpower. Punctual people are continually reminding themselves of the things they need to accomplish in a day. They make lists of tasks, appointments, and meetings, on their smartphone calendar or a notebook.
5. They Use Technology To Their Advantage.
Besides using the calendar app on their phones, punctual people also take advantage of apps like GoogleMaps, Waze, and LewatMana to track traffic and road options before or as they are leaving one place and heading to another.
6. They Give Themselves Buffer Time.
Due to unforeseen events that are beyond their control, even the most punctual people can be tardy. And they are very well aware of this possibility so they give themselves an extra 10 or minutes for those times something unexpected happens. That way, they would still make it on time. If it usually takes them 15 minutes to get from home to the office, but looking at the heavy rain, it may take a little longer, say 20 or 25 minutes. They take this extra time into account.
7. They Stay Focused.
Time flies. But highly punctual people keep time by checking to make sure a meeting ends on time so they can head right to their next. By keeping a mental map or list of the things or people or places they need to get to, they can complete each task with success.
8. They Get Enough Sleep.
Getting enough sleep leads to feeling fresh, which leads to good focus, which further leads to task completion, and so on. Highly punctual people understand the necessity and benefits of getting a good night’s sleep and practice it religiously.
9. They Don’t Overpromise.
It’s dangerous to underestimate the time it takes to do something, especially if it’s not something in the everyday routine. Punctual people are good at estimating time, and they do not lie and say, “be there in 5” when they know it will actually take them at least another 15.
10. They Save Time.
Punctual people know that not everyone may be punctual. So when they get to a meeting earlier, they make good use of their wait time by responding to emails, returning phone calls, catching up on the latest news, or completing work-related or other tasks. That way, they waste no time at all, and feel good knowing they are checking items off their list.
11. They’d Always Rather Be Too Early.
Being too early is no problem, because they wouldn’t want to be late. While waiting, they can use the time to engage in other tasks like replying to texts or taking a stroll.
12. They Value Your Time Too.
It’s evident punctual people value their time. But that’s also because and as a result, they value yours too. They wouldn’t show up to a meeting with you 45 minutes late, and they will expect the same of you.
Punctuality is an asset and shouldn’t be taken casually. It communicates responsibility, respect, and value. It can truly make or break you—both in social and professional settings, especially when you are in a position of leadership.
Finally, it shouldn’t matter who you are meeting—a friend, your boss, your grandmother, your mechanic, your pet—their time is as precious as yours. We know you won’t let it go to waste. Remember: with any new habit, take one step at a time. Start small everyday.