Career Success Tips - The Importance of Being On-Time

When asked what the number one piece of advice he would give an employee on the subject of office etiquette and career success, Peter Post, co-author of  The Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success answered, "Be on time". Being punctual for your work day, your appointments, and your deadlines shows respect for others and for yourself.

You want to have the reputation as someone who is prepared, organized and respectful. Being chronically or habitually late gives the impression that your time is more important than everyone else's since you keep others waiting with your tardiness. It reflects a serious lack of organization skills and perhaps will even give the impression that you do not like your job or the person you are meeting with.

If you are serious about your career and are looking to climb the corporate ladder, the first thing you need to do is change the way you think about punctuality.

Here are a few tips to help you be on time:
  1. Breaking the Snooze Button habit. Getting up on time will set the pace for your day. If you are the type who likes to roll over and hit the snooze button to grab 5 more minutes of sleep then you need to either break the habit or plan for it. Place your alarm clock out of arms reach. If you have to get out of bed to hit a snooze button you are less likely to oversleep. The other alternative is to set the alarm 5 minutes earlier. This will allow you that luxury of a 5 minute snooze after the alarm goes off.
  2. Get ready the night before. If much of your morning routine revolves around selecting what to wear, preparing lunch or packing your briefcase you need to shift those tasks to the evening. Preparing your work day before you go to bed will free up time in the morning so you will never be scrambling to get out the door on time.
  3. Everything in it's place. Having a designated place for your keys, purse, day planner, etc. will eliminate the panic and the delay the next morning when you can't find your keys or your glasses and it is time to leave for work.
  4. Be a clock watcher. Many people no longer wear wrist watches because they use electronic devices such as cell phones as a means to tell time. As a chronically late person, you need visual reminders of the time so you don't lose track of it. Buy a desk clock for your office and wall clocks for your home so you are more aware of the time. Treat yourself to a nice wrist watch.
  5. Set the alarm to go to bed. Being well rested is another key to having your day go on schedule. If you are tired and fatigued you are less likely to be prepared for the next day. Just like having a set time to get up in the morning, you should also have a set time to go to bed at night on workdays. Set your alarm 15 minutes before your target bed time. This will allow a few minutes to finish up what you are doing, get through your bedtime routine and get into bed on time. If your night time routine is longer than 15 minutes, adjust the alarm accordingly.
  6. Lie to yourself. If all else fails and you are unable to get yourself to work, meetings or scheduled events on time, you need to plan to be late. If you have an appointment at 10:00, write it in your day planner as 9:45. This will allow you a 15 minute grace period for tardiness. If you do manage to get there on time you now have a treat of 15 minutes to have a coffee or a quick call to a friend.

Being late because of a traffic jam or freak snow storm is sometimes unavoidable and your boss or your client will understand. Being late because you couldn't find your keys or you overslept will not be so easily accepted and it may cost you that promotion.

Sandra S. Sea is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Singles Career Coaching, LLC. Ms. Sea specializes in personal career and life coaching, motivational speaking, workshops, seminars, and training programs. She is a Certified Professional Coach and is committed to the Singles lifestyle.

She earned her Master of Science degree in Adult and Technical Education, Regent Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, and Applied Associates degree in Paralegal Studies from Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia. Ms. Sea also earned a Certificate in Grant Writing from Garnet Career Center, Charleston, West Virginia. She received her coaching certification through the Professional Woman Network (PWN). Ms. Sea is an international author.