Being punctual strengthens and reveals your integrity.
If you tell someone that you will meet them at a certain time, you have essentially made them a promise. And if you say you’ll be there at 8:00, and yet arrive at 8:15, you have essentially broken that promise. Being on time shows others that you are a man of your word.
Being punctual shows you are dependable.
A person can always be found at their post, carrying out the duties needful for that time. People know they can rely on such a person – if they says they will be there, they’ll be there. But if a person is not punctual, others cannot depend on them — they do not know where this person will be when they need them. Their associates will begin to feel they cannot organize their own time, and these doubts will seep into matters beyond the clock, as it naturally raises the question: “If him or her is careless about time, what else are they careless about?”
Benjamin Franklin once said to an employee who was always late, but always ready with an excuse: “I have generally found that the man who is good at an excuse is good for nothing else.”
Being punctual builds your self-confidence.
Showing up on time not only tells other people you are dependable, it teaches you that you can depend on yourself. The more you keep the promises you make, the more your self-confidence will grow. And the more you gain in self-mastery, the less you will be at the mercy of your compulsions and habits, and the more in control of your life you will feel.
Being punctual assures you’re at your best.
After riding someone’s bumper, speeding like a maniac, scanning for cops, and cursing at red lights, it’s hard to then turn your focus to making a presentation at a meeting or charming a date – you’re shaky and depleted from the adrenaline and stress. But when you show up on time, better yet a little early, you have a few minutes to collect your thoughts, review your materials, and get your game face on.
Being punctual builds and reveals your discipline.
The punctual person shows that they can organize their time, that they pays attention to details, and that they can put aside this to do that – they can set aside a pleasure to take care of business.
Being punctual shows your humility.
That bumper sticker maxim: “Always late, but worth the wait” shows that tardiness and an overestimation of one’s worth sometimes go hand in hand. People will be glad to see you when you arrive, but they would have been gladder still had you come on time.
Being punctual shows your respect for others.
Being late is a selfish act, for it puts your needs above another’s. You want an extra minute to do what you’d like, but in gaining that minute for yourself, you take a minute from another, which is why….
Being late is a form of stealing.
That’s a tough truth, but it’s a truth nonetheless. When you make others wait for you, you rob minutes from them that they’ll never get back. Time they could have turned into money, or simply used for the things important to them. In coming to meet you at the agreed upon hour, they may have made sacrifices – woken up early, cut short their workout, told their kid they couldn’t read a story together – and your lateness negates those sacrifices. If you wouldn’t think of taking ten dollars from another person’s wallet, you shouldn’t think of stealing ten minutes from him either. Being punctual shows you value time yourself, and thus wouldn’t think of depriving others of this precious, but limited resource.
Being late disturbs the experiences of other people.
Your tardiness not only robs others of their time, but of the fullness of their experiences as well. The student who interrupts a professor in the middle of his lecture; the family which climbs over you to get to their seats at the middle of the row in the theater; the man who opens the creaky door in the middle of a eulogy. When an old man was once asked why he had been so punctual in arriving at his church on time for decades, he replied, “I made it my religion not to disturb the religion of others.”
Being late strains your relationships.
When you’re late in meeting other people, it makes them feel under-valued, that whatever you couldn’t pull yourself away from was more important or that they didn’t mean enough to you to warrant allotting sufficient time to arrive on schedule. The guest who flies in to see you feels like a dope standing at the airport alone, your date feels awkward sitting at the restaurant by themselves, and your child feels abandoned as she waits with her teacher for you to arrive, all the other children having already been picked up from school.
Being late hurts your professional career.
Whether you’re an employee or in business for yourself, being late can hinder your professional success. Many companies have strict policies about punctuality — get a few write-ups and you’re gone. Of course, if you arrive late to the job interview, you probably won’t land the position in the first place. And if you’re trying to win over a new client, arriving ten minutes late isn’t going to get things off on the right foot, in the same way that promising to get something to him by a certain date and then failing to do so, may have him looking elsewhere for your services.
Being late takes a toll on your life.
Always running behind simply hurts you in all areas of your life. It results in lost opportunities: missing a plane, missing a meeting, missing an important part of a lecture, missing a wedding. It creates stress and can lead to car accidents and traffic tickets. It results in embarrassment and forces you to come up with excuses for why you’re late, putting a strain on your honesty. Basically, it makes your life more complicated; for those seeking to simplify their lives, cultivating punctuality is an essential part of that path.