Do you struggle with missed deadlines, forgotten appointments, and being chronically late for appointments and meetings? While no one is immune from this happening from time to time, there are some common traits I see in people who regularly and consistently are on time and meet their commitments and deadlines.
Value it. Timely people see their time – and yours – as valuable. Once a commitment is set or an appointment made, they have every intention of being there as agreed. Whether it’s a job interview or a casual lunch with a friend, it’s a priority. They may also see being late or missing an agreed upon deadline as a sign of disrespect.
Have a central place to track all calendared events. The fewer places you have to look to get a good picture of what you have scheduled, the better. Timely people use a system or calendar that works for them (either paper or technology) and then update it regularly so that they have one “go to” place that reflects their schedule and where they need to be.
Don’t rely on their memory. Rarely do I meet someone that doesn’t have a lot going on in their lives. Not only are we busy but there is almost constant input into our brains from TV, internet, society, etc. Timely people recognize that they may forget and will usually put an appointment onto their calendar or make note of a task to do immediately. Not only will it alleviate something being forgotten, they also recognize that it means they don’t need to keep thinking and re-thinking “Oh yeah, I’ve got to _______”.
Recognize transition time. It takes time to get from point A to point B. It also takes time to finish up one task, shift focus, and move into another one. Timely people recognize the need to build in extra time to make those transitions. They’ll usually even add a bit of “buffer” in case traffic is bad or it takes longer to change focus when moving from one project to another.
Look ahead. Timely people regularly look ahead to see what’s on their schedule for the coming days or weeks. They have a good feel for the flow of the weeks to come and what commitments are approaching. When you expand your view beyond today or tomorrow, you see deliverables approaching well in advance instead of having them sneak up on you.
Of course, even the most timely person isn’t perfect and there are times when they overlook things or run late. But it isn’t really about being perfect in this area. It’s about being consistent. We tend to have less patience and understanding for those we know who have a bad habit of missing appointments or deadlines. If others are looking at your "timeliness" habits – what do you think those habits are saying about you?
Cindy B Sullivan is a Productivity and Time Management Consultant, Certified Professional Organizer and coach. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for regular time management and productivity updates, tips, and events. www.cbSullivanConsulting.com Complimentary Consultations available.