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Spirit and punctuality

Shaun Proulx

Don’t ruin your personal brand – and stop wasting our time

The most precious commodity each of us have is our time. It’s the one thing of priceless value we spend, yet, unlike money, we can’t earn more. None of us knows how much time we have left, but all of us know we’ll one day run out of time, forever.

So let’s stop wasting each other’s time.

I’m not speaking to those late on occasion, this is to the growing number of people chronically late for work for personal appointments and commitments.

Your lateness — that might seem in recent times to have grown acceptable — still is not.

I’m talking to you Drifters, who feel 10:00 a.m. sharp means drifting in at 10:19, and that it’s all good because you texted saying you’re “five minutes out,” which translates always to fifteen minutes, as waiting punctuals all know.

You Drama Queens — who can’t function without a looming deadline, nothing happens with you unless it’s an 11th hour emergency — you’re addicted to the adrenaline rush but your lateness isn’t at all regal.

And you Madonnas, you over-achievers, scheduling your days so tight that nothing you do gets done well or on time, including meeting those who respect time: stop it.

You distracted Sketches drive me nuts the most, absent-mindedly trying to get from A to B, unable to even turn off your computer without winding up on Facebook for half an hour instead.

You Power Freaks are, well, freaks: you guys actually enjoy being late and keeping people waiting — it appeals to your rebellious nature and let’s everyone know “who’s boss.” Ugh.

Whatever version of late you are — and people chronically tardy for the party can be a blend of the above — being late is, ultimately, ugly passive arrogance. Late tells the person who arrived for you on time that you don’t value them and that you believe your time is more important than theirs.

But the joke’s on you: lateness damages your personal brand and reflects poorly on the brand that employs you. The rise in lateness (one study states one in five U.S. workers say they are late for work at least twice a week) as a falsely-perceived acceptable way of being can be blamed partially on technology. But just because you texted a photo of the traffic you’re in doesn’t change the fact you’re late, nor are you off the hook for wasting someone’s time, or for the fact you cost your employer money as they, your colleagues, and clients all waste their time too, a domino effect caused by you.

If you are regularly late, you may perceive time inaccurately. Try this quick test: Surf Facebook for what feels to you like two minutes, logging off when you hit that mark in your mind, no looking at a clock, as a timer keeps count.

Early-morning risers typically log off before the two-minute mark (arriving early) while late-risers keep surfing well past two minutes before finally logging off (late again).

If your time perception is off, let this information be power: the alarm on your phone should become your new best friend to signal when an hour is up, when you need to start getting ready, when you should call a cab, etc.

Other ways to become punctual and reliable:

Learn to tell real time

How long do the most repeated activities in your day — getting ready for work, commuting, grocery shopping, working out, etc. — take ... for real? Write common activities down and time them all. You’ve likely been running your schedule inaccurately because of faulty time perception.

Get cognitive

Chronically late people carry negative associations around the whole issue of being on time. Rethink timeliness into positives by noting the true benefits of being punctual. For example, my colleagues aren’t cranky when I arrive on time; my boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t lose their mind anymore.

The 10-minute rule

For every 20 minutes you believe you’ll take to complete a task or arrive somewhere, tell the person waiting on you that you’ll be 30 minutes. Managing expectations allows for life to happen while keeping you on schedule.

If you love life, don’t waste time — time is all life is made of.

- The Shaun Proulx Show airs on SiriusXM Canada Talks channel 167. He is the publisher of TheGayGuide and leads a #Thought Revolution about busting through personal limits on