Being Late Isn’t an Excuse, It’s a Choice

Being Late is a Choice

Are you always running late to your next meeting?

Rushing (even running) from one appointment to the next?

You say you aren’t going to be late again. Yet, you repeat the same behavior over and over.

Being late isn’t an excuse, it’s a choice you are making.

Late to the Meeting

Recently, I was in a meeting where one of the main participants didn’t show up on time. Not only was the individual late, you could say he was epically late. He showed up 25 minutes late to a 30 minute meeting.

Of course, when he arrived, he expected to be caught up on the conversation and re-start the meeting.

Quite to his shock, the meeting was over. People were getting up and leaving. Discussions had already occurred and decisions had been made.

Ironically, it was the late individual who had called the meeting in the first place.

Being Late Isn’t an Excuse

When did “Sorry I am late” become a standard meeting greeting?

Lateness is the acceptable norm in many companies.

Yet, tardiness is a habit. And a bad one at that.

It doesn’t have to be acceptable.

“Lateness isn’t an excuse. It’s a choice.” (Tweet this Quote)

You could have left that last meeting on time.
You could have departed earlier for your appointment.
You could have avoided rush hour if you wanted.
You could have allowed extra time since you had never been there before.
You could have been on time if you had made it a priority.

You chose not to do any of these things.

As well, the impact of lateness is often ignored…

Opportunities are missed by being late.
Reputations are tarnished by being late.
Jobs can even be lost by being late.

If you are always late, you have to make a choice to change your habit.

Here are some tips to help you avoid being late:

  • Always Allow Extra Time – You will underestimate how long it takes to get there… whether it is across town or down the hall. Always allow more time that you think you need.
  • Avoid Back-to-Back Meetings – Back-to-back meetings are a recipe for lateness. When you schedule consecutive appointments, you are setting yourself up to be late to the engagement.
  • Start Meetings on Time – Start meetings on time even if people are missing. Respect the time of those who did show up on time. As well, you set expectations for the next time.
  • End Meetings on Time No Matter What – You have probably been in the meeting that just won’t end. The time is up and the person speaking keeps going like it is a filibuster. Make sure you end the meeting on time… no matter what. Early is even better.

Choose to Be On Time

If you were late, you chose to be late. More importantly, you chose to not be on time.

Lateness is a choice. Punctuality is, as well.

Today, choose wisely. Choose to be on time.

Question: Are you choosing to be late to your appointments? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Guest

    I am rarely late but I work very hard not to be. I have ADHD so being late comes naturally to me. But like you said, there are strategies you can use to avoid being late. Avoiding back-to-back appointments is a big one. I ALWAYS regret when I do that because it always ends up badly. I also use timers. I set one to remind me to get ready and another one to tell me it’s actually time to go. I allow extra time. I get my stuff ready way before I need to go, usually the day before. I always put my keys back in my purse so I don’t have to search for them. I don’t start anything before I have to leave. Since I tend to hyperfocus, that’s a recipe for disaster. It does mean I waste some minutes I could use for other tasks but it’s more important for me to be on time. I loved your comment that being late is a choice. I absolutely agree and it irritates me when people are late. I feel like if I can be on time then anyone can.

    • kyle cross

      I have ADHD aswell but you seem to be organized and on time but i cant do that i can be there on time but organisation is a issue how do you do it????

  • HomemakersDaily

    I am rarely late but I work very hard not to be. I have ADHD so being late comes naturally to me. But like you said, there are strategies you can use to avoid being late. Avoiding back-to-back appointments is a big one. I ALWAYS regret when I do that because it always ends up badly. I also use timers. I set one to remind me to get ready and another one to tell me it’s actually time to go. I allow extra time. I get my stuff ready way before I need to go, usually the day before. I always put my keys back in my purse so I don’t have to search for them. I don’t start anything before I have to leave. Since I tend to hyperfocus, that’s a recipe for disaster. It does mean I waste some minutes I could use for other tasks but it’s more important for me to be on time. I loved your comment that being late is a choice. I absolutely agree and it irritates me when people are late. I feel like if I can be on time then anyone can.

  • Kelly

    Good points! One point I’d make is to consider the culture of the people with whom you are meeting before you decide to be strict about starting meetings on time. In Central and South America (or Hawaii, for that matter), starting exactly on time without waiting a bit would be seen as very rude.

    That said, I need to be on time more often!

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  • Stephen Lalla

    Great info. Years ago all of my clocks and watches were set 20 minutes ahead of time yet I was still late. Then I remembered something I had learned in the military, backplan. So instead of thinking “I have a 10:30a meeting,” I started thinking I have to leave at 10a in order to be there at 10:30a. And it worked. All my time pieces are set to real world time and I’m typically 5 or more minutes early. Plus using some GTD principles, I have things to do while I wait for my meeting or appointment. But it is definitely a choice.

  • Sarah

    I can completely agree with tardiness being a choice; being a college student, there will be some classes I despise to no end, and from my lack of interest I get lazy in going to the class. Not going to lie I have skipped a class here or there, and definitely showed up late on purpose. It’s a really bad habit…

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  • Bill Penn

    Guilty.

  • Jacob Eagleshield

    A persons word is the only thing they can truly call their own. If someone cannot be trusted to do what they say they are going to do,when they say they will do it,or be where they say they are going to be,when they say they are going to be there,they simply can’t be trusted for anything.
    In my book there are only two legitimate reasons for being late. 1)If we are under a nuclear attack,by invaders from Alpha Centari,or2) you’re dead. Anything else is BULL

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