Early is on Time

You know the rest of the saying so I don’t have to finish it.  No, this is not a “deep and wonderful" article, but still an important one.  I’ve been contemplating writing about this for quite some time and I am finally doing it. While I do not claim to be an expert on punctuality, I do have some experience in my own life and I wanted to share what I’ve learned.  You may be asking “why is she writing about being on time?”   Well, because tardiness and punctuality may be what's stopping you from being promoted on your job, in ministry or other activities you’re involved in.

Daniel 6:3 speaks of Daniel having “an excellent spirit” in him.  That excellent spirit distinguished him and caused him to be promoted.   I am sure there are many facets to having an excellent spirit and I believe being on time is one of them.  I understand things happen occasionally but being habitually late is different.  Being late shows a lack of excellence and a disrespect of time - your time, the person or people waiting for you and the person or people depending on you. It also produces hurriedness and anxiety, which usually lead to frustration.  Friends, if you’re habitually late and really want to change, below, are a few practical tips you can use to help you in your day to day to life.  Mastering punctuality will change your life!

While getting dressed and preparing to leave the house, eliminate distractions.  Television and cellular phones are HUGE distractions to getting ready for work, school, church, etc.  If you feel the need to check the traffic, then do just that. Don't keep watching TV or looking at your phone. Put it down or turn it off!  Don't even talk on the phone while you're getting ready. I did not allow my children to watch TV until they were completely dressed. I, personally, never check the traffic because I’ve built in enough time in my morning routine to account for that.   “But Tamara, you don’t have any kids to drop off in the morning.”   At one season in my life, I had to drop off my three children at three different schools and be to work by 8:15.   My job was about 13 miles away. I was never late and my boss at that time bragged about my attendance because I was the only single parent on the team and I had the best attendance on the team.  You can do it!  Remember, your children are watching you.

Set a target leave time that’s at least 10 minutes before your absolute leave time.  In other words, build in some grace time.   For example, if I know the latest I can leave and be on time for work is 7:30 a.m., I set my target leave time to 7:20 a.m.  However, if something goes wrong and I happen to leave later than 7:20 but before 7:30, I’ll still make it to work with time to spare.  Being on time for work means arriving early enough to get your coffee BEFORE you clock in. Arriving a few minutes early allows you to settle yourself before the start of your work day. 

Stop making being late culturally acceptable.  Late is late no matter what race or culture you’re from. Now granted you may have informal events for family and such, but if a time is associated with it, do your best be there.  If you’re hosting an event and you set a start time, don’t have guests arriving and you’re still setting up.  That is a no-no!

Put a clock in the bathroom.  I have a clock in my bathroom.   Yes, I do.  Why?  Because the bathroom is the place where we can lose the most time.   What you intend to be five minutes in the bathroom can easily turn into twenty minutes, thus throwing your entire morning off schedule.  

Do things at night and stay organized.  Some people iron their clothes, fix lunches or do their child’s hair at night.   As I mentioned earlier, I no longer have to drop off kids anywhere but I still have to get to work.   At night, I already know what I am going to wear the next day and if it’ll need ironing.  At least knowing what I’m going to wear cuts down on the time it takes to find something the next day.  This is also the reason why staying organized is very helpful. My children know I cannot stand to have to look for anything out of place. It takes up too much time.  Even if your entire home is not organized, at least organize the items you need for work and school each day. 

These are tips that I use every day.  I value being on time and I value excellence. As I grow in life, I am learning to be excellent everywhere.  With God, all things are possible and yes, that means even learning how to be punctual. Be encouraged! © 2017


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