8 Tips for Being on Time To Work and Meetings

Updated January 31, 2023

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Coming to work on time is essential for many professions. This is especially true if you work in a job where you have numerous appointments and meetings. By being punctual, you are being respectful of other people's time and are making a good impression.

In this article, we further discuss the importance of being on time and share some tips to help you become more punctual.

Related: 5 Key Tips for Improving Your Time Management Skills

Why is being on time important?

Being on time is important for the following reasons:

  • It's respectful of others. Showing up on time shows that you value other people's schedules and commitments. Since they made the effort to get to your meeting on time, you want to try to do the same.

  • It can help you feel relaxed. When you're late for work, this can lead to feelings of stress. When you plan out your morning to get to work on time, you can feel more at ease and finish your morning routine.

  • You can make a good impression. Being on time shows that you honor your commitments and are trustworthy. This can help you boost your reputation and open yourself up to more career opportunities.

  • You can set a good example. When working as a manager or high-level employee, entry-level employees may see you as their role model. Set good precedence by showing the value of being punctual.

  • It helps with scheduling. Being on time allows you to get all your work done as you intended. Likewise, when showing up to meetings or appointments as scheduled, you can ensure you are able to get to everything on the agenda.

Related: 7 Ways To Practice Conscientiousness at Work

Tips for being on time

While time management comes naturally for some professionals, it is a learned skill for others. With enough effort and practice, you can learn to be more punctual. These tips can help you show up to work and other commitments on time:

1. Plan for less

When planning your week, overestimate how long all of your tasks are going to take. This way, you have plenty of time for each of your engagements and have extra time if something else comes up.

Feel free to take on additional work as you make your way through your to-do list. The key is to make sure you have plenty of time for transitions. Think about your personal bandwidth and how many tasks you can effectively manage.

Related: Time Management Training: Best Practices and Tips

2. Use a timer

If you have multiple meetings or appointments in a row, let your team know how important it is that you follow the meeting's agenda. Consider setting a timer so that everyone is aware of how long to spend on each topic of the meeting.

Set a rule for yourself to end the meeting as soon as the timer goes off. Making this a habit helps you ensure you are making it to your next engagement on time.

3. Track your tasks

Learn how long each task takes you so that you can do better planning in the future. You can start with timing your morning routine. Keep track of your time for multiple days so you can get a realistic average of how long your morning routine takes.

This can help you wake up at a more reasonable time. For instance, if you often feel rushed in the morning, you may find that going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier will give you more time to do everything at a more leisurely pace while still getting to work on time.

Related: How To Organize Your Day To Maximize Success

4. Forget the snooze button

Rather than pressing the snooze button each morning, get into the habit of getting out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off. While this may feel challenging at first, it will eventually get easier. Having an extra 10 to 20 minutes each morning gives you more time to eat a healthy breakfast or pack a delicious lunch while still getting to work on time.

5. Plan for traffic

Whether you're about to embark on your morning commute or need to travel to meet a client, always assume there is going to be traffic. Check your GPS or listen to your local radio station to see if there is any current traffic jams.

Even if there isn't much traffic, at least you'll be at work or your meeting with plenty of time to spare. You can either show up early or use this extra time to go over your notes or mentally prepare for your day.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition and Examples

6. Set reminders

There are plenty of reminder applications you can use to help you remember your meetings or scheduled engagements. If you find you tend to forget about meetings, consider setting multiple reminders for yourself.

Your calendar app may even have the option to set reminders based on what you have scheduled. Even writing yourself a sticky note and putting it on your mirror or computer keyboard can help you remember to be on time.

7. Expect challenges

Even if your day is going smoothly, leave yourself enough time in case any last-minute situations occur. Anticipate conversations to last longer or meetings to go overtime. Expect a coworker to ask you a question or a situation to need your attention.

By expecting challenges to occur, you can take care of them while still being on time. Keep in mind, it is also perfectly fine to say, "I can't take care of this right now. I will get to it later." This way, you can focus on your current priorities.

8. Be more empathetic

Before deciding it's fine to be a little late, try to take on the perspective of the people you are leaving waiting. Decide how your lateness may impact their day. By being more empathetic, you can remember to put in more effort to be punctual.

If you ever are late, make sure to be respectful and apologize for it. While people understand that things come up, it's helpful to try to make this a rare occurrence.

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