Timeliness, how to be on time.

Being on time means getting prepared for it. You just don’t set a timer for the due date and time so you will be on time. You need to think about, in reverse, to all the things that need to happen for your be ready at exactly the desired time.

If you want to reach a meeting at 14:30, you don’t get your car at 14:30 to drive to your meeting.
The same happens if you are just 200 meters from the meeting place. You don’t get on your feet at 14:30 to reach that place. And if you go one step back you’ll have to get dressed. And if you keep on going back you will list all needed steps for you to get ready for that meeting.

It seems so obvious to appear stupid but I keep on having people joining meeting 1, 2, 5, 15, 20 minutes later. It’s disrespectful and a sign of being disorganized. If you don’t have a good reason to show up late you are just undervaluing the presence of others at your meeting.

It is a cultural matter. Sure. There are region of the world, including some dear to me, where there are diverse custom uses.

“See you at about 14:20” can mean anything between 14:20 and 15:00, if you are lucky.

“See you at about 14:00” can be anything within the hour.

The most menacing is “see you after 14:00”. What does it mean “after” 14:00? Even “in 200 years” is “after 14:00.” And it depends also if we’re talking about business or a casual meeting, with acquaintances or close friends.

One technique to try being on time is to never consider the due time as your target. According to the context, the distance and the difficulty to reach your meeting (think about Endurance on Mars) you might want to subtract a certain amount of time.

So, a nice game, is the one of time-labeling people according to how late they usually are.

For certain close relatives I always say see you at 14:00! (with the esclamation mark!) When I perfectly know they will reach me between 10 and 20 minutes later. In fact, I wanted to meet them at 14:20.

What time-label do you wear?

Senior Experience Designer. 25 years designing, developing, writing, speaking, facilitating and teaching.

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