Sometimes, it’s hard to be on time.
I can give you time management techniques so you’re never late again (yes, it’s that good!).
First, let’s talk about why you need to be on time…
Why You Need to Be On Time
When you say you will be somewhere at a certain time, you are making a commitment to that person.
When you are late, you are telling that person that you don’t do what you say you will do. This is a reflection on your integrity.
Being on time shows that you are a person of your word.
Being on time isn’t about you. It is about the person who you are meeting. When you are late, you are saying you don’t respect that other person’s time. If nothing else, you are saying that you respect your time more than their time.
Over time, whether you realize it or not, being late strains your relationships (whether that’s professionally, personally, or both).
The bottom line is it’s pretty important to be on time. Of course, I am talking about usually and generally. Certainly, there are emergencies (real emergencies like you’re in the hospital or got into car accident) where you cannot be on time. But the emergencies are the rare exception, not the rule. “Traffic was horrible” isn’t going to cut it if you are late.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff. Let’s talk about time management techniques that teach you how to be on time.
How to Be On Time
Follow this six-step process to manage your time so you’re never late again. This process is something I learned from the book The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes (you never know what you’re going to learn in books these days!).
Step 1. Don’t look until you’re ready
The first step is to not look at anything until you’re ready to work on it. Meaning, don’t glance at emails, start projects, or dabble in something you don’t have time for.
Only start something when you have time to work on it. This will enhance your concentration and allow you to be more effective. Practice this ruthlessly.
2. Make lists of things you need to get done
Make lists (in order of priority) of things you need to get done on a regular basis. This allows you to be proactive instead of reactive. If you’re proactive, you’re going to be able to accomplish your goals and whatever else you put your mind to. If you’re reactive, you’ll be working on what someone else has in mind.
I do this by using the Productivity Planner (it’s specifically made for organizing your tasks based on the highest priority first).
Lists help you accomplish your goals and achieve high productivity. (Be weary of creating massive lists, though — you want to be able to accomplish most things on your list!)
3. Plan how much time you’ll spend on each item on your list
Next to each item on your list, write down the amount of time you plan to spend on that task. For example, if you have “Write an article” on your list, next to it put how long it will take to write (e.g.: “2 hours”).
In the Productivity Planner, there are specific spots that I fill in to acknowledge the time it’s going to take. If you’re using a different system or just a notepad or calendar, make sure you acknowledge the exact amount of time you’re going to spend on a task.
Putting time frames next to each item will enable you to be realistic about your list and help you optimize how you spend your time.
4. Plan out your day on your calendar
Every night, plan what the following day will look like, down to the minute.
I do this regularly at the beginning of every week and it works wonders. It enables me to be proactive instead of reactive. I know what I need to do that day, so I have increased focus.
Time slots for tasks on your list are critical. They’re where the magic’s at!
5. Prioritize your list
When making your list for the day and scheduling it, put your top priorities first (early in the day). This will make sure that what’s most important actually gets done. Not only that, but you’ll feel really good about accomplishing what’s most important to you.
You can use this free PDF to see how the Productivity Planner works with prioritizing your tasks (it’s a game changer).
6. Purge as much as possible
Purge anything you’re not in love with or not using. This is a minimalist/essentialist tactic. What does this have to do with time management? Well, it’s amazing the type of clarity you’ll have in your life when you follow this step. It will enable you to accomplish more, quicker. And therefore, you’ll be much more efficient with your time.
A Final Note!
Being on time is easy for some people and really hard for other people. Regardless of what camp you’re in, practice prioritizing being on time. If you don’t, you’ll sacrifice your own integrity and tarnish your relationships. I learned the six steps above from The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes, but they’re tactics I’ve been using successfully for years.
Good time management allows you to lead a proactive life that you love instead of a reactionary, busy, average one.