Early is really on time

Published on: June 12, 2019

Chamber News & Views

I don’t think I’m alone when I say it’s annoying to have to wait. In line –– In traffic –– At the DMV. Best case in point is your doctor’s office. The scheduler always tells you to arrive 15 to 30 minutes ahead of your appointment, supposedly, for paperwork and such. Then you wait and wait and, well, you know. And you’re forced to read every outdated magazine in sight while you wait some more.

So, okay. We know our doctors are serial offenders. But we all know someone else who is habitually late for everything. Or are you that person? To the rest of us, that can be beyond annoying. According to Brent Beshore, a contributor to Forbes Magazine: “Five minutes early is on time; on time is late; and late is unacceptable.” Sounds harsh, but I think it’s worth considering. Let’s break it down.

It doesn’t matter if you’re attending a party, a conference or a meeting. Your punctuality, or lack thereof, says volumes about you. Every study agrees. When you’re late, the main thing people think is that you’re being disrespectful of other people’s time. Why is your time more valuable than those waiting for you to arrive…late. To my doctor, yes, I am talking about you.

So what else does lateness say about you? We’ve got the disrespectful part. We also understand the inconsiderate aspect. But let’s go a little further. It does say you’re disorganized. If you can’t even manage your own calendar, what other parts of your life are hanging by a thread? You’re not inspiring much confidence from other people in your life.

If you break it down further, you’re wasting money — other people’s money. Let’s say everyone waiting for you to arrive makes $20 per hour. There are ten of them waiting for you for half an hour. So ten people each lost ten dollars for that half hour. That total damage you orchestrated cost $100. Who’s going to pick up that tab?

But sometimes people are late on purpose. Being intentionally late is about power. These people want to make sure others know they are a big deal and that they have the upper hand. Please don’t be that guy. That takes lateness to a whole new and unflattering level.

But tardiness doesn’t have to become a vicious cycle. Modern technology means there is no need to ever be late again. If your device doesn’t have a calendar or a clock, I’m sure there’s an app for that. Your GPS can even join in on the fun to let you know current traffic conditions and delays along the route to your meeting. And if, God forbid, you arrive early, mobile technology means you won’t waste your time. Every place you go will probably have access to Wi-Fi, and with some combination of smartphone, laptop and tablet, you can keep yourself occupied till every last late person arrives.

See you at the next chamber function at which I will be five minutes early — I mean, on time.

Lynne Conlan is Executive Director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email