2 min read

If You're On Time, You're Late

Be where you said you'd be when you said you'd be there.
A closeup of a person's arm wearing a watch as if checking the time.
Photo by Brad Neathery / Unsplash
This post was originally published on March 21, 2012 on Forbes.com.

Punctuality is one of the least talked about victims of our instantly connected world. The death of proper grammar has been bemoaned for years as the shorthand of tweens texting has now moved onto Twitter. The decline of face-to-face conversation has been documented and mourned as people now prefer to sit at a dinner table and tweet about the people they're with instead of being with the people they're with. But the decline and deprioritization of punctuality is the silent victim that I, and anyone else operating on Hustle Standard Time, are most acutely aware of.

When I lived in London in 2004, I was there on a shoestring student's budget as were most of the other folks that I spent time with. When we would all meet up somewhere, there was the assumption that whatever time we said we'd meet up was the time we'd meet up because not everyone had a mobile and, for those of us that did, there was a very real chance we hadn't topped it off. So, as a result, everyone was on time or you were left behind.

Now, because we can immediately communicate in some way, shape, or form from our always-connected and always-on devices, we can tweet, text, or email a "running a little late" note anytime. And having that Ace up our sleeve, and no consequence to using it, has led to more delayed meetings than I care to count.

One of my first bosses told me, "If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late." I've fought hard to make sure that subways, cabs, and 'really quick questions' from co-workers haven't kept me from being where I said I would be when I said I would be there.  Being prompt shows respect for the busy-ness of others and gets meetings off to the right start. There is nothing worse than walking into a meeting apologizing.

I value my time immensely and want to show respect for other's time as well. It's the only possession we really have and will never get back once it's gone. Don't waste yours or someone else's. Be where you said you'd be when you said you'd be there.