5 Great Reasons to be On Time

This fall at the Dojo we’re talking about things that take zero talent.  There’s a list of ten items floating around the internet, but this week, I’m just going to focus on one of them – being on time.

What are the 5 great reasons to be on time?  In a nutshell, being on time:

Prepares you for your activity,
Keeps you focused on the present moment,
Shows respect for others,
Builds discipline and self-confidence, and lastly
Gives you choices and keeps you in control of your day.

Exactly how does being on time help you with all of these items listed above?  Keep reading to find out.

Being on time prepares you.

When you’re on time, whether for a class, a performance, a party, or any other event with a stated start time, you have the ability to prepare yourself for what’s about to happen. Before a class or meeting, you can sit down and relax for a minute or two and have time to get out your notebook and pen and maybe even review the agenda. For an athletic class, you have time to stretch or prepare your mind and body for the physical activity that you’re about to do. You don’t have that rushed feeling of being late and having to jump in after everything has gotten started. You are at your best. You’re calm, relaxed, and your mind is able to focus on what is happening right now. Speaking of that….

Being on time keeps you in the present moment.

Another term for present moment is mindfulness. One of my favorite philosophers who talks about mindfulness is Thich Nhat Hanh. He once said, “If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.” How does being on time keep us mindful and in the moment? Easy. By being on time, we are not always worried about getting to where we have to be, or rushing because we’ve gotten behind on our schedule. When you’re late, it throws off your whole day. If we’re on time, there’s none of that crazy stress we feel, like the day we oversleep and start the day behind. When it happens in our house, I run around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get the kids dressed, make their lunches, throw them in the car as fast as I can so they’re not late for school, and then when I get them there, I realize that I forgot to shower or even brush my hair. On those days, I do usually at least remember to brush my teeth before leaving the house. Anyway, I think we’ve all been there.
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Being on time shows the other person that you respect and value him or her.

My friends and I joke about the way people drive around here. Many times, other drivers just ignore the rules of the road, and we’ll say to each other, well, they obviously are more important than we are. That same thing can be said about being late. I think author Karen Joy Fowler had it right when she said, “Arriving late is a way of saying your own time is more valuable than the time of the person who waited for you.”  I know that when I go to an appointment, especially at the doctor’s office, I get impatient when I have to wait, because my time is valuable. Once my time is gone, I can’t ever get that back. The same is true for anyone else. If I keep someone waiting, I am stealing their time. Their time is just as valuable as mine, and by being on time, I’m showing that person that I not only respect him, but that I value the fact that he is giving me the one thing he can never, ever get back – his time
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Being on time develops discipline and self-confidence.

Setting an appointment, even if it’s just a recurring group class or a movie that you’re going to see, is almost like a promise. It’s setting a time to do something, and by sticking to it, you’re developing a discipline to hold yourself accountable. You are showing yourself that you are dependable, because you made yourself or someone else a promise that you would be there at this certain time, and you stuck to it. The more disciplined with your time you become, the more your self-confidence will grow. You’ll see that you can master your time and habits, and not give in to impulses as easily.

Being on time gives you choices.

Remember earlier when I talked about the day I was late and was in a rush from the very beginning of the day? On that day, the only choice I had was to play catch up ALL DAY LONG. When I’m late, I don’t even have a chance to sit and catch my breath, much less to make a choice about what I want to do. When I am in control of my time and am on time, that’s when I have freedom to do what I want with my day. As the saying goes, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” Some of the best days I have for myself or with my family are the days that I am on time. On school mornings, when I follow my schedule and am running on time, I know that I’ll have a few minutes to sit down with my husband and the kids, have a cup of coffee (a necessity most mornings), and take some time just to enjoy being with them. That’s the greatest benefit to me of being on time. I get to choose what I do with my time.

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To me, being on time is not something that has come naturally. I’ve had to work hard at it so that it now has become a habit. I don’t see it as something difficult to do anymore. Making being on time a priority in my life truly has become a blessing. I feel more relaxed and at peace, I can focus on what’s happening in the present moment, and most importantly, by being on time, I have the luxury of being able to choose what I do with all the extra time I have created for myself by not always running behind.

 

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