NEW DELHI: Right from the time when we started to receive any kind of formal education, we all have been trained to be punctual. Most of us remember the school bell which would ring a minute before the school started, signaling all to
rush to their classes or the morning assembly. Many of us would have experienced standing outside the school gate for few minutes as a punishment for being late, or carrying notes to our parents requesting them to make sure that we reached school on time.
How is it then, many of us still grow up to be eternal ‘late comers’ in our personal and professional lives?
A friend told me that she was meeting another friend the next day at 11:00 am for coffee. When I called her at 11:30 am the next day, I was shocked to find out that she was on her way to the coffee shop and expected to reach there at 12:00 noon. Explaining why she was so late, she said that the person she was meeting had a history of always being late by an hour or more and there was no point in reaching there and waiting!
At a recent three-day workshop scheduled to start at 9:00 am, some participants walked in as late as 10:30 am. On being asked the reason, they had the usual excuse of being caught in a traffic jam. They were very convincing in what they were saying,
except for two things:
• There were other part-icipants in the same workshop who had come from the same place and had reached on time.
• Those that were late on day one continued to be late on other days as well. Of course the reasons were different — they were not feeling well, they overslept, et cetera.Many people attribute
being late to lack of time management skills. They lack scheduling skills because of which their timelines go haywire. Most of them would go for personal effectiveness and time
management classes, only to conclude thereafter that everything discussed was theoretical and it was
actually impossible to manage time and do things on time, because of so many factors beyond their control! Again, their arguments would have been bought, had it not been for so many other people who were sailing
in the same boat, yet manage to be punctual!
So what is it that makes some people perennially late and some always punctual?
I think there is one strong factor which differentiates the former from the latter
— their attitude.
Punctuality is more of an attitude. If a person values punctuality, he is going to be punctual, no matter what. It is important for him that he is able to organise things in a manner that ensures he is not late. It is a matter of
priority and seriousness. Our casual approach towards our and others’ time gets reflected when we are not punctual. Our punctuality is also a reflection of our respect and value for others as well as for the relationship. It speaks volumes about us and our personality.
So all of us having trouble with punctuality, let us start working on our attitude first!
(The author is a learning and development
professional and the chief synergist of Kiai Peoplez
Solutions at Delhi.
She can be reached at