Lesson learned: Lina, an attractive lady in her mid 80’s, was thoughtfully reminiscing about her father and her strict upbringing. “At an early age, we were taught to be punctual because that meant being considerate of other people’s time.” She went on to explain that in order to be respectful of others, her family was always fifteen minutes early for every gathering and appointment. Lina acknowledged that this was a valuable life lesson that she continued throughout the years; so much so that she passed it along to her children as well.
I reflected on Lina’s words and recalled similar admonishments from my own parents about being on time. Punctuality, however, isn’t just an attribute that is confined to the home; it is also a trait that many employers demand of their employees. For example, Charlie Manuel, the former manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, once indicated in an interview that being on time was one of the golden rules he required of his players.
Horizon Services, a local plumbing, heating and air conditioning services company, runs a radio ad with a similar message. It acknowledges that mom always said that being fifteen minutes early is being on time. Being on time means you are late and being late is unacceptable.
Punctuality can even be the central message of a professional ad campaign created for a large corporation. In 1985, Lufthansa German Airlines created a magazine advertisement that focused on a deliverable that most passengers expect from an airline, namely, on-time arrivals. It read “on six continents, one word is synonymous with punctuality – Lufthansa!” In this context, punctuality conveys a positive and highly sought after value add.
In his best-selling book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”, Richard Carlson suggests that you “give yourself ten extra minutes” to remain on schedule. By doing so, he writes, it can make all the difference between a stressful day and a joyful one. I plan on heeding this advice. From now on, I’m going to give myself fifteen extra minutes so I can enjoy a few relaxed moments without the pressure of being late.