There has been one time in history when being late was super cool…and it involved Jesus and a guy named Lazarus. You can read the story for yourself in John 11. (I guess, technically, Jesus wasn’t really late because it was all part of the plan anyway…but you get my point.)
Other than that – not cool.
As much as I’d like to believe I’m an on-time kind of person, I’ve found myself slipping in this as well. Twice in the past week as a matter of fact.
There are times when it is beyond our control. Like when your kid threw up on you right before you were about to leave. Or when your car won’t start. Or both. But more often than not, there are plenty of times when it is completely in our control…we just don’t want to admit it. (Ouch!)
Being on time shows that we are responsible with our own time and respectful of other people’s time.
How can we tame the beast of tardiness and instead be persistently punctual? Here are some suggestions:
- Do your homework. The day before, do what you can do so that’s less to do when it’s time to actually…do (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Pick your clothes. Do you have to take something with you? Set it by the door so you won’t forget it. Never been there before? Map it out to find out how far it is. Call ahead for landmarks and not the kind that involve the “Northwest corner of blah blah blah”. I need something like, “We’re next to the Walmart and McDonalds”. Now you’re speaking my language! Find out their parking situation. If you’re a cheapo like me and prefer to self park if possible, ask if that is an option. If it isn’t, at least you will know in advance and won’t spend 15 minutes looking for a free spot that doesn’t exist.
- Check your map app again. Traffic happens quickly but lasts forever (at least it feels that way). You may need to find an alternate route.
- “Aim to arrive early, not on time.” In her article “17 New Habits Every Chronically Late Woman Should Adopt”, Angelica Lai expands on her point with this explanation: “One major difference between chronically punctual and late people is how each group perceives earliness. Those who are on time will aim to get to a place earlier just in case anything goes wrong in the journey, while those who are late see being early as a waste of time and aim to get there almost just on time. To switch this mentality, think of ways to make being early more valuable. You can use the extra 10 to 15 minutes to read, check emails or grab that much needed cup of coffee next door. Being early is being constructive.”
- It will take longer than you think. The article puts it like this: “You can’t plan for everything, but you can give yourself the gift of more time in case something goes wrong.” That restaurant that is just 5 minutes away doesn’t mean you can leave your house 5 minutes before you are suppose to be there. Everything takes time. Leaving your house takes time. Getting every red light takes more time. Finding a parking spot at the restaurant can take even more time, especially if your husband likes to park far away to avoid door dings. Give yourself extra time.
- Put yourself in their shoes. You know how you feel when you are waiting for someone… do you really want to do that to someone else? Think about your last visit to your doctor’s office. We KNOW our doctor is doing something important (like saving lives) but it is still frustrating to wait if we are being honest. The Bible challenges us with this: Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
So, you may not find “Thou shalt not be late” in the Ten Commandments but maybe you will find some happy people when you show up…on time.
(If you are waiting on someone now and have more time, check out the article link above for more tips. And as tempting as it may be, try to wait at least until tomorrow to forward it to your late friend.)