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Be Punctual

black coffee mug early in the morning
Source: Canva

The perks of working remotely–in a coffee shop, at home, or coworking space–are highly encouraging for today’s workforce. It’s a great way to live your working life!

If you choose to be an online worker it is vital that you make a good impression as it can affect your future. Being on time to your virtual office each day is just as important as turning up on time in the physical world.

It matters a lot! More than you think.

There are many negatives that go along with having a habit of being late. Here are a few them:

  • Being late signals to others that you have self-control problems. In addition, people who are not punctual project incompetence.
  • Being late is rude to those whom you keep waiting. It tells others that you don’t value their time (which is the same thing as not valuing them).
  • Being late will probably make you feel flustered and insecure, and this will be reflected in the way in which you conduct yourself during the work day or with tasks that are late.
  • Being chronically late can make you lose your job, and it can strain your relationships with the people who are most important to you.

If the negative consequences are so obvious then why do some people have a punctuality problem?

  • Some people like the adrenaline rush that comes from cutting it close. They can’t motivate themselves to take action unless there’s a mini-crisis looming on the horizon.
  • Disorganisation is one of the main reasons why people are chronically late. It’s hard to be on time when you can’t find any clean clothes to wear, you misfiled the documents that you need for your meeting, or your house keys seem to have grown legs and walked off.
  • People who are easily distracted have a tendency to be late. After all, just when they’re about to walk out the door something shiny catches their eye and distracts them long enough to make them late.
  • Those who lack conscientiousness are chronically late. Conscientiousness includes regard for others and making deliberate choices.

Remember that in your virtual workplace, you don’t get to see or talk with your boss and workmates as often as you may want to so it’s harder to make that good impression.

This, coupled with the fact that you are perhaps new to the team, may spur doubts about your ability to do the work and submit tasks on time.

Ideally you want to develop a reputation for being dependable, or in another word – punctual!

So, regardless of the reason why you have a tendency to be late, there are things you can do to adopt the habit of being on time.

Turn Up to Work on Time, Every Day

1: Make Being Prompt a Priority

The first step in becoming punctual is accepting that you have a punctuality problem. Then, realise that it’s not a cute or quirky character trait. Instead, it’s a habit that’s having a negative impact on your career, on your colleagues, and/or on your relationships

Make a commitment to drop the tardiness habit and become punctual.

2: Know Why You Want to Be Punctual

Whenever you want to create a new habit, you need to be very clear on the reasons why you want to build that habit.

The more reasons you have for wanting to adopt a new habit, and the stronger those reasons are, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to make the new habit stick.

Sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and ask yourself what you’ll gain by overcoming your tardiness habit and adopting a habit of punctuality, instead.

You can write down things like the following:

  • Being on time will help you to cut down on stress (after all, few things are as stressful as always running late).
  • Being on time will reduce friction with your co-workers; nobody likes to be kept waiting.
  • Being on time will let your boss know that you can be counted on, which could lead to a promotion.

Be very clear on the benefits that you’ll gain by being punctual, and then keep reminding yourself of those benefits in order to motivate yourself to become someone who’s prompt.

3: Track How Long Tasks Take

woman writing schedule
Source Freepik

A lot of people who are constantly late have trouble determining how long it takes them to perform different tasks; even those tasks that they perform on a regular basis.

For example, they might think that it takes them 25 minutes to get ready in the mornings, when the reality is that it takes them a lot longer than that.

If you fall into this group of people, do the following:

  • Make a list of all the tasks that you have to get done in the morning in order to be ready for work in the morning.
  • Then, spend a week tracking how long it takes you to complete each of these tasks. For example, how long does it take you to wash your face and brush your teeth? How long does it take you to take a shower? How long does it take you to get dressed? How long does it take you to fix your hair?

Once you’ve tracked how long it takes you to get ready in the morning, you may realise that it takes you 45 minutes to be ready to sit down at your desk, not the 25 minutes that you previously thought.

If this is the case, accept that you need to start getting out of bed 20 minutes earlier in order to make it to your morning destination on time.

4: Use a Timer

Once you know how long it actually takes you to complete different tasks, use a timer to make sure that you adhere to those times.

For example, if you know that it takes you three minutes to take a shower, set a timer for three minutes right before you step into the shower. Then, when you hear the timer ring, turn the water off and step out of the shower right away.

5: Be Ruthless With Your Morning Tasks

woman writing on her tablet
Source Freepik

One reason why you may have a tendency to be late is because you simply have too much to do. If your schedule is unrealistic, how can you possibly be on time for anything? It’s better to say “no” to something you don’t have time for than it is to say “yes” and then be an hour late.

Take out your to do list and ruthlessly cross out anything that’s not a priority.

Make sure that you only commit to do the number of things which you can realistically get done, and which you can realistically be on time for. Punctual people accept that they can’t do it all.

6: Be Prepared to Be on Time

Preparation is one of the keys to punctuality. As an illustration, if you’re constantly late getting to your desk in the morning, set up the night before. The night before, do the following:

  • Choose the clothes that you’re going to wear and lay them out.
  • If you don’t work at home then make sure that your house keys or your car keys are by the door.
  • Make your breakfast — one idea is to cut up some fruits, put them in a container, and store the container in the fridge.

Always be prepared to be on time.

7: Be Prepared to Wait

People usually don’t like to be early because they feel that the time that they spend waiting for others is wasted time. That is, they prefer to be late rather than having some downtime.

The key to overcoming this hurdle is to be prepared to have to wait. Waiting time doesn’t have to be wasted time.

Do the following:

  • Keep a manila folder filled with industry related articles and take it with you so that you can catch up on your reading while you wait.
  • Plan to answer emails on your phone.
  • Use the downtime to close your eyes for a while and meditate.
  • See the waiting time as “extra time” and use it to work on a personal project.

The best way to avoid being late is to plan to be early. In addition, you can stop dreading being early by having a plan for how you’re going to use the waiting time.

8: Change Your Thoughts About Being Early

A lot of people think that those who are important keep others waiting. Therefore, being early is a sign that they’re not that important. And no one wants to feel unimportant.

However, being early is really a sign of being organised, having respect for others, and having good time management skills. And these are all character traits of important people.

Keep telling yourself, “Important people are punctual”.

When you’re on time you’re prepared to do your best. Being punctual signals to others, as well as to yourself, that you can be depended on.

Be on Time With Your Work Tasks, Every Day

Even if your work doesn’t involve daily time requirements of any kind, co-workers will probably notice if you consistently have difficulty meeting project deadlines.

Punctuality reassures your boss that you take your job seriously and work hard to meet business demands. When the opportunity for promotion rolls around, this will score points with your employer.

1: Be Punctual and Stick To Your Schedule

Turn in work on time because not doing so will affect the work of others. Respect other people’s schedule.

If possible, beat deadlines and do not leave anything to the last minute. Also note that not everyone might have the same bandwidth or internet speed as yours. Take this into consideration to avoid missing submission dates and such.

Punctuality is a sign of professionalism and will improve your image as an online freelancer.

2: Always Be Responsive

It’s important to always be straightforward with your communications. Say what you mean and convey it as clearly and concisely as possible. This saves time for both you and your colleagues.

3: Learn to Work Independently

Do your work well with zero (or at least minimal) errors or corrections and according to agreed specifications.

4: Show Dedication and Passion for Your Job

Your dedication and passion can be proven by being productive and finishing as many work as you possibly can. Cooperate with your manager and peers – remember, you’re still a part of a team – a virtual team at that.

Projecting and keeping a professional image online is a much needed skill at this time and age. Your online self should always have both feet forward.

In Summary

With more businesses coming up in the web, it is important to adapt to these changes in order to grow and progress. Online etiquette basics should be learned and applied to support communication and coordination between people in a virtual platform.

Just keep these important tips in mind and practice them consistently so you can stay on the right track.

Do what you say you’ll do, when you said you’d do it!

But how can you be punctual with your work? There are often a myriad of reasons why your work might be delayed, or the task does not go as you had planned, or unexpected family issues arise.

The key to maintaining a reputation for reliability within your team is your punctual appearance every day and your ability to meet task deadlines.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can you figure out how much time you need to perform your daily chores?

a. You don’t have to. If you work from home, it’s nobody’s business.

b. Track yourself for a week.

2. Why is it important to always be punctual?

a. You have more free time later on.

b. You appear more professional and dedicated.

c. You don’t have to be that perfectly punctual.

3. Should you be more independent in time?

a. No. You are hired to do what you are told to do.

b. Yes. Your employer wants somebody who is hands on the task to take initiative when needed.

c. No. Many employers want to spend their time micromanaging you.

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