Anytime But On Time

5 min read • Aug 22, 2013 • Guest Post

Untitled1In college I worked for my cousin at his construction business.  We focused primarily on footings.  It was brutal work but I made a lot of money to help pay for my college education.

My cousin is well known and respected by other general contractors.  He has the reputation of being the best footings guy in the state and the only guy that keeps his word and would show up for a project when he says he will. As a result of his reputation and his ability to keep his word and show up on time, contractors from around the state refused to work with others and would hold off and delay projects until he could get his team there to do the work.

Contrast this to one of the concrete providers we used.  This concrete provider was a huge company and was the largest provider in the state.  In all my time working construction, I rarely heard the company referred to by its official business name.  Not just among the guys I worked with but also by other sub-contractors, contractors and others, the phrase, “anytime but on time” was always included with any and all references to the company.

UntitledIn my time working construction I can’t remember a single time that this company was on time.  My cousins would ridicule and tease the drivers and all they could do was sit there and take it.  They knew they were late and they heard the “anytime but on time” phrase hundreds of times a day but no matter how frustrated they got hearing it or how mad the owners and managers got of hearing it they couldn’t do anything to figure it out and actually fix the problem.

I learned a valuable lesson about being on time while working for him.  The ability to be on time and keep commitments is important to your long-term success and as in the case of my cousin can give you a competitive advantage over others in your industry. In my industry, public relations, the ability to meet deadlines and be on time is critical.  The press is always on deadline and if you can’t accommodate or meet their deadlines you’ll get left behind.

Here are some tips to arriving on time and not being branded as the person that can’t ever show up on time.

  • Prepare in advance.  Take some time to think about how long it usually takes you to travel or get from one place to another.  Think about the other tasks you have to accomplish and prioritize these activities.  I start every day by creating a list of the things I need to accomplish.  I prioritize those activities and start with the most urgent tasks.  If something unexpected comes up, I know which activities I can postpone in favor of the unexpected emergencies that sometimes come up.
  • Create a schedule.  A schedule should give you a checklist to work from. In my experience, it’s nice to have a list to work from and to ensure that you’re not forgetting something.  I travel once a quarter for onsite meetings with a client in another state.  For these meetings I create a schedule to help ensure that when I arrive onsite for the meetings I have everything I need.
  • Start early.  My wife taught me this.  When we have a vacation or event like a holiday to prepare and plan for she starts early.  She creates a list of the things we need to do to be ready for the event.  If the event is a vacation, her list includes things like arranging for mail to be held during the trip, cleaning the house, packing luggage and paying bills in advance.  She even plans grocery shopping and charging camera batteries in advance.  By doing this, we’re not waking up the day we leave for vacation trying to pack luggage in time to catch our flight.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to travel from one appointment to another.  I hate being late and will always leave early so I can arrive early.  I would rather arrive 10 or 15 minutes early than show up even a minute late.  This drives my wife nuts because we’ll show up early and sit in the car until the meeting or event starts.  For me, being early allows me to avoid stress related to being late and not be frantic trying to get started with whatever it is we’re doing.  My wife, by he way, is never late but doesn’t feel the same need I do to leave earlier than necessary.
  • Plan for unexpected events.  I set up an interview with one my clients the other day and on the way to the interview my client was involved in a fender bender.  It wasn’t his fault, he was rear ended by another motorist.  This was certainly something that was not expected but he had left early enough that even while waiting for the police to come and issue citations he was still able to get to the interview on time.  Things like this happen all the time, but if you plan and leave early enough you can still keep and make appointments.

An inability to arrive on time is a sign of laziness and demonstrates that you don’t care or that a meeting or commitment is unimportant.  In the business world it can destroy your brand and reputation.   By being prompt and keeping commitments you built trust and demonstrate your commitment to your career, your clients and the others that you work with.

Jeremy KartchnerAbout Jeremy Kartchner

Jeremy Kartchner is a Partner at Snapp Conner PR and has more than 15 years experience in both technology and sports PR.  In addition to his responsibilities with Snapp Conner PR, Kartchner also works with the Utah Jazz as a member of its Game Night public relations staff where he is responsible for tracking and providing game time statistics for local, national and international media and conducting pre and post game player and coach interviews. He’s a sports fan, golfer, father of three, husband to one hottie, partially bionic, cavity free, Olympics junkie and wanna be blogger.

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