Running late and wasting time

Waiting for someone who is running late is annoying. The issue is not trivial according to the Stop Lateness campaign which claims that the average British person losses 38 hours a year from lateness. That is a lot of wasted time. Running late and wasting time
No doubt you have heard some good excuses for running late and some not so good. A quick scan of the internet provides some interesting excuses for being late:
  • “My spouse thinks it's funny to hide my car keys before she goes to work.”
  • “I couldn’t find my car.”
  • “I found a tramp on my doorstep and gave him breakfast”.
  • “My mother forgot to wake me up.”
  • "My dog swallowed my ______ [car keys, alarm clock, etc]."
  • “The line was too long at Starbucks.”
  • “I forgot what day it was.”

What can be done if you are the waiter?
  1. Ring the late runner, find out where they all, and make new plans. For example, if you have a 10am meeting and they are not there at 10am then ring them straight away. Don’t wait around for 15 minutes (or worse) when you could be doing something better with your time.
  2. Be prepared for people who are notoriously late (You already know who they are). For example, pick them up; give them a reminder call (before the event); and warn them you are busy and won’t be able to wait for them if they are late.

What if you are one who often runs late? Are you damaging your reputation, a relationship or a business opportunity? Are you wasting other people’s time? Here are a few things to try:
  1. A good start is to know what time you need to be there. Often we hear (and usually too late) – “what time did it start again?”
  2. Set an expectation of when you will be there. Don’t let people think you are arriving at 1pm, when you actually plan to be there at 2pm.
  3. Plan to be there on time. Know what you need to do to arrive on time. Allow extra time and allow for problems (e.g – traffic).
  4. If you are running late, then contact the person you are meeting as early as possible to warn them.
  5. Just in case - have something to do if you arrive too early. For example, grab a coffee, make a couple of phone calls, or catch up on reading material.

Any thoughts - What do you do to ensure you arrive on time? How do you handle late running colleges?
References The ‘Stop Lateness’ figures were based on a ‘The Times London’ article (June 29, 2006).
Articles of interest Are you always late? 7 tips to arrive on time (Psychology Today)

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