How to Be Punctual

It can be difficult to maintain a sense of time when you’re constantly on the move. From commuting and work meetings, to meal prep and socializing with friends, there’s always something going on during your day that might leave you scrambling for an answer as to what time it is.

Being punctual is important for many reasons. It can help you to be more productive, save time and avoid being late for an appointment. To be punctual at home, it helps to have a plan of what needs to get done when. Read more in detail here: how to be punctual at home.

Vintage man businessman looking down at watch.

Part I: The Importance of Punctuality may be found here.

Being timely is a skill that every man can learn; it requires no unique qualities or capabilities. Even if you believe it is an essential attribute to have, you may still struggle with being on time and find it difficult to break the habit of constantly being late. Each time you’re late, you vow to be more timely, but you quickly find yourself behind schedule again. What is the reason behind this?

It’s not just a question of being busy; the busiest individuals are typically the most timely, while those with the least to do struggle the most to stay on schedule. It’s also not that late individuals don’t leave themselves enough time to be on time; even if they do, they wind up taking longer and arriving late. And, contrary to conventional perceptions of latecomers as slackers who wilfully ignore the needs of others, the majority of people who struggle with being late really want to be on time. However, advising someone to “just do it” is ineffective since there are typically deeper, unconscious concerns and motives at work. Those who are often late may have a tendency to:

The passage of time is misunderstood. According to studies, persons who are habitually late underestimate the amount of time that has elapsed. So, if you need to go someplace at noon, you may start getting ready at 11:15, assuming you’ll have plenty of time. You’re dawdling in the bathroom, thinking it’s been around 20 minutes, but when you peek out the door to check the time, you’re astonished to discover it’s really 11:45, and you start frantically trying to rush out the door.

Don’t underestimate the time it will take. Those who are often late tend to underestimate how long something will take, even when there is plenty of evidence to the opposite… because they do it every day and it always takes longer than they think it would. When a guy isn’t timely, he gets set on the greatest time they’ve ever done anything in, even if it was an exception. For example, it took you 12 minutes to drive to work on a holiday when there was no traffic and you caught practically every green light. As a result, anytime you consider how long it will take to travel to work, the number 12 will pop into your head. Despite this, your journey takes 17-20 minutes every day. As a result, you’re around five minutes late to work every day.

Use “magical thinking” to your advantage. The tardy are eternal optimists when it comes to time. They feel they can do a large number of tasks in a short period of time, or that each task will take less time than it really does. This kind of magical thinking is often the result of a carefree upbringing, in which they were taught that everything is possible if you believe it, and that the natural rules of time and space that limit others don’t apply to them. They perceive the world in the way they want it to be, not in the way it really is. Being timely necessitates compromises – I’ll have to give up this in order to complete this – but magical thinkers want it all.


In general, procrastinate. People who have a hard time being on time are more likely to procrastinate in other aspects of their life. This might be due to the fact that they are more easily distracted than others, that they need a deadline to stay focused, or that they love the “rush” of racing against the time. (For further information, see the section below.)

Allow yourself to be easily diverted. Those who are easily distracted have a hard time staying on schedule because they are lured into point C on their route from point A to point B. You’re about to leave the house and decide it wouldn’t hurt to check your email first. As you’re checking your email, you decide to check Facebook as well, and before you know it, ten minutes have passed.

To stay motivated, you’ll need an external deadline. Some individuals believe they work best under duress and can’t seem to get started until a deadline looms. They enter moderately terrified hyper-drive mode at this time.

Vintage man businessman overcoat running yelling late.

Take pleasure in the excitement of trying to beat the clock. The urge to beat the clock might seem like an exhilarating race for individuals who are easily bored, love taking risks, and crave spurts of extreme stimulation. A rush of adrenaline makes you feel alert and focused, and your attention is drawn to a single problem: how to reach where you’re going on time. It might seem like the last minutes of a big game: everything is on the line, and the stakes are enormous. When you win, it’s exhilarating and very fulfilling. You may lose, just like in a game, if you forget your homework, deliver a rushed presentation at work, or leave your child waiting at the curb. Those who are late because they like the adrenaline of racing against the clock ignite their own fires in order to experience the pleasure of putting them out afterwards.

Feel apprehensive. According to studies, persons who suffer with being late are more worried in general than others. They may utilize the adrenaline surge indicated above to distract themselves from their anxiety. If you’re afraid about how things will go when you meet someone or have to give a presentation, being late diverts your attention away from what’s coming next and instead focuses it on getting there on time.

Desire to be unique or remarkable. This individual may see punctuality as a sign of a substandard, conformist existence. Being late might give a little buffer against feeling like you’ve settled down too much if you don’t have the life you’ve always wanted. It’s a modest way of feeling unique, of standing out from the crowd and marching to your own drum, even if the rest of your life is very conventional.

Participate in passive-aggressive defiance. This guy, who was often reared by strict, controlling parents, has a continual feeling that others are breathing down his neck, and as a result, he rebels carelessly against any norms, even sensible ones that he knowingly agreed to. When he is in an unpleasant circumstance, he is unable to express his wants or openly face the issue, and consequently feels helpless to alter it. To preserve a feeling of control over his life, he resorts to little acts of rebellion such as being late.


Desire to be in command. People who are waiting for them amuse some males. It boosts their ego and provides them a sense of control, which they desperately need in other parts of their life.

How to Break the Habit of Being Late: Tips for Always Being On Time

If you have a history of routinely being late, maybe you can now understand that the root of your problem is more complex and harder to overcome than you previously thought (and that if you have an unpunctual loved one, you should be patient and charitable with them). When we get into a habit, our mind does a (often unconscious) cost/benefit analysis and determines which path of action is more helpful than the other. As a result, it’s critical to discover and foster a benefit of the new behavior while breaking an old one. Here are several methods for doing so, as well as some suggestions for improving your time perception, avoiding magical clock thinking, and always arriving on time:

Accept responsibility for the issue. When someone understands what is right and wants to do it but is unable to do so, they often turn to rationalizations to alleviate the disconnect between who they want to be and how they actually behave. This might take the shape of concluding that being timely isn’t all that essential, or that individuals who require timeliness are too concerned, or of explaining their tardiness by blaming particular conditions…even if they confront those same problems every day. As a result, the first step in overcoming lateness is to stop rationalizing and accept responsibility for the issue.

Reframe timeliness as a question of character. It’s much easier to achieve a goal when you have a strong feeling of purpose and drive. So, instead of seeing punctuality as something your mother or schoolteacher imposed on you, consider it an issue of integrity – a method of honoring your commitments and being a man of your word. Put yourself in the position of the other person and consider the difficulty your tardiness may give them. You may go from depending on external incentive (deadlines) to internal drive after you’ve formed an inner belief about the value of timeliness (excellence).

Start noting the advantages of being on time. Remember to substitute the advantage you used to receive from being late (the adrenaline of beating the clock, the sensation of being exceptional, etc.) with a new one for being prompt. So start noting the advantages of being on time. These might include feelings of self-mastery, increased confidence and control over your life, and the respect you get from others for being dependable.

Learn to communicate your requirements and don’t fight what you picked for yourself. If numerous conditions in your life are causing you distress, it is up to you to express your demands and leave or modify the situation, rather than passively resisting by coming late. Examine the matter honestly: why are you rebelling if you freely promised to be timely for a job or anything else? If you don’t like your work, go for another one; if you do, follow your word to show there on time.


Consider yourself a member of a group. There are moments when you want to be a completely self-sufficient guy, and other times when it’s beneficial to perceive oneself as contributing to something wonderful. When you arrive on time for a date night meal with your wife, you help to make the evening more peaceful and pleasurable.

Concentration is something you should work on. If you’re often late because you can’t remain focused on what you need to accomplish to be someplace on time, improving your mental discipline and ability to concentrate might be really beneficial. Daily meditation is an effective technique to do this. In a few weeks, we’ll also have an article with some basic focus exercises to help you improve your attention muscle.

Find more productive methods to feel exceptional and enjoy an adrenaline rush. If you always allow extra time to get someplace because you like the drama and excitement of attempting to “beat the buzzer,” you may want to rethink how many thrills you have in your life. Because, although it’s natural that you like that sensation, isn’t it a pathetic way to get your jollies? Even if you “win,” the only thing that matters is that you don’t arrive late. Instead, search for ways to include other things into your life that entail danger and get your adrenaline pumping, but that don’t bother others or jeopardize your personal and professional success for no reason, and that may even make you a better man.

Similarly, always being late in order to avoid seeming “ordinary” or “conforming” is a fairly shabby effort at feeling unique. After all, being selfish isn’t really unusual. If you actually want to stand out from the crowd, work on building the life you desire and pursuing your passion.

Vintage men businessmen waiting in chairs overcoats.

Rethink what you mean by “wasted” time. If you don’t enjoy arriving even a minute early because you think waiting time is lost time – either because it’s dull or because you might be doing anything else — reframe squandered time as guilt-free, luxury leisure. It’s difficult to get away from work-related duties and do something completely unrelated, or something nice and enjoyable that is work-related or connected to backburner ambitions that you can never seem to find time for, in our crazy life. Allow yourself to do such things whenever you’re early and waiting for someone. Take some time to read a book or a magazine. Play the Angry Birds game. Make a list of numbers. Consider a concept. Relax and contemplate for a while. Waiting time may become something you look forward to, a new advantage to replace the one you received from being late. You may even get dissatisfied if you are not given the opportunity to wait!

To make this strategy work, always have a book, pen, or notepad with you so you may use them during your guilt-free fun time. Of course, your phone can do most of these activities as well, and you’ll almost certainly have it with you at all times.


Arrive 15 minutes early at all times. If you’re on time, you’re late, according to an ancient adage. Men like Vince Lombardi and Horatio Nelson lived by the guideline of arriving 15 minutes early. You’ll run into unanticipated problems half of the time – traffic, difficulty locating the building or a parking spot — and yet arrive on time. When you arrive 15 minutes early the other half of the time, you’ll have a quarter-hour to do something fun or prepare for the meeting or interview.

It’s vital to remember that there are instances when you don’t want to be early and may even prefer to be late. When picking up a date, for example, strive to arrive exactly on time or a minute or two later than you said you’d be there; your date may plan on utilizing every minute up until you said you’d be there to get dressed, and you don’t want to have her uncomfortably answer the door in her robe. People are also expected to be a bit late when it comes to things like dinner parties; this provides the hostess a little additional time to wrap up her preparations. I read several comments on Monday’s article suggesting that you should come 15 minutes late to a dinner party, but I believe that’s excessive; 5-10 minutes is more reasonable. A hostess will start to wonder where you are after 10 minutes, and if the hostess’ meal was ready when the planned time came, the fact that it had been cooling for 15 minutes would start to bother her.

Basically, if being early would make people feel uncomfortable and/or compel them to divert their focus to entertaining you when they have other things to do, then come on time or a bit later.

Correct your erroneous time perceptions and magical thinking. As previously said, persons who suffer with being late often believe that time passes more slowly than it really does, or that they can do more in a given amount of time than they actually can. If you fall into this group, there are a few things you can do to educate your mind to think about time more accurately:

Make a chart depicting how long you believe several of your everyday duties will take you.

Take notes on stuff like:

  • 20 minutes to get ready in the morning
  • 15 minutes to eat breakfast
  • 9-minute commute to work
  • 15-minute commute from work to the gym
  • 45-minute workout at the gym

After you’ve made your list, buy a timer (or a timer watch) and a notepad to keep with you throughout the day. Make a note of how long each action takes. Do this for a week; any one day might be an outlier. Compare your estimates of how long your daily tasks should take with how long they really took at the end of the week. After averaging the actual timings for each work, allocate yourself that amount of time each day to finish the assignment going forward. Remember that if you find yourself with additional time, you may utilize it to do something fun. You should keep a running tally of how long your everyday activities take in a visible location. These correct, idealistic eras will eventually take the place of the erroneous, idealized times that were previously lodged in your memory.


Use a daily calendar to keep track of your time.

When your daily plans are unclear and hazy, you wind up spending too little time on certain things and too much time on others, making it difficult to catch up and complete tasks on time. Instead, schedule what you’ll do each hour of the day and how much time you’ll spend on each activity.

To keep on track, set a timer.

Set a countdown timer with how long you want to spend on each task on a huge display you can see from across the room; this will help you stay on track. All the better if it has a function that gives you a five minute/one minute warning. If you’re often late because you’re easily distracted, search for a timer that beeps at regular intervals; when you hear the beep, take a minute to evaluate whether you’re still on track or have wandered off.

Keep a clock in each room, including the bathroom.

A clock will help you stay on track with the passage of time. However, I do not endorse the popular strategy of shifting your clock forward slightly in the hopes of increasing your sense of urgency. Your mind will merely adjust its calculations to account for the additional time, and you will be just as late as before.

Keep everything in its proper location. Put your keys on a hook inside the door when you arrive home. Put your phone, wallet, and other pocket items in a dresser valet (preferably with a charger so your phone is charged and ready to go in the morning) or box. That way, when you leave the home the following day, you won’t be late because you frantically searched the whole house for your keys.

Important objects should be kept near the door. If you have anything specific you need to remember to carry with you in the morning — schoolwork, papers, samples, tools, etc. — place it directly outside the door you’ll depart by in the morning, so you’ll almost trip over it on your way out. You may also hang them from the doorknob in a plastic shopping bag.

What are your suggestions for staying on schedule? Please share them in the comments!


Diana DeLonzor’s Never Be Late Again



Being on time is an important skill to have and being punctual can be hard. This article will provide some tips for how to be punctual. Reference: please be punctual.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I not be late?

A: You need to be on time for everything. If you are not ready, it is better to ask someone else who is late than leave the group and risk being at a disadvantage later in the event.

What are the qualities of punctual person?

A: A punctual person is someone who arrives at their desired location on time. They are attentive and considerate of other peoples schedules.

How can I train myself to be on time?

A: This is a difficult question, but the best advice I can give you is to work on your time management. Try setting up alarms in your phone so that when there are certain deadlines coming up or events happening where you need to be somewhere at a certain time, it will remind you of whats ahead and help keep this from being an issue for you.

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