How to be on time.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Time to change.

Are you on time?
Photo courtesy of

How do those consistently punctual people do it?

Some people are always, almost pathologically, on time. Others are chronically late. Our western society is run on time. Things start at a particular time and then we are off to the next thing which also has a time. It can feel like we are being controlled by the clock.

The twentieth century was heralded as the century of labor-saving devices. With all that time we saved you would think no one would ever be hurried again. The result has not been an increase in available time but more working overtime to pay for all these labor and time-saving devices.

Even with all those technological advancements, some people are always on time and some are always late. Without getting into a discussion of the psychological factors that affect punctuality, and there are many psychological reasons people are on time or late arrivals, let’s look at how the Punctual People do things.

1. Punctual People get to bed on time.

If you think your day starts when you get up in the morning you would be way off. Getting plenty of sleep increases punctuality in the same way it increases productivity.

If you stay up late you will pay for it the whole next day. Tired people drag and then have to rush from thing to thing all day long.

2. Punctual People start their day early.

Late risers are already behind schedule when their feet hit the floor. They feel rushed and harried from start to finish. Let one thing go wrong and the rest of their day is off-kilter.

Burn breakfast and there is no time to make a new one. The kids or you go hungry.

Plenty of road rage is caused by people who start out late and then need to “make up time” on the roadway. This rushing is bad for your driving and is bad for your health.

Start your day early and there is time if something goes wrong.

3. Punctual People allow enough time.

You know that your morning drive takes thirty minutes but you hang around reading your email and drinking coffee till quarter till. The result you have to rush and you are still late.

The worst papers come in from the students who wait until the night before and then try to write a paper in a few hours that they should have been working on all semester.

Bosses can easily tell when someone only allows an hour for an activity that should take four. The result is hurried, partially done, and almost always late if it is done at all.

Give yourself plenty of time for each thing you do and you will be more creative, do a better job, and still get it in on time.

Be realistic about how long things will take and you will run on time a lot more.

4. Productive People do not schedule themselves 100% of their time.

Early in the industrial age factory owners learned that you can’t schedule factories at 100% of capacity. Try to get above a certain productivity and something is bound to go wrong. A machine breaks or jams and then shuts down the whole line, the result is that productivity falls drastically,

People need downtime for rest, relaxation, and repair in the same way machines need maintenance if we are to avoid a major emergency.

Punctual people do not schedule themselves nonstop. They allow small gaps throughout their day so that if one activity runs long they do not throw their whole day out of whack.

5. Punctual People prefer waiting to being late.

Punctual People enjoy those relaxing moments when they get somewhere before the event starts. They do not mind waiting for others. A few minutes to relax between things is both healthy and it keeps you on schedule the rest of the day.

6. Punctual People start tasks early.

If you begin your work on that report or paper early there is little need to rush and you are more likely to be done on time.

Getting off the procrastination ride and doing the hard things first assures they will get done on time. Waiting till the last-minute sets you up to run overtime and be off schedule from then on.

7. Punctual People use their calendar.

Punctual people plan ahead. The plan on doing things on schedule and that means leaving enough time on their calendar for getting something done. It also means not scheduling things too close together so that getting from one thing to the next throws them off schedule.

8. Punctual people feel disrespected when you are late.

Punctual people manage their stress by staying organized and planning ahead. They do not feel stressed because they started way before this meeting with you.

They may have gone to bed early, gotten up early, and left home for your meeting early all to avoid rushing and arriving stressed. It is also likely that they have planned some flex time between seeing you and the next thing they need to do.

When you are late you take away that tranquility they have created and dump your stress directly in their lap.

When you are late there is less time to spend with you, less gets done, meetings are abrupt or hurried and if they run over time, you have just stolen some time that they had planned to spend with someone else.

There are some things in life where you do not need to observe a strict start and stop time. But most of life is run by the clock. Show up late for court and you may lose your case. Be late for a job interview and you reduced the chances of getting hired.

People who are on time are seen as dependable, they do what they say they will. So if you want to join the on-time club, consider adopting some of the characteristics of Punctual People and see if this does not reduce your stress in the process of making you a more Punctual Person.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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5 thoughts on “How to be on time.

  1. Pingback: Why you should plan on being late. | counselorssoapbox

  2. I was hoping for some help on how to get rid of the unpleasantness of auditioning.

    I was always struck by the irrational absurdity of my feeling fearful and painful
    in relation to unpleasant (but normal) events like exams and auditions and performing.

    I rationally know that there is no reason to feel like that, and that it is also counterproductive,
    yet, when the time comes, I feel like a really torturing feeling of discomfort and unpleasantness pervades me,
    no matter how i try to coach myself into repeating that it is absurd to feel like that.
    And it takes me at least two weeks to “recover” from the post auditioning: like i would feel nervous,
    and really on the defensive afterwards, and feel like i can’t have the mental strenght to audition again until months go by.
    I did make a little improvement: like years ago i was fearful for days beforehand an audition,
    now i just block any feeling until the very last minutes before and while i start auditioning,
    and the fear comes all of a sudden like a truck running me down.
    But it is torture anyway because i have to force my mind all the time into pretending i am not afraid
    and being afraid of not being able to prend of not being, and also afraid of feeling the fear.
    As a result it is really tiring for me to audition.

    So now i keep thinking (and i feel really annoyed when i ponder on this): why can’t i feel relaxed
    just like i was going to do something i don’t mind or, even better, like it was something i can’t wait
    to do, with happy jubilant anticipation, like opening a present, or going out with a boyfriend,
    or watching a movie, or finally getting home after a hard day’s work …

    Since i believe in the possibility of influencing my own self, and on free will in general,
    i WANT to be able to turn smthng absolutely unpleasant into smthng I am even eager and jubilant to do!

    What’s the trick? What should I do?

    P.S. has it anything to do with the fact that i always seem to fantasize of myself AFTER the (worrisome) situation,
    and therefore experiencing the CURRENT situation as smthng bothering and possibly hindering to the RESULT afterwards?
    Sometimes i feel i can’t even enjoy nice situations because i have the feeling that they won’t last.
    And also I feel that part of the problem lies in the fact that:
    i don’t trust myself BEFORE i actually DO smthng … like, i only relax if i get the impression
    that i am actually DOING fine, otherwise i struggle to calm myself during the performance.
    It’s like i need PROOF to trust myself, but i cannot trust myself BEFORE i do smthng, it’s like i never know
    how good/bad i am going to sound BEFORE, because one never knows, theoretically anything is possible.

    I know that it is normal for human beings to dislike smthng that causes fears and worries,
    but what’s the difference (in mind, thinking and personality) between me and smbdy who
    absolutely loves (or at least doesn’t mind) performing and auditioning, and feels NO fear,
    but just joy and willingness and anticipation to perform?

    Can i BE like them? is there a possibility for me to overcome my fears?
    What do i have to change in my personality/mind/thought processes?

    Please help, i want to feel good when i perform, i know i can learn, there must be a trick!


    • Hi Fran. Complicated question. Clearly you have a lot of anxiety going on. there seems to be some other things going on also. Yes you can get past this. some people even find it fun or enjoyable to perform. that is something different from auditioning in which others have the chance to approve or disapprove. These terms do not mean the same thing to everyone also. Even the top musical performers, actors and speakers customarily get some “butterflies” or stage fright before a time on stage. No anxiety and you give a bad performance. Too much anxiety and you give a bad performance. The trick is to get the setting on your anxiety meter set to the right setting. I will try to write more on this in the future but for now look for my posts on test anxiety or other material on fear of public speaking and stage fright. Consider working with a coach or a counselor who can help you improve your confidence. Hope those suggestions start you on the right track.


  3. I’m pleased you alluded to one aspect of punctuality here – respect. I choose to always be punctual because I believe to be late shows disrespect for the person I am meeting. I understand that I will sometimes be late, and I apologize and explain, but also know that things happen which are beyond my control – a traffic jam or, in one extreme example, my car engine blowing up (in heavy rain, of course). I feel disrespected when other people are late and don’t offer an apology or explanation for why. This especially annoys me when professional people are running late!
    I’m very pleased to read all the other “side benefits” to being a punctual person. You’ve made my day! 🙂


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