If someone tells me a class, an appointment or an event begins at 9 am, I am going to make every effort to arrive at the destination at least ten minutes before 9 am.
This is what punctual means to me.
Likewise, if I was told to hand in a school assignment on Tuesday the 22nd, and my class for which the assignment was for is scheduled from 2-3 pm, I would have my assignment ready to be handed in on Tuesday the 22nd at 2 pm.
Not email it to the teacher five minutes to midnight on Tuesday the 22nd.
This is how I interpret on time performance.
Here’ s another scenario. If someone in my family has a game to play at 6 pm, needs to be there at 5 pm for warmup, my general question is: what time do you want to leave?
I expect a very clear and concise answer. I need the answer to incorporate the location, i.e. the time it takes to drive there, as well. I want to hear “we’ll leave at 4:30 pm” and not “I guess we can leave sometime after 4”.
With kids, I want to ensure they eat properly before heading out for their activity. Eating takes time…as does preparing their meal.
I also take their answer very literally. If they say ‘leave at 4:30’ I interpret this as pulling out of the driveway at that time.
Ha ha ha.
They do not pull out of the driveway at that time. Unless it’s me who’s doing the driving.
Trust me when I say to my kid “we’re leaving at 4:30” I mean we’re leaving then, not packing equipment then.
I’m struggling with time management of my family members. Can you tell?
On the one hand, I think it is common courtesy to be on time, or hand something in on time. I grew up in a country where punctuality was engraved in stone. Pretty much every schedule that ever existed that we were familiar with (transit, trains, school, work, appointments of any kind, store hours) were adhered to without exception. Everyone depended on their reliability. That’s what the Swiss were like, and I hear the Germans are similar.
I kinda liked that.
It’s a little difficult for me to adjust to the other way, the ‘laissez-faire’ attitude of the general population that surrounds me here in North America.
“No one else shows up at exactly 5”, they say to me as if this was an acceptable excuse.
“Doctor’s offices are always behind schedule, it doesn’t matter if we show up a bit late”, they say as a way of trying to calm my nerves when I fret about being late, again.
This is not helpful to me.
Sitting in University classes back in the day, I recall the same students, time and again, shuffling into lecture halls whenever they felt like it. It was distracting to the professor, and detracting to those of us suffering from the same hangovers as the late-comers. We still managed to get our asses out of bed and into class on time, why can’t they?
Don’t even start me on meetings at work. Or meeting speakers who back-track and repeat for the late arrivals. I used to think that those of us sitting there on time were less valuable than the dude who consistently showed up late because he always had someplace more pressing to be and had no qualms to interrupt the meeting. His time was more valuable than ours, was the message.
It left a bad taste in my mouth. It also slowed down production and efficiency, and reduced morale.
But punctuality is something you can learn. It’s not that difficult, and with today’s screens in every hand, there really is no excuse. You have access to digital clocks, reminder systems, and alarms in the palm of your hand for most of your waking moment, right?
I think this will be a multi-part series on my blog. Because I have lots more to say on this topic…
Anyone care to weigh in?