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9 Habits of Very Punctual People

9 Habits of Very Punctual People

Maybe it’s just me, but my generation (we’ll say current 13–30-year-olds) seems to be suffering from an epidemic of tardiness. I have given up on expecting people to be on time—I simply assume they’ll show up late to everything. Despite that, I’m a very punctual person and typically end up waiting for others. Sometimes my friends ask how I can so reliably be on time, and since my usual snarky response of “I show up on time” isn’t very helpful, these are 9 habits of very punctual people.

1. They Give Buffer Time for Themselves

This means that if they need to be somewhere 15 minutes away, they don’t leave 15 minutes in advance. They leave 20 or 25 minutes in advance. Why? Because you never know what might come up. You could have to find parking, could realize you forgot something, could run into a friend on the way—the possibilities are endless. By giving themselves buffer time, punctual people ensure that even if something last minute comes up, they’ll still be on time or very close to it.

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2. They Stay Organized

Punctuality isn’t just about showing up places on time; it’s a lifestyle. Punctual people will typically be reliably punctual because of their other habits, including being highly organized. They tend to keep up-to-date calendars of what’s going on, and know how long it’s going to take to get to those places. They also don’t schedule things too close together to avoid possible overlap, and design their schedules to minimize risky travel time.

3. They’re Realistic About How Long Things Take

This relates to buffer time, but it’s important that if you’re going to be punctual you know how long things will take. We tend to overestimate how quickly we can get somewhere, so a good rule of thumb is to add a few minutes or a certain percentage to how long you think it will take. We always imagine traveling in a perfect situation with no traffic or distractions, and that simply doesn’t exist.

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4. They’re Comfortable with Extra Time While Waiting

Like I said, I pretty much always expect other people to be late at this point—and I’m rarely wrong. Luckily I carry my Kindle almost everywhere so I have something to read while I wait. Other punctual people will likely do something similar, either by working on their iPad, reading a book, checking the news on their phone, or responding to emails. Whatever it is, punctual people have to be okay with waiting for others since they’ll usually end up doing so.

5. They Wake Up Early

Being punctual means being on time for others’ expectations of you, but it also means being on time for your own deadlines. That means that when a punctual person says they’ll wake up at 7am, they usually do. And conversely, people who are able to reliably wake up very early in the morning tend to be punctual. It all goes back to procrastinating—people who are punctual don’t procrastinate leaving for things, and they don’t procrastinate waking up.

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6. They Sleep Well

Not only do they wake up early, but they sleep better in general. Like I said there’s an element of procrastination to showing up late, and there’s also an element of procrastination in staying up late. People who procrastinate leaving for things tend to be late, and people who procrastinate sleeping tend not to sleep well. People who are punctual, conversely, go to bed on time and wake up feeling well rested and ready to seize the day.

7. They Don’t Procrastinate

On that note, they don’t procrastinate in general. People who show up on time and are comfortable with waiting will also be the ones to turn their work in early and not have to worry about it as opposed to scrambling at the last second. They know they’ll be stressed if they’re running behind, so they avoid getting stressed out at work just as in showing up.

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8. They’re Not Rushed

Ultimately what this means is that punctual people aren’t rushed. It seems odd that you could leave earlier for something and not be rushed, but it’s true. When you have no risk of not making it on time you don’t need to worry while you’re in transit, so you don’t feel rushed. It takes a lot of the stress out of getting around because you know you’ll make it there on time even if something comes up, so you don’t need to speed or freak out on the way.

9. They Can’t Stand It When You’re Late

This is less a habit, and more a reason to adopt the other eight. When you’re on time for everyone else, you hope for a similar courtesy. If someone is agreeing to meet up with you, the least you can do is not waste their time by being late, so naturally anyone who has to wait for you is going to get annoyed. And punctual people end up doing a lot of waiting. As a policy I’ll tend to leave after 5–10 minutes of waiting without being warned—it’s simply not worth anyone’s time to stand around waiting for someone who doesn’t have the courtesy to be on time.

So hopefully you can apply some of these 8 habits, and keep the 9th one in mind. Woody Allen said that “80% of life is showing up” but I disagree. It should be “80% of life is showing up on time.”

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Nat Eliason

Writer and Host of Nat Chat

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

10 Best Success Books You Need to Read to Be Great at Business

10 Best Success Books You Need to Read to Be Great at Business

Take a minute and think about some of the most successful people you know.

I’d bet they’re great with people, are super-productive, and think differently than most. After all, that’s how they got to be where they are today.

Jealous of them? You don’t have to be.

You can learn these same skills by studying some of the best business and success books that can help you take your game to the next level. Here’re 10 of my favorites:

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

    Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book that helped to launch a personal growth empire should be required reading for everyone who wants to learn how to build and nurture relationships for a lifetime.

    Read this book and you’ll learn some simple advice than can help you build popularity points within your current network and just as important, expand it to others.

    Get the book here!

    2. Focal Point by Brian Tracy

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      Got a lot on your to-do list? Of course you do. But what separates productive people from others is their ability to focus on a singular task at a time, and getting it done before moving on to the next one.

      Sounds simple in theory, but this can be extremely difficult in practice. In Focal Point Brian Tracy offers tips to help build discipline and organization into your day so you can get more stuff done.

      Get the book here!

      3. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

        Creating a “me-too” product can be easy at the start but can doom you to business failure. That’s why marketing maverick Seth Godin recommends creating a product that is truly different from anything already available in the marketplace.

        In essence by making the product different you’ll be building the marketing into the actual product development…which just makes your actual marketing a helluva lot easier.

        Get the book here!

        4. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

          If you’ve struggled with procrastination or small thinking, this is the book for you. In it Schwartz offers practical advice that can help you get inspired and motivated to create a bigger life for yourself. And with it can be a more lucrative and rewarding career.

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          Get the book here!

          5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel

            It can be difficult for lots of people to keep things in perspective, especially when working on high priority and urgent projects at work.

            Man’s Search for Meaning can be a life-changing book in the sense that it can open your eyes to a first-hand experience of one of the greatest atrocities in the history of mankind, while also teaching a valuable lesson about having purpose.

            Get the book here!

            6. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

              Solo-entrepreneurs can learn a ton from the guy who made lifestyle design popular. But guess what? The 4HWW isn’t just for guys and girls who want to start a small online business.

              Smart moves like outsourcing, following the 80/20 rule, and automating processes should be made by entry-level workers and established executives alike.

              Get the book here!

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              7. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

                I remember sitting on a couch and opening this book on a Saturday morning, thinking I’d get through a chapter and then get on with my day. Instead, about 12 hours later, I was finished with the book. The concepts in it were mind-blowing to me.

                To think that thoughts can create your reality sounded a little far-fetched at first. But after going through the book and understanding that your thoughts create your beliefs, which lead to actions, which then lead to habits….well you can get where I’m going with this.

                If you focus your thoughts on success, achieving it will be much more likely than thinking about obstacles, failures and everything else that can get in your way.

                Get the book here!

                8. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard

                  If you’re going to read one management book in your life, this should be it. It’s simple. You can read it in an afternoon. And the advice works.

                  Get the book here!

                  9. The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries

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                    Before you create any sort of business you’ll want to give Lean Start-Up a read through. Doing so can save you money, time and other resources you could have potentially wasted otherwise.

                    Get the book here!

                    10. The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar

                      The story Randy Komisar shares in the Monk and the Riddle offers advice about not just about how you need to think when starting a new business, but also about how to build a life you’re passionate about.

                      Understanding the technical aspects of launching a start-up is great, but if you don’t have the staying power to stick with it when the going gets tough then it’s not likely to work.

                      This book can help you understand this lesson before you spend blood, sweat and tears on a project that you’re heart isn’t into.

                      Get the book here!

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