Arrive Early and Stop Making Excuses

The other day I showed up to an appointment and the person I was meeting arrived ten minutes late. This was my first meeting with him, and he was the one who requested the meeting. By the time he arrived he appeared nervous and rushed, and never seemed to recover during the time we spent together. In those ten minutes of lateness, his credibility took a serious nosedive.

You Are Not That Important
Now of course, we’ve all been late from time to time. Nobody is perfect. However, what kind of message do you get when the other person shows up late, especially when meeting somebody for the first time? Do you feel like your time is not being valued? Do you feel like less of a priority and not important to them? This may sound extreme, but it’s the message I get. Being on time, after all, is keeping an agreement. No matter what kind of excuse is given.

No More Late Excuses
“I was stuck behind slow traffic,” “I couldn’t find my keys,” or “a client held me up” are usually the kind of excuses we hear when somebody is late. Sure, there might be some times when an emergency or some unforeseen thing happens, but out of all the excuses those are quite rare. Excuses are an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for the tardiness, and should not be used.

If you have been conditioned to think that being late is acceptable behavior, it’s time for a change. Here are two simple things I now do that allow me always be on time, and in most cases, always early.

Calculate Buffer Time and Leave Early
I used to be late all the time, and the main reason was because I never used to give myself any buffer time when traveling to my destination. I would calculate 15 minutes and then leave out the door exactly 15 minutes early, but something would usually happen that would put me behind schedule. The gas tank would be on empty, I would be stopped by road construction, or I would get stuck behind a school bus stopping every few blocks.

I would often find myself racing down the road while getting annoyed with slow drivers in my way. “Don’t they understand I have someplace important to be?” I would yell. I used to put myself under so much unneeded stress because I simply wouldn’t give myself a few extra minutes of buffer time.

If it takes fifteen minutes to drive to your destination, add an additional 15-20 minutes on top of that. If you arrive early, have something you can work on while you wait. Being early does not have to mean not being productive.

Map Out Your Course in Advance
Always know exactly where you are going before you get in the care to leave for an appointment, especially if you have never been to the destination before. Always use your GPS, even if you think you are familiar with the general vicinity.

Last year I was asked to speak at a Networking event for real estate professionals in a nearby town. Although I thought for sure I knew exactly where to go, I still ended up getting lost. I had given myself buffer time, and most of it was eaten up by slower than normal traffic. I reached my destination as the meeting was starting. I was rushed and my presentation suffered because I didn’t map out my course in advance. A hard lesson to learn but one I will never forget.

We may never fully realize the potential damage being late can have for us. How many lost sales have you had for not being on time? How many deals have been lost? How about trust? Has your reputation taken a hit because of it?

Show the person you’re meeting that you actually value them to be there on time. Show them you are a person who keeps your agreements. Arrive early and stop making excuses.


Daryl Murrow

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