You're interviewing for a job. You really want this job. You've been scrolling job websites for months now just waiting for an opening like this one. You're rushing to find a nice shirt to throw on and you're quickly brushing the hair out of your face. It's 8:40 a.m. and you need to get there by 9:00 a.m. Luckily it only takes 20 minutes to drive downtown and you'll have just the right amount of time to get there. You grab your resume that shows off your good GPA, degree and relevant skills and experience and you run out the door. But you hit traffic on your way in.
It takes a few extra minutes to get through and now you're really pushing it time-wise. You make the sharp turn into the parking garage nearest the office building and circle up to a higher level to find an open spot. Then you literally run down the stairs of the garage and up to the building. As you try to catch your breath and gain your composure, you open the door and head to the front desk. You're only slightly disheveled, yet a little off your game now. You readjust your shirt as the receptionist calls your interviewer. The clock on the wall behind him reads 9:15 a.m. Dang it.
But now picture this.
You're interviewing for a job. You really want this job. You've been scrolling job websites for months now just waiting for an opening like this one. You grab your resume that shows off your good GPA, degree and relevant skills and experience. You throw on a nice blazer over your standard interview clothes, fix a stray hair in your face and listen to the click of your shoes as you walk out the door. Your watch says 8:40 a.m. Plenty of time to get there by 9:30 a.m. Since you know it only takes 20 minutes to drive downtown and you'll have to find parking, you give yourself that extra 30 minutes to account for any traffic, park, walk, get lost and find the office. You head out and end up hitting some traffic, but you have the time so you don't stress about it. The only open parking spot you can find in the garage is up a few levels, so you have to walk down all the stairs to the office building entrance. You walk in behind a slightly disheveled looking person who is now talking to the receptionist. The clock on the wall behind him reads 9:15 a.m. Perfect. You'll have just enough time to run through your practice answers again in your head while you wait.
"Ah, there you are," a woman in a navy pantsuit says to the disheveled person in front of you. "Well, come on back." You recognize her voice from the phone—she must be the interviewer. You check in with the receptionist and he offers you coffee while you wait. You gladly accept and sit in a comfy chair by a large plant and wait for your interview.
Can you spot the difference in these two scenarios?
Each person up for the job has the same skills, except the second person prioritized their time. They took all factors into account and were rewarded with time to clear their headspace before the interview, which is so important. And they most likely made a better impression than the first person who was 15 minutes late.
Showing up on time is so important.
And this doesn't apply to just job interviews or work. The importance of punctuality can apply to school, whether it's high school commitments or college. Professors notice the students who are always late. You might think it's no big deal if you're still passing the class, but you never know when you'll need a recommendation or grace from a professor.
Being on time is also important in social situations with friends or family. It really comes down to trust. You're loved ones trust you to be on time. When you show up on time, it shows them that you care about them—that you prioritize your relationship. Think of how it annoys you when others are late when you're on time and don't turn the tables.
Prioritizing your time is an important life skill to learn and practice. It's a simple act that means so much. The more you're on time, the more others will trust you with bigger things. It's an easy way to prove your responsibility.
And when you are late, people will understand and forgive easily because of your good track record. Be honest with whoever you're late for and apologize sincerely.
Be honest with yourself too. You know yourself better than anyone. So adjust some routines if you need to. Set more than one alarm in the morning if you have a tendency to sleep late. Keep a detailed planner or Google calendar if you have a hard time remembering commitments. Leave ten minutes early no matter what if you live in an area with lots of traffic.
And just show up on time.