By Mary Blake, Senior Manager
Many of us struggle with the number of responsibilities tearing at us every day. There are only so many waking hours in a day and so much to do. If you are like me, when you try to squeeze in as much as you can it often backfires resulting in being late to work, school, appointments, etc. Most of us would feel much more relaxed if we were early for all of our events, but in the case of my busy world, that rarely happens.
While being late in your personal life is one thing, it’s a much bigger deal when it happens on the job. One of the biggest complaints that employers have is poor punctuality among their staff. It’s hard to know how many jobs are lost or raises forgone due to the inability of staff to succeed at a basic requirement – be on time. Being punctual shows your employer that you’re dedicated to the company and you’re committed to doing a good job. Consider what showing up late on a consistent basis might say about your attitude regarding the job.
Sometimes it helps to think about punctuality in terms of other situations. Think about how it feels when you are waiting in a doctor’s office especially after you’ve rushed to get there on time. Remember back to when you interviewed for your current position. You probably made it a point to be there on time so you could make a good impression. That same thought process should apply to the impression you want to make on a daily basis.
It seems simple enough. Set your alarm so you wake up with plenty of time to get yourself and, in many cases, your family ready and out the door. Though this seems like a common sense approach, most people are late to work more often than they would like to admit. Let’s take a look at what might go wrong and how to get back on track.
Stick to a nighttime routine. You must be diligent in sticking to your planned bedtime or you will end up hitting the snooze button one too many times the next morning. To avoid falling into the lure of that snooze button, try that old trick of placing your alarm clock across the room so when it goes off, instead of rolling over and pressing a button, you have to get out of bed. Remember that a successful plan for waking up really begins the night before. How many times do you go to bed later than planned because you’re finishing up last minute laundry and dishes, maybe Facebook draws you in or you can’t turn off my favorite show? To help you relax and fall asleep faster, I suggest keeping electronics out of the bedroom.
Get organized. Getting up with your alarm is just the beginning. You need to make sure you have enough time to do everything you need to do to get out the door at your planned time. Do you have breakfast and lunch planned out? Do you need to bathe or can you do that the night before? Are your clothes laid out and ironed? Do you have to help the kids get ready or feed the pets? All of these items take time and only you can determine how much time each takes. If you continually find yourself leaving the house late then look at places you can cut corners. Choose foods that are quick and easy or prepared in advance. Put a timer in the bathroom, put out your clothes the night before and leave your cell phone by the door so as not to be distracted.
Know your commute. If you are like me and live and work in a busy metropolitan area then you know that you must plan your commute out carefully to avoid backups, construction and other potentials delays. I try to schedule my commute around school bus schedules and check the traffic report before leaving. I also listen to the radio along the way as unforeseen accidents can cause major hiccups in a normal commute. This is also true for bus, train and subway commuters.
Every one of us is capable of managing our time to suit our needs, which means looking at what our needs are and adjusting them to ensure smooth sailing. We have to realize that we’re also meeting needs and expectations of our employers and that should motivate us to be on time. You don’t want to risk your job and reputation and you certainly don’t want to get fired for something you have control over. This might seem more necessary in a tight job market, but the reality is it’s always important. Don’t use excuses, look within and be honest with yourself to understand what factors are slowing you down and what changes you want to make. This is a must if you want to succeed in your career and beyond.
By Mary Blake, Senior Manager, JCS Career Center
JCS offers a full range of career services. For more information about the JCS Career Center click here or call 410-466-9200.