October 15, 2015
How to be on time, and not be rude and inconsiderate to people
Everyone loves it when things are on time. When buses arrive on time, when flights are on time, the list goes on and on. And everyone hates it when their time is wasted, waiting too long to be served at a restaurant, waiting in a line that's moving slowly, that sort of thing. And with this little piece of knowledge, you can add tremendous value to yourself by respecting other people's time - being on time yourself.
As a Graphic Designer, I met deadlines. I not only paid attention to the months, the days, the hours, but even the minutes. I learned to calculate backwards from a deadline, and figure what needed to be done when. When I started my career, in the 1980s, I remember that most publications had "deadlines" and "drop deadlines" - that is, when the artwork should be delivered, and when it was absolutely the last second. And sometimes you need the last second, but that's no way to live - doing Graphic Design against deadlines is stressful enough!
But even if you're not hitting those kinds of deadlines, you can add that way of thinking to your professional life, simply by paying attention to time. And no, I'm not saying that time, the clock, and the calendar are themselves important, but the people you are dealing with are. And if you want to show them how important they are to you, respect their time.
I started doing freelance Graphic Design when I was 19. I visited clients, I made appointments. And I very quickly learned that if you're not early, you're late. If I had a 2:00 appointment, I planned on being there at 1:45. That way, even if you're fifteen minutes late, you're on time. And I arrived prepared, not out of breath and unable to focus on anything other than trying to find that darn parking spot. I call it arriving "comfortably early". I would have the time to go to the restroom, look in the mirror, prepare mentally.
Now waitaminute, be careful here. Keep in mind that the vast majority of people are unable to do this. Being on time is something of a superpower - so don't brag about, that's no way to make friends. And don't complain about everyone else being late - that won't change. But the good news is that while other people are forgetting their time promises, and being rude and inconsiderate to their clients, you're right there, doing it right. And that's all you have to do.
Posted by Brad Hall