The psychology of being on time

Unfortunately I’m old enough to remember a time when I didn’t own a mobile ‘phone…

Although I have to admit I can’t quite remember how I coped or how I ever managed to meet anyone.

I can still remember my first mobile, which I got when I was working for one of Britain’s most successful banks… it still is a success, or at least it’s not in liquidation.

Back to my first mobile… it was so long ago the ‘phone was actually the size of a briefcase. Actually, that’s not quite true. The ‘phone was the size of a brick and the battery pack was the size of a briefcase.

But I was slick, hip and a real cool cat.

BM (Before Mobile) though, I’m sure I was much better organised than I am now. I’m sure when I needed to meet someone, say at Liverpool Street station, I would make arrangements something like this: ‘I’m on the 7.57 train, so I’ll meet you at exactly 8 o’clock by the meeting point sign, which is next to the ticket office.

You’ll recognise me, I’ll be the one without the briefcase sized mobile ‘phone’

(I made that last bit up.)

Now what do I say?

‘I get in about 8, so I’ll ring you when I get close’. Then I ring and the person I’m meeting says they’re already there – ‘Can you see me? I’m waving my hand in the air…’

And, lo and behold, there is a muppet, frantically waving their hand at no-one in particular. I’m almost tempted not to notice them just to see how long they keep waving.

Oh, I’m not having a go at mobile ‘phones or anything like that. I think they are a brilliant invention that has made life so much easier in many, many ways.

I also think they’ve eroded personal standards, too.

It used to be that I was late for nothing; I hated being late… I was very proud of the fact that I used to leave plenty of time for my journey and I was always on time.

And, to a certain extent, I still do (hate being late)… only I’m not as fanatical about it as I once was.


Because I know that I can simply call whoever I’m meeting and tell them I’m running a few minutes late. 9 times out of 10 they say ‘not to worry, so am I’.

You see, it’s just so easy not to be on time any more. And this spills over into the HR world. There are well documented instances of people being fired by text (sorry, txt… LOL) as just one example.

So please, please don’t let your employees use the mobile as an excuse for tardiness. That does mean, of course, you have to set the standard.

Please leave a comment - we all like them