My oldest daughter returned from sleep away camp yesterday and, although she was gone only twelve days, it felt like an eternity. Time has definitely been playing tricks on me. I’m finding lately that either time is moving very quickly at lightening speed or it is going as slow as molasses and dragging its feet. It never seems to keep a steady, calm pace. I’m either playing beat the clock trying to fit in a hundred things like a madwoman or sitting idle rubbernecking every five minutes to see if the clock has changed.
I’m not sure if it is the fact that I’m getting older or if life is getting busier, but time is flying by on a daily basis and I’m finding myself struggling to keep up. Summertime is usually reserved for less stringent time constraints. Once the school year ends, the crazy schedules are supposed to cease and families are encouraged to take a brief breather. Now as September is rearing its official head just around the corner, those lackadaisical days will soon become a distant memory and we will be held accountable for showing up on time in every aspect of our life both social and professional.
Time has become a priceless commodity in today’s world, especially when we are expected to work 24/7 and it is assumed that we will respond immediately to almost anything. Good time management is seen as a sign of respect whereas poor time management often leads to stress and obvious loss of productivity. In order for us to get a handle on time and rein it in, it has become essential to plan each day meticulously, prioritize our tasks, and limit (or remove altogether) any distractions. To put time back on your side and guarantee the admiration of others, we have devised a list of appropriate time etiquette guidelines for the most common scenarios.
A job interview. If you want the job, any lateness is considered too much. Think ahead, research directions and calculate your driving time, account for parking, elevators and bathroom use. Arrive at reception at least ten minutes early. Should your interviewer be ahead of schedule, you will be perceived as prepared and ready to go.
A dinner party. It is considered rude to arrive early to a dinner party as you might accidentally catch the host by surprise and find them in their bathrobe putting the final touches on the table. It is perfectly acceptable to arrive at a dinner party around 10 to 15 minutes after the start time.
A restaurant date. I had a friend who consistently arrived 20 to 30 minutes late every time we planned a dinner out. Needless to say, after the third time, I was over our relationship. Even if date is easygoing (which I like to think I am), it is completely disrespectful to arrive more than five minutes late. If you are detained beyond five minutes, have the courtesy to call or text your date to let them know you are on your way.
A movie or play. Once the majority of the venue is seated, no one appreciates a Johnny come lately to come traipsing through the aisle. Allow enough time for the bathroom and purchasing of snacks and be seated at least five or ten minutes before the curtain goes up and the show begins.
Appointments with doctors, hairstylists, etc. This is a big point of contention for me as I generally squeeze in appointments between juggling the kids and work and only allow about a minute or two of leeway. If I make an appointment I expect to be seen on time and I am always respectful by calling ahead if I know I will be even two minutes late. Punctuality is particularly important when it comes to appointments otherwise an entire day can be thrown off.
A wedding ceremony. It is best to arrive at least 15 to 20 minutes early for a wedding ceremony to allow for bathroom time and a quick greeting of family and friends before sitting. You don’t want to get on the photographer’s bad side by trying to slip into your seat while the bride is preparing to make her grand entrance down the aisle. If you are late, have the decency to wait outside until the processional is complete.
A cocktail party or large reception. Since these gatherings are generally larger and consist of a flow of people both entering and exiting at will, a delay of between 15 to 30 minutes is considered normal and will not disrupt the ambiance or mood of the party.
A business meal or meeting. Your time is certainly of value and so is the time of others. Showing up late to a business meal or meeting, not only wastes your time, but the time of everyone else in attendance. Show your regard by arriving a few minutes early or at least on time. This will always result in much more favorable business dealings.
Have any other time tips you'd like to share? Maybe an incident that occurred when someone was late? Are you punctual or do you suffer from chronic lateness? We'd love to hear from you!