So here we are. The Holiday Season: Hanukah and Christmas are just around the corner, and finally, we’ll slide into the New Years’ finish line. I know for me, at this time of year as party invitations start to roll in and my commitments increase for everything from work to shopping and of course the parties, there never seems to be enough time to get it all done. If you struggle with timeliness, I’m going to share one tip I use that always keeps me on time.

For me, being late is just never an option. I know, I know… how in the world can we possibly continue to show up on time when all of the things we need to get done are competing for our time?

First, let me say this… however good a reputation you have, if you are chronically late, you will always be labeled as “the person who is late”. Think about it. Take a minute and jot down the people in your life who are chronically late. Don’t you often think of them as “the people who are always late”? No matter what else is true about them, they are labeled as late.

Now, is that how you want to be perceived? Remember this: Your reputation concerning timeliness precedes you and often defines how others see you in far-reaching ways.

So here is one thing I do to ensure I always show up on time (and keep my reputation as an on-time person):

Look at your calendar going forward. Wherever there is an appointment with a designated start time (both for work and pleasure), put a “TT” – for “Travel Time” – on your calendar precisely 30 minutes before the appointment starts. Do that for every appointment and make a point to honor that, EVERY TIME. Let the last-minute things you tend to do while running out the door wait until you return. Nothing will happen if they don’t get done that minute, I promise. And I promise that the benefits you’ll derive from being on time will be well worth the effort and will go far in either maintaining or creating a reputation as an “on time” person.

Oh, and if you arrive someplace early, consider it a gift to yourself to catch your breath.