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Punctuality and discipline - the key traits of success

Published:Friday | September 1, 2017 | 12:00 AMAshish Jhingran

You have an important appointment and the clock seems to be moving faster than usual ... and everything that should not happen does happen - a vehicle has to break down to cause a traffic pile-up; when you reach, the parking lot is full and you have to wait to park ... then you rush, only to realise that you left your presentation in the car ... and suddenly the elevator is taking forever to come ...


Does this sound familiar?


The end result is that you reached flustered, out of breath, more critically, you might miss out on that important class and are locked out of the room; or your prospective client just walked out of the door. Unfortunately, you are the loser in the end.

Sad, but true, that these scenarios are common - the question is, can these situations be avoided - the answer is yes. All you need is discipline and to develop the habit of being punctual.

Acquiring these traits might not be a simple task, but it is doable.




One very important element of following a disciplined routine is to be punctual. As the Nova Scotian politician, judge and author, Thomas Chandler Haliburton, said: "Time is the soul of business".

Let me go a step further and say Time is the soul of Life. You waste time, an important segment of your life goes to waste. You misuse time, you are misusing your life when you could have put it to a productive use.

In the snippet that I started this write-up with (which, by the way, happens to be from a real situation in an office), had the latecomer employee been punctual, probably he would have won the client's business and instead of being reprimanded, perhaps, he would have earned a promotion and an increment in salary.

He not only did not understand the value of his own time, worse, he did not value others' (client and his superiors) time which was wasted for no fault of theirs. This is a cardinal sin in a work environment.


Why is punctuality important?


Being punctual is, indeed, a critical trait that must be developed by one and all. Be it school, office, or any other social engagement, sticking to time schedules is a must. Why? Here goes:

A habitual late comer loses his or her integrity. Your promise to someone for meeting a specific time must be met. Even a 10 minutes' delay means your promise has not been kept which questions the value that you have for your own word

Late coming habit raises questions on one's dependability. If you are required to be present at a location at a certain time and you are actually missing you immediately get classified as undependable. As Benjamin Franklin once told a habitual latecomer - "I have generally found that the man who is good at an excuse is good for nothing else"

Punctuality in a person reflects his nature of following discipline. If one is a stickler of time, more often than not he/she must be a well-organised person, having respect for others around, pays attention to details and is aware of the surroundings.

Most important, being a habitual latecomer negatively impacts your life, in general. Continuous running behind results in lost opportunities, creates a stressed-out mind which could result in accidents and other medical situations, causes embarrassments in front of others forcing you to fake excuses making you a habitual liar and compromising your honesty, in a nutshell, makes life lot complicated




From childhood we hear from our parents, elders, teachers, and as we grow up our bosses, administrators, priests or other authorities give us a list of the 'Dos and Don'ts', which we need to follow.

These rules range from the way we conduct ourselves in various situations and perhaps pay the price if we do not conform to them.

In other words, there are rules and regulations that are framed by every step of our lives - familial, social, educational or professional - keeping the best interests in mind and are supposed to be followed by all.

Rules, though, should not be taken as a punishment or an intimidation, they are put in place to develop, both the organisations as well as the individuals.

Every workplace, too, has certain rules that are drafted for the employees to follow.

These are framed keeping in mind the common goals that are set to be achieved within a predefined environment and time period.

They ensure that every step that the organisation takes brings it closer to the goals. Along with them are also a set of penalties that are designed for those who do not, deliberately or otherwise, follow the set rules and regulations.

The bottom line is that conforming to any set of rules comes with discipline, which in turn is a trait that comes from within us.

Discipline is shaped by how we have been conditioned to react to instructions that direct our behaviour.

Largely, this is the function of the kind of environment we have grown up in and the kind of people who have influenced us in our journey of life, from childhood to whatever stage we are at now.

While we should remember that circumstances and people - family, teachers and friends - shape an individual's character and thought processes. There are those who conform to the rules, yet, there are others who have grown up in an environment of dissent or rebellion and may have scant regard for any kind of rules and regulations and very little fear for castigation.

But, with proper guidance, training and encouragement, negatives can be transformed into positives.

The bottom line is that should you wish to have a simplified life, respect time in deadlines in everything that you do; and once you make a habit of being punctual, you can encourage others to emulate you.

- Ashish Jhingran is a Jamaica-based management and marcom practitioner and senior consultant with Synapse Communications. He has more than 25 years of experience with some top companies, spanning multiple countries across the world. Send feedback to