In the aftermath of the pandemic, we now face a new reality at work: more hours spent in meetings.
According to a report by Reclaim.ai, an average professional spent 21.5 hours a week in meetings in 2021, up from 14.2 hours a week in February of 2020.
Consequently, agendas are filled with back-to-back appointments, which constantly create a feeling of rushing and being behind.
The appointments are scattered and rarely properly concluded as everyone has to “jump on another call”. This snowballs very quickly too: if one meeting runs late, so does the next one, and the next one.
If you find yourself late to meetings on a regular basis, you are in the right place! In this article, we tackle:
- Why being punctual paves the way to success
- 5 practical tips on how to truly stop being late for appointments
- Bonus tip!
First, let’s look at why it is important to show up on time.
🚀 Why being on time paves the way for success
Beginning a meeting with “Sorry I’m late” communicates scattered energy, stress, and not to mention, unprofessionalism. On the other hand, by being punctual, you start the conversation clear-headed, demonstrating a good example and respect for the people in the meeting with you.
Being on time and already in the context of what you are about to discuss not only makes a strong impression on the attendees. It also significantly helps you approach the meeting in a stress-free, collected manner. And that is a recipe for one productive discussion.
Let's now look at how to actually make sure you're on time.
🕗 5 Tips On How To Stop Being Late For Appointments
Tip #1 - Block off your calendar
Make it clear in your calendar when you’re available and not available. Taking calls only after lunch? Picking up kids from school every other day? Make sure it’s all on your agenda with enough extra minutes to make yourself a cup of coffee in between.
Tip #2 - Schedule 25-minute calls by default
Zoom fatigue will sure get you if all your appointments are hour-long without a minute of a buffer. Book your appointments to be 25 minutes long and at least a 5-minute buffer between each.
Use the time in between appointments to reset, make notes, switch contexts, and prepare for what is coming next. And in the case that a meeting does run longer than expended, your buffer will prevent you from being late to the next one. Win-win!
Tip #3 - Use smart notifications
Whatever calendar or task list tool you use, make sure your notifications are working for you: show up reliably, arrive ahead of time (and not just on time!) and are snooze-able.
Hera calendar supports notifications before each meeting, which you can easily snooze for a few minutes. For your convenience, joining a virtual meeting is only a shortcut away.
Tip #4 - If running late – communicate
No matter how much you try to prevent it, emergencies happen and at some point or another, you or your attendee will run late to a meeting.
What do you do when the attendee is late? If your attendee is not at the meeting 2 minutes after its start time, send an email. If they are still not there after 5 minutes, you are free to leave the call. That is not rude, those are healthy time management boundaries.
If you happen to run a few minutes late – notify the people you’re meeting with. Ideally, even before the start time of the meeting. If that is not possible, do it within the first 5 minutes.
At Hera, we support these communication activities in one place. If you are running late, you can inform the attendees within the notification window without leaving whatever you are busy with.
Tip #5 - Conclude the appointment on time
When you are in the last 5 minutes of the meeting, inform your attendees it’s time to conclude. Make sure it’s clear what the next steps are, who will take care of each action, and who will share the notes of the meeting.
Team members won't feel compelled to attend every single meeting if the outcomes of it are documented and shared.
If there are topics from the agenda that were left unanswered, make sure it is clear whether they will be picked up in another meeting or offline via your other communication tools.
Bonus Tip - Prioritize your time
Of course, none of these tips will work if you’re constantly bombarded with meeting invitations that you keep accepting. Before you know it, the calendar is back-to-back Zoom calls all over again.
So how do you reject an invite? Regardless of your position in the company, take a minute to ask yourself: do I need to be in this meeting? What value will I be adding? Am I a decision-maker or do I just need to be informed of the outcomes?
Switch off the autopilot of accepting every invitation and make space in your agenda: for fewer appointments, for more buffer, and therefore for more time to not be late to meetings you truly need to be present for.
No matter the position you are in, whether a CEO, a manager or a junior, taking small steps toward showing up on time can make a huge difference.
Being on time will never run out of style: it demonstrates a great example and shows respect to the colleagues, teammates, and clients whom you share that time with. It also reduces your own stress, which makes space for actually productive work.
We hope that by implementing our tips, you will be able to reduce your late-show rate and arrive at appointments on time, prepared and present.
Looking for more productivity tips? Check out the entire productivity tool stack of Bruno, our CEO.
Thanks for reading 👋