Punctuality Matters

If you look at the clock outside of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, you’ll notice something a bit off. The clock shows time 15 minutes ahead of where it actually should be. This isn’t an accident; the clock isn’t broken and despite the grand traditions of the Packers, they don’t have their own special time zone. The clock is set 15 minutes ahead because of what is known as “Lombardi Time”. Vince Lombardi was a Packers coach from 1958-67 and is known as one of the greatest football coaches in NFL history. He used to tell people if they weren’t 15 minutes early to a meeting or practice, then they were late.

Lombardi’s idea of punctuality seems foreign to many of us who, in a non-stop world, don’t have time to be early anywhere we go. In fact, statistics show 20% of Americans are chronically late. And tardiness isn’t just an issue here in the U.S. Back in 2003 the country of Ecuador had a national campaign to combat people being late. They showed the country was losing nearly $2.5 billion each year due to workers being late. The problem came from the top down as many government officials were notoriously late to meetings.

What does punctuality really have to do with you or your child? In a relatively simplistic way, it’s a great opportunity to teach respect to your son or daughter. If you’re late constantly to places it shows a lack of regard for other people’s needs. When you’re late taking your child to practice or to other activities, it appears you don’t take your child’s interests seriously, and it shows disrespect to their coach. The good news is that if you are someone who can’t break the habit of always being late, there are some valuable tips that can help you…

1) Change priorities. If there is something on your “to do” list that can wait until after your appointment, let it. Trying to get things done last minute before you need to be somewhere can keep you from being there on time.

2) Use a timer. One of the great things about cell phones is most of them are equipped with a timer or alarm that you can set to make sure you get out the door on time to be where you need to be.

3) Be prepared to leave early, and expect the unexpected. Give yourself some “buffer time” so you won’t have traffic or some other unexpected delay to keep you from being on time.

4) See yourself as part of the team. If your son/daughter is on a team, visualize yourself as a member of a team of parents where the goal is making sure the children on the team are punctual for practices and games.

5) Put important items by the door. Keys, phone, papers you’ll need, and any other items necessary for your next meeting or appointment should be placed together by the door so you’re not scrambling last minute to find them all.

6) Hold your son/daughter accountable. Make being punctual a family thing. It starts with you but teach your children the importance of being on time. Help them understand the benefit of being organized. This will help them beyond the sports season they’re in.

7) Don’t be bored if you’re early. If you do arrive somewhere early, don’t sit bored and feel like you’ve wasted time. Bring things to work on, or if you’re with your son/daughter, use this time as a chance to reconnect with them and get caught up on what’s going on in their lives. Make the “extra time” you have a few moments of priceless conversation with your child.

It may not be realistic to get on “Lombardi Time”. Being 15 minutes early isn’t easy to do in our fast-paced world. And like Franklin P. Jones once said “the trouble with being punctual is that nobody’s there to appreciate it.” Your child, their coach, your co-workers, and your friends will appreciate your willingness to be on time.