‘Sorry my train was delayed.’

‘Sorry I had to take an important call.’

‘Damn and blast – I didn’t get that done when I said I would…again!’

Are you the White Rabbit?

Are you always singing ‘I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!’ or rushing around using much stronger language?

Are you someone who has a reputation for lateness…for keeping people waiting?

This can be annoying to friends and family, but in business it sends a very clear message that your time is more important than the other person’s, that you don’t think the meeting is that important, that you don’t think they are that important.

Imagine if that’s the first impression you give to a potential client; imagine how important your team member thinks their review is when you saunter in ten minutes late.

Someone once said to me that: ‘telling someone you’re going to be late before the start time of a meeting is a reason, telling them after the start time, is an excuse.’

It’s the same with deadlines.

Are you a last-minute-Lou? Someone who needs that last minute adrenaline rush to spur you to deliver your best work. I know I am, and it’s great when you have one, maybe two competing deadlines. But when you have several…

Miss one deadline (even a self-imposed one) and you can forgive yourself; start making it a habit and your customers won’t forgive you, even if you can.

Sometimes we impose unreasonable deadlines on ourselves because we don’t start with the end in mind and work backwards.

If you have an aim for the end of the month and work backwards to understand what you need to have achieved each week, by the time you get to week one you’ll quickly realise that you’d have to work 24/7 to get everything done.

Yes of course give yourself challenging targets, but don’t set yourself up to fail by being totally unrealistic.

If you are in ‘the white rabbit habit’ here are a few tips:

1. Plan your day in 90 minute chunks with 15-20 minute breaks in between to keep you fresh

2. Set an alarm or use an egg timer to help you maintain your discipline with the above

3. Practise closing down phone calls and ending meetings on time, and group calls and meetings together as often as possible

4. Allow more time than you think it will take, particularly when travelling. Plan to get there early and take work with you if time is precious

5. If it’s a morning meeting away from home stay over at friends’ or a B&B – if you win the contract it will have paid for itself

6. Wear a watch for instant access to the time that your mobile can’t always provide

7. Set yourself challenging but realistic deadlines. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver to customers.

Do one thing: Even if you’ve had the ‘White Rabbit habit’ for a long time, commit today to creating new habits that respect other people…and keep your blood pressure down!