Make punctuality a priority

I’m often asked: how am I able to squeeze so much into my days? My answer is always the same – and simple – if you want to be more productive then start at the start: get there on time.

Richard Branson in a meeting

richard branson running

richard branson running

I’ve always disliked being late. Not only does it put my plans out, but I also find it to be incredibly disrespectful. It doesn’t matter if you’re a celebrity or a carpenter, a politician or a painter, a model or a musician, we all only have 24 hours in a day, and no one’s time is more important than anybody else’s.
Punctuality is something that everyone should work on. I’ve made it a priority throughout my life. So much so that I’m known for doing whatever it takes to beat the clock. In fact, I’ve developed a habit of (safely) jumping out of cars while in traffic, and running to my next appointment. My team are no longer surprised to find themselves trailing after me on the footpath or into the Underground, laptops, high heels or tennis rackets flailing behind.

Richard Branson on the tube

Richard Branson on the tube

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to get through all I want to achieve, so I have also adopted a few techniques to make sure I’m punctual. I’m fan of stand-up meetings – I find them to be a much quicker way of getting down to business, making a decision and sealing the deal. When given the opportunity I like to take things a step further – literally, with a walking meeting. I sometimes even set myself a personal challenge of trying to come up with a plan of attack in the time it takes to walk to my next appointment.
And when I’m not jumping out of cars to find a quicker route to a meeting, I’m generally using the time in transit as valuable meeting time. Can you believe that I interviewed Virgin Group CEO, Josh Bayliss in the back seat of a car while waiting in a traffic jam! 

Richard Branson on the tube

Richard Branson on the tube

Being recognisable doesn’t overly help with being punctual, but luckily I’ve learned a few time-saving tricks of the trade. In Australia earlier this year, after finishing an event at the Sydney Opera House, the weather was far too lovely to jump in a car, so I decided to enjoy the sunshine and views of Sydney Harbour and walk back to my hotel. While making my way up through the city I was approached by a number of people for photos, my response…? How good are you at the ‘walk-with-me-selfie”?!

Richard Branson in Sydney

Richard Branson in Sydney

Whether it is a meeting, a flight, an appointment or a date, it’s important to ensure you are there when you say you will be there. This may feel like an old-fashioned tip to give, but it has served me well for five decades in business. All you have in business is your reputation – so it’s very important that you keep your word.
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