Like it or not, you are in control of whether you are punctual or not. You have the capability and the discipline to be on time. We all have the tools, but to effectively make a difference, we must use them.

Viewing time as money can be helpful, as was in my case. 

The first salon owner that I worked for gave me the valuable lesson of how I was being perceived because of my lateness. I was habitually 10 minutes late for my pedicure clients. There they were: sitting in the chair, feet soaking and I’d arrive walking right by them (now that is the true walk of shame).

Are You Always Late? Here's How to Be On Time From Now On
Are You Always Late? Here's How to Be On Time From Now On

PHOTO: On a shoot at a private home in Westwood, CA.  Arrival 6:30am (our call time was 2 hours before the talent arrives for me to do any manicure work). We unloaded at the back of the house and then parked off site, out of the neighborhood. I’ve mastered rolling two suitcases at a time--one in front of me and one behind. 


Praising me for being the top performer he stung me by explaining that he did not trust me to advance my position or give me the keys to the spa. Not because he thought I may steal but because he equated time with money. How could he trust me that paying clients would not be waiting on the front steps for me to get there and open the spa for the day?

I cried! I knew he was right. Punctuality counts over everything else. IT IS THE FIRST IMPRESSION. Before the handshake, before the introduction, before the fashion assessment- did you make them wait? Arriving on time is the most valuable asset.

Actually, I realized that through the Chef and Guru training I’ve had that arriving at the time of the meeting is late. If the scheduled time is 1pm and I arrive at 1pm, I am late! 15 minutes prior is considered on time!

What Your Lateness Says About You

Judith Sheindlin, (or Judge Judy as we've all come to know her from her reality TV court and arbitration show), says in her book, Beauty Fades, Dumb Is Forever: The Making Of A Happy Woman, talks about using punctuality as a strategy along with mutual respect of other peoples’ time.

She recounts a scenario of meeting with producers of the show in regards to her contract. She arrives at the restaurant 30 minutes prior to the scheduled time. She sets the scene. Eats a piece of bread, napkin on her lap and has a drink so when the others arrive 15 minutes prior to meeting time, it looks as if she’s been waiting there awhile and they apologize for making her wait.

Even though they are on time it gives her the upper hand. A weapon for success, being on time is a tool.

I spoke with Catherine Auman LMFT, author of Shortcuts To Mindfulness: 100 Ways To Personally And Spiritually Grow, about practical tips on how to never be late again. She offered that the very first step is that one must recognize what being late actually communicates.

With genuine compassion-filled breath she says, “Many late-comers are unaware of how much lateness nonverbally communicates about oneself. Being late communicates that you are not in charge of your time, you are not in control of your own life, you are chaotic and lack respect for yourself and others’ time. Always arriving late carries an air of sloppiness.”

So no matter how much time it took you to do your fabulous nails or make-up, showing up late wearing amazing shoes and the latest handbag- you appear sloppy to those in control of their lives. BAM!

I asked Catherine Auman, Director of The Transpersonal Counseling Center if there is such a thing as being too early?  "That depends on how you want to live your life.” Her motto is: “Plan to arrive early and expect to wait.” She advises that you create a more meditative approach to your day by arriving at least 30 minutes prior to everything, no matter what, and if needed, wait in the car with a book, take a walk or relax until the appropriate time to go in.

She gives her recipe for on-time success: “If it is for a very important meeting like a job interview, I arrive one hour early and wait in the car.” Auman does not see "I was stuck in traffic” as a valid excuse.  “In Los Angeles," she quips, “of course there was traffic.” Plan accordingly to arrive early with or without traffic.

My grandmother (aka, Nana) gives me the adage, “Never be late because you are not that important, the person you are going to see is just as important. It is about keeping your word and your commitments. If you say 8 o’clock, it is 8 o’clock!”

Are You Always Late? Here's How to Be On Time From Now On
Are You Always Late? Here's How to Be On Time From Now On

PHOTO: Behind-the-scenes on set work is rarely, if ever, glamorous. Production gave me a table to set up my work station. I had a few classic colors laid out before I meet with the Creative Director for color options and nail looks. I got an apple from Craft Services (the dpeartment in production which provides cast and crew with snacks and drinks) and then an omelette from catering. Now, one hour left before anyone arrives to do nails...I'd say that is ON TIME!

How to Un-Late Yourself

So just how do we “unlate” ourselves? Is it truly possible to go from an always late comer to an early comer? According to Auman, “Yes, but it requires real effort. There needs to be an internal WILLINGNESS to do it. You must set the intention and the commitment deep down, that no matter what you will arrive on time.”

"If you truly reflect on the events leading up to arriving late," she continues, "it can be traced back to the very second when a a decision was made that it really didn’t matter to be late.”


Here are some practical strategies for showing up on time from now on: 

1. Always add extra time: pad it in for traffic, snafus and ordinary life stuff. Padding your drive time with 15-45 minutes is wise and required to lead a successful life and to be respectful of others’ time.

2. Communicate with yourself and others if you’re going to be late.

I was impacted by the first beauty agent to hire me to do A-list celebrities nails (Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige) when he told me, “When it comes to on-set work, arriving on time is half the battle.” I laughed to myself thinking, hmmm, it’s not lessons on how to deal with celebrities, no not that- it’s about arriving on time. So I was up for the challenge.

3. There is a thing in on-set work known as your Call Time. That is the time you, as the manicurist,  are to arrive to set and it is usually one-to-two hours prior to the celebrity’s call time. This way is allows time for setting up your nail station, eating the catered food on set and be ready for the celebrity’s arrival. They also factor in this time for traffic and other life lateness.

A Final Word from Nana

Nana also says, “Never be late in paying your bills. It is your money and paying interest is highly unnecessary. Management of time and money is closely related and discipline is absolutely necessary for proper planning. It takes thinking in advance and being careful for the considerations of others.”

About Naja

Naja, aka The Nail Guru is an award-winning nail artist, international educator and seasoned salon owner.  A key-note speaker and published writer, her nail work has been seen on Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Kanye West, LL Cool J and many more. She holds a Guinness World Record for the most polish changes in an 8-hour period. (with 69 polish changes). Her passion is helping young entrepreneurs in the beauty field make consistent CASH from their CRAFT. She offers online classes, monthly workshops and coaching for professionals on the business side of the beauty industry Find out more: @the_naja or 

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