3 Strategies for Staying Punctual and Professional

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We live in a world where schedules conflict, where some auditions and appointments are tightly scheduled back to back, and though you may have plenty of time in your own schedule, the people who you are meeting, interviewing, or auditioning for may have little wiggle room to fit you in. Occasional lateness is undesirable but understandable—we all have been late some time in our lives, perhaps because of some last-minute snafu or bad traffic—and it is usually easily forgiven and forgotten by all involved. Chronic lateness, however, undermines your professionalism.

Here are a few strategies for being on time:

1. Leave 30 minutes early for every appointment, or add 15–30 minutes to your expected travel time. This means that if you ordinarily would leave home 15 minutes before your appointment, leave 30–45 minutes early. This will most likely get you there early; you can use the time to prepare yourself. If you run into delays on your route, hopefully the extra travel time will be sufficient to keep you on time.

2. Organize your life so you are not scrambling for misplaced items moments before leaving for the day. Keep a datebook calendar handy, and write down your daily schedule (of course, you have to actually look at it for this to be useful). There are smartphone apps for this.

3. It may be helpful to have an “audition survival bag” that you keep packed and ready to go. This could be a knapsack, purse, or briefcase. Here is a list of suggested items to keep in your bag: headshots and résumés, business cards, sheet music, a MetroCard, paper and a pen, makeup, a hairbrush, bottled water, breath mints, and an energy bar, and hide $10 or $20 inside just in case. This way you only have to remember your keys, cell phone, audition material, and any other audition/business needs, grab your audition bag, and out the door you go.

I hope these strategies help keep you on time and prepared for your appointments. If you still end up being late, by all means, acknowledge it and apologize for keeping them waiting. Break a leg!

Robert Curtiss, a former psychotherapist, works at Essay Management with personal manager John Essay, whom he helped to create TheActorsGuideToEverything.com.