perpetually late or aggressively early

Are You “On Time?”

Are you a “better late than never” person or an “early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable” person? If you’re the first type, your friends probably tell you that events start half an hour earlier than they actually do, just so you’ll be on time — or maybe just less late than you normally are. If you’re the second type, you’ve probably spent a lot of time in waiting rooms and maybe even surprised a few unprepared hosts who weren’t expecting you just yet. Since life can be unpredictable and tough to manage, most of us probably fall somewhere in between depending on the day.

So, what really is “on time” these days? Well, it all depends on the nature of the appointment. And because we know you’re busy, we’ve decided to put together a quick cheat sheet to help you save time and save face in your personal and professional life. Here’s what the experts have to say about punctuality. You might be surprised to find that your ideal ETA could be holding you up.

What Time Should You Arrive for:

Medical Appointments

Most medical offices, including dentists, veterinarians, and mental health professionals, will give you a check-in time that’s about 10-20 minutes before your scheduled appointment to allow time to update paperwork. While making extra time in a busy day can be a serious challenge, the simple reality is that arriving early to a medical appointment really is best. According to a tip from, you can request to have paperwork emailed to you ahead of time, so it’s already filled out when you arrive instead of coming in extra early.

Meeting with a Lawyer or Accountant

Being on time for a meeting with your lawyer or accountant is an imperative, since you’re almost definitely paying an hourly premium for their professional service. Unless otherwise advised, says you should arrive the standard 10-15 minutes in advance to allow time for paperwork and checking in.

Business Meetings

If you’re presenting or pitching at the meeting, you should aim to be the first to arrive, so you can prepare tech, get your things in order, and be there to greet your guests. Give yourself at least 20-30 minutes if this is the case. If you’re attending as a potential client or just there to hear the presentation, says 5 minutes is appropriate to get yourself seated.

Job Interviews

The scoop from is that you should arrive to a job interview about 10 minutes before the scheduled start time. Some sources suggest 15-20 minutes, but arriving earlier than that can create an awkward situation where you’re left sitting in the lobby for an uncomfortable amount of time. Even worse, the person you’re meeting with might feel the need to rush what they’re doing to meet you earlier than planned. Either way, it’s not a good look, and you really should try to avoid it.

Casual or Formal Parties

Here is where says you have a little leeway. Fashionably late is typically considered to be within the first 15 minutes for a casual party, but you should plan to be right on time for a more formal gathering or dinner party. Your friends probably won’t care if you’re a few minutes late to a cookout or cocktails, but you don’t want to make a less casual acquaintance think you had better things to do than be on time for their event.


For a typical wedding, you should arrive 30 minutes before the time printed on the invitation, according to They also suggest arriving even earlier for larger weddings, like those with more 200 guests in attendance, in order to allow the ushers time to seat you.

Salon Appointments

If you’re meeting with your stylist for the first time, says you should arrive at least 15 minutes early for the appointment. If you have an established relationship with your stylist, you should be fine to arrive about 5 minutes before hand.

Be Better at Being On Time with Text Reminders

Many professional offices provide helpful text reminders and appointment booking apps to help make it easier to manage your visits. Apptoto offers convenient booking, confirmation, and cancelation tools that make being on time even easier. Contact Apptoto today to learn about our complimentary trial offer!