It’s Time to Learn How to Be on Time
While everyone is late from time to time, chronic lateness can become a consistent, yet preventable, obstacle in life if left unchecked. Constantly being late for work, appointments, your kids’ extracurricular activities, or meet-ups with friends can ultimately get in the way of success and cause hurt feelings and stress on both ends.
If more than one friend or family member has complained about your tardiness, it may be time to examine your lateness and make it a thing of the past. Try these tricks to get yourself back on track, and on time.
Get Enough Sleep
If you’re constantly running late in the morning, it may be due to inadequate sleep. Going to bed late and not giving yourself at least seven hours of sleep can cause oversleeping.
Even though you may set your alarm for 7:00 a.m., if you didn’t sleep well or get to bed early enough, it can be hard to get yourself up. The snooze button was invented for late people; it’s way too easy to just press it and give yourself another five, 10, 15 or 20 minutes.
However, if you’re really serious about preventing lateness, get enough sleep at night and don’t press the snooze button.
Being on time is sometimes just as simple as knowing how long it takes you to do things and finally getting out the door. It may be that you have an unrealistic sense of time, basing the duration of an activity on someone else’s estimate instead of your own.
Set aside a day when you don’t actually have somewhere to be to time each activity you do on a daily basis. How long does it take you to cook and eat breakfast, take a shower, put on makeup, etc.?
Most importantly, if you’re constantly late to work, time your commute a few different times to get a sense for the actual length of the trip, which can be influenced by traffic, construction, weather and other factors outside your control.
When you’re busy, but have someplace to be, it’s pretty easy to get caught up in what you’re doing without some sort of reminder. Whether you stick to traditional pen and paper, or are super high tech, write down exactly when you need to be somewhere so you’re not guessing.
If you use a planner, or other analog organizational system, write a reminder note for the day before and morning of the event or appointment. If you intend to use your phone, you can set a reminder in your calendar app for five minutes before, to a couple of day before an event.
There are also separate apps just for setting reminders throughout the day, which are especially useful if the event or appointment is recurring.
Pad Your Time
A very effective way to put a stop to lateness is by padding your time by about 15 minutes, or more, depending how late you frequently are. So, for example, if you have an appointment at 1:30 p.m. and you know it takes you about 30 minutes to get there, leave at 12:45 instead of 1:00 to account for any acts of god, or traffic, that may occur on route.
Even if you’re early, you can take that time to prepare yourself, check your email, or read a magazine in a relaxed state of mind instead of being stressed by the prospect of arriving late.
Prep the Night Before
A lot of tardiness can be attributed to a lack of preparation, procrastinating instead of giving yourself some leeway. If you’re frequently rushing out the door, forgetting things, and then having to turn around from them, you may want to start prepping your things the night before.
This may include putting everything you need in a bag that’s ready to go when you leave, laying out your clothes ahead of time, as well as making food the night before so you can just grab and go in the morning. If running late stresses you out and you want to change, make an effort to take the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t keep happening.
Change Your Mindset
As with any habit you’re trying to break, it’s important to focus on changing your mindset. What is it that’s actually preventing you from being on time?
Most people fall into at least one of seven lateness categories according to Diana DeLonzer, author of Never Be Late Again: the deadliner (who thrives under pressure), the producer (who over-schedules themselves), the absent-minded professor (who’s easily distracted), the rationalizer (who never admits their lateness), the indulger (who lacks self control), the evader (who has chronic anxiety) and the rebel (who’s late to assert power).
By identifying which type you are, you can focus on getting to the root psychological issues that are really at play, and work on overcoming them.
Personal Excellence (17 Tips to Be on Time)
wikiHow (How to Avoid Being Late)
Time (Always Late? How to Be on Time — For Real)