Are you running late again?
Do you find yourself making endless excuses for being chronically tardy to everything?
Have you ever missed an important meeting—or even a flight—because you just couldn’t get out the door on time?
Is your perpetual inability to get places on time hurting your business or even your social life?
I won’t lie; I’m sure it won’t be a piece of cake. But any new habit worth making is going to take some serious effort—and a desire to make the change.
And to help you get started, here are some steps to take to help you stop being late and start living your life on time.
Decide that it’s better to be early than late.
I know this is a tough one. If you are entrenched in tardiness, you need to change your mindset. While some people are just not good time managers, there are more than a few latecomers who believe that arriving early is a sign of weakness or submission—they are too important and their time is too valuable to spend waiting on anyone. In reality, arriving on time—or even early—is a sign of respect. It creates a great first impression, and you can use the time to gather your thoughts, review your notes or check your messages.
Allow a Time Cushion—and Learn to Estimate Time Realistically.
Stuff happens. More stuff happens when you’re in a hurry. Whether you’re traveling across town or across the country, always allow yourself some extra time. The farther you have to go, the bigger your cushion needs to be. With Google Maps and GPS, there’s no excuse for not knowing about how long it will take you to reach your destination. Don’t wait until 30 minutes before your appointment to set off on your 45-minute drive.
Set Your Watch Ahead
It’s a simple trick, but it can work. As long as you don’t focus on the fact that you changed your watch and all your clocks, you’ll soon forget it was set ahead and give yourself a five-minute time cushion.
Use Your Smart Phone’s Calendar Reminders and Alarm Functions
Need help remembering it’s time to leave for a meeting or appointment. When you set an appointment, add it to your calendar and use the reminder function to set an alarm in plenty of time to get you there. As you learn to set the alarms, you also need to train yourself to respond to them. You can also use this method to make sure meetings end on time. To keep yourself from running over, set another alarm for the end time of the meeting. This will keep your meetings running smoothly and not end up with a backlog.
Avoid the Rush Hour
Everything we do has “busy” times of the day. Whether it’s commuting to work, going to the doctor or catching a flight, there are times of day when it’s going to be busier than others. Try and arrange your schedule to avoid those times of day. Arrange to start your workday either before or after the morning rush, schedule doctor appointments first thing in the morning when possible (and avoid Mondays—especially at the pediatrician), and pick off-times of day to catch a flight. Learning to strategize this way will help you avoid getting stuck in a backup and help keep your schedule running smoothly.
Learn to Recognize the Benefits of Getting There On Time
As you break the habit of showing up late, you will begin to see the benefits of an on-time lifestyle. From lowering your stress level, to gaining the respect of your clients, associates and friends, as you develop the confidence that comes from feeling in control of your life and not like life is controlling you, you will find yourself happier, more productive and more successful.
And whenever you find yourself tempted to slip back into your old, tardy ways, just keep reminding yourself of those benefits.