Habitually Late? 10 Tips to Avoid the Trap

Everyone exhibits varying types of punctuality behavior. Some people like to arrive early, others are content with being on time, and then there are those folks who are always late for everything.  Life events, such as the birth of a child, sickness or a change in family dynamics such as divorce, can drastically alter our schedules and disrupt our normal routines resulting in chaos.

However, for the majority of us, chronically showing up late can be attributed to poor time management. Regardless of the reason, its results can be disastrous. Besides adding unnecessary stress, chronic tardiness leaves a very bad impression on those you keep waiting. Your reputation suffers as you are labelled unreliable, or simply selfish. It can cost jobs and friendships and severely strain family relationships.

If time management is a problem, here are 10 tips to avoid being late:

  1. Maintain appointments on a central calendar. Set up a cell phone reminder with time, date, what you’ll need to bring, and contact info.
  2. Establish a normal morning routine. See how long it takes you to get ready. Analyze it to see where you may take short cuts. Then, practice your new routine.
  3. If you tend to run 15 minutes late, set your clocks at home 15 minutes ahead. Then, go by the advanced time you set. This may trick you into being on time.
  4. A day prior to your appointment, clear up loose ends that risk making you late. This includes filling the gas tank, laying out your clothes, gathering work papers, filling the coffee maker, etc.
  5. Ask for favors. For example, if you normally drive your child to school and risk running behind, kindly ask your spouse or a friend for help.
  6. Know where you’re headed so you don’t get lost. Print directions a day ahead or program your GPS the night before.
  7. Set your alarm clock (or two clocks if needed) to wake you earlier than normal. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep
  8. Allow yourself plenty of time for a healthy breakfast. Then, focus on getting ready. Avoid adding tasks which may throw you off schedule.
  9. Leave for your destination ahead of time, allowing for traffic or poor weather conditions.
  10. Do not run errands on the way. Instead, concentrate on where you’re going.

Once you succeed, reward yourself for being on time!

One final note; if you’re inability to consistently meet the goal of being on time causes issues such as job loss or strained relationships, you may want to consider professional help to determine the root cause of the issue.  While it is not a symptom yet recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, many people with time management struggles have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD. Help is available.



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