How to Never Be Late Again
Do you find yourself constantly running behind schedule? Are you unsure why or how you’re always late? Would you like to change?
Here are some suggestions and tools to help put tardiness behind you.
It may come as a surprise, but there are different types of “chronically late” personalities. However, that doesn’t mean they’re a valid excuse.
Can you relate to any of these personality types?
- Deadliners tend to leave everything to the last second. The adrenaline rush can be exhilarating, and that includes grabbing their stuff and racing to a meeting with only seconds to spare – which is usually not enough time.
- Producers are doers. They take advantage of every second and try to accomplish ‘one more thing’ before heading out the door. Unfortunately, they tend to underestimate the time it’ll take to do a task.
- Of course, Absent-Minded Professors are easily distracted and lose track of time.
- Evaders tend to be anxious about where they need to be, and that inhibits their ability to be punctual.
- Self-control is an important aspect of time management, and Indulgers tend to lack this skill.
- There are always those who never take ownership for their lateness. Rationalizers believe they have a good reason for being late. And to some degree, most chronically late people have some Rationalizer in them.
- Unfortunately, there are also Rebels, those who enjoy the power of making people wait.
No matter which personality resonates with you, how can you address your lateness?
First, figure out why you’re late. Familiarize yourself with your schedule.
Get a pencil and paper and keep track of meetings and activities. What are you doing before each?
What about getting to work on time? It’s possible you’re late for one of the most common reasons – oversleeping.
The reasons why you oversleep can differ:
- You don’t want to get out of bed because it’s warm and cozy
- The snooze button is your best friend
- You don’t want to go to work or to a scheduled activity
- You’re not a ‘morning person’
- There may be an underlying health condition
Another reason people are late is they are unaware of how much time is passing. Or they don’t know how long it takes to do something. Most people tend to underestimate. Pull out a stopwatch and time yourself. (You can either do it manually or use an app.)
If you’re consistently late to work, start timing:
- Preparing and eating breakfast
- Getting dressed – including the time it takes to decide what to wear
- Making your lunch
- Finding your shoes, keys, briefcase
- Checking emails and social media
Once you’ve figured out the numbers, give yourself an allotted amount of minutes for each activity. To help keep you on track, set different alarms for each task.
Of course, there are a few things out of your control, such as the weather and traffic. When you wake, check both because it may be necessary to adjust your alarms.
Chronically late people are guilty of basing their timetable on the best-case scenario. With that in mind, it’s best to plan for delays and add extra minutes to your exit plan.
Also, take into account transition time.
- Getting from the parking lot into your workplace
- Are your meetings back-to-back? If so, how far apart are they?
- Do you tend to dawdle along the way?
Think of managing your calendar like catching a connecting flight. You wouldn’t schedule one to land when the other one is taking off.
Give yourself some flexibility.
If you were to sum everything up into one concept – allow yourself more time. When you do that – you should reduce your lateness – and find that you have time to spare.