Your morning alarm goes off – and before you know it, you’ve pressed snooze 12 times and you now have five minutes to get ready and get yourself to work.
You may have heard that there are three types of people: the ones who are always 10 minutes early, the ones that are always late, and the ones that show up just in the nick-of-time.
The truth is, anyone can easily be the type of person who is early or on-time. It just takes a change in the factors that are always making you late to begin with.
Here are some tips that can help you be a more prompt person.
For chronically late people, setting alarms and/or reminders for everything in your phone and computer can make a big difference.
Even if you don’t have trouble remember engagements, being forced to set an alarm creates a good opportunity for you to reflect on the amount of time you’ll need to prepare and travel to your commitment.
Commit yourself to doing this for everything, and soon it will become second nature.
Tip: This may seem a little drastic, but you can try a time-honoured solution and put your watch forward. If you’re always 15 minutes late, set them 15 minutes ahead. This way when you glance at a clock, you’ll mentally think you have to be somewhere NOW.
Manage your commitments
Frequent lateness can also be a product of an over-stuffed schedule.
Recognize that you aren’t a superhero and can’t do everything.
When scheduling appointments, meetings and activities with friends, add extra time to each activity. Monitor how your estimates align with what actually happens.
You may find that you routinely under-estimate particular activities more than others – noting these habits will help you compensate in the future.
Tip: Having trouble getting started? Begin by limiting the number of activities you take on in a given day, which may make it easier to pinpoint where you’re going wrong.
Schedule for delays or plan to be early
If you live within a city, traffic can be a big problem. If you live in a less-urban area, getting stranded by car trouble is always a possibility.
Make sure to allocate this into your scheduling. Leave additional time in case there are delays with traffic or public transportation.
You might find that your planning and time management skills are just fine – it’s just transportation messing up your schedule!
Tip: Check social media or traffic and transit websites when you first wake up in the morning. If there’s a delay, you can plan accordingly – and let people know in advance.
Change your mindset
The mindset of chronically late people is usually: “I’m always late.”
That statement can lead to a complacent attitude! Start thinking about the rewards of being early.
With less energy and time spent in a hurry (or apologizing), you’ll likely find yourself less stressed. In turn, you’ll be more collected and able to focus better, which means your productivity will increase!
(And of course, you’ll seem much more polished and professional when people realize they can rely on you to be prompt.)