If you’re chronically late, how do you start showing up on time? Many people have the habit of constantly running late — and they drive themselves, and other people, crazy. Now, I have the opposite problem — I’m pathologically early, and often arrive places too soon. This allows me to arrive relaxed, calm and confident; I also always sure I keep reading material on me like my Kindle so I can feel productive while waiting. I make sure I don’t make it someone else’s problem that I arrive early and wait for the scheduled time before calling them.
I hate to arrive early and have to wait an extensively long time before calling for my appointment. I believe in early arrival rather than being late. However, if I will be late I called the institution to inform them I will be running late. I believe this action is good manners and communication.
In any event, more people seem bothered by chronic lateness. Feeling as though you’re always running twenty minutes behind schedule is an unhappy feeling. Having to rush, forgetting things in your haste, dealing with annoyed people when you arrive…it’s no fun.
If you find yourself chronically late, what steps can you take to be more on time? It all depends on why you’re late. The first step is to identify the problem – then you can see more easily what you need to change. There are many reasons you might be late, but some are particularly common. Here are some of the common causes of being late:
- You sleep too late: If you’re so exhausted in the morning that you hit the snooze alarm one or two times, it’s time to think about going to sleep earlier. Many people don’t get enough sleep, and sleep deprivation is a real drag on your happiness and health. Try to turn off the light sooner each night.
- You try to get one last thing done: Apparently, this is a common cause of tardiness. If you always try to answer one more email or put away one more load of laundry before you leave, here’s a way to outwit yourself: take a task that you can do when you reach your destination, and leave early. Tell yourself that you need that ten minutes on the other end to read those brochures or check those figures.
- You under-estimate the commute time: You may tell yourself it takes twenty minutes to get to work, but if it actually takes forty minutes, you’re going to be chronically late. Have you exactly identified the time by which you need to leave? And to be safe, always add on an extra 15 minutes. It also helps to put alarms in your calendar to alert you 5 minutes before you need to get going. I leave home very early to avoid built-up traffic or any unforeseen circumstances.
- You can’t find your keys/wallet/phone/sunglasses: Nothing is more annoying than searching for lost objects when you’re running late. Designate a place in your house for your key items, and put those things in that spot, every time.
- You haven’t considered how your behaviour affects someone else: A friend was chronically late dropping off her son at sports activities until he said, “You’re always late dropping me off because it doesn’t affect you, but you’re always on time to pick me up, because you’d be embarrassed to be the last parent at pick-up.” She was never late again.
- You’re rushing around in the morning before you leave the house: Consider waking up earlier (see #1 above). Yes, it’s tough to give up those last precious moments of sleep, and it’s even tougher to go to bed earlier and cut into what, for many people, is their leisure time. But it helps.
- You hate your destination so much you want to postpone showing up for as long as possible. If you dread going to work that much or wherever your destination might be, you’re giving yourself a clear signal that you need to think about making a change in your life.
So think about the why and then start to take action to show up as the best version of you..on time! You will love yourself more if you make changes and adapt to better standards. Be an example for others to follow.