How to Stop Being Late

Are you always running late, texting to say “5 min away” when you really just rolled out of bed? It’s easy to get into a routine of being chronically tardy. I used to be late all of the time, then made a conscious effort to become a punctual person over the past few years. Think about it—being late tells others you don’t value their time and that you don’t really care about anyone but yourself. Not good.

According to Dr. Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again, chronic tardiness is a problem that starts early. “[For many] it started in childhood, and they’re late for not only things that have to do with other people, but things that will only hurt themselves.” For example, they might run into the gym just a few minutes before it shuts, or even fail to attend job interviews on time.

So, what to do? Are you doomed to disappoint? Not at all—just be willing to change, and you can stop being late. Who knows, you may even start being early! Here are a few tips that will help you get your act together.

Learn to block out time

Work on budgeting your time. Folks who show up on time usually round out how much time they’ll need to get someplace. For example they’ll say “that will take 20 minutes so I’ll allow 30 just to play it safe.” People who are constantly late do the opposite, or even round down to weird numbers; they’ll say things like “I’ll be there in 16 minutes” and then arrive 35 minutes later. Look at how long it really takes to get where you’re going and add 10-15 minutes.

Do some new math

How long does it really take you to get ready? Examine your daily routine and start to wake up a little earlier if need be. Does it take you ten or thirty minutes to get dressed? Do you dawdle on social media when you should be doing your morning yoga? Set up real timeslots for the things you need to do before you hit the pavement, and be honest.

Try doing the opposite

Here’s an idea—plan to arrive early. That’s right, you heard me correctly: get there before you are supposed to. Wherever “it” is that you’re headed—soccer practice, work, a date—get there earlier, and see what happens. I actually love being early, as it gives me a chance to sit and catch my breath. I feel happier and ready to succeed at whatever it is I’m about to do.

Set timers

Make use of your phone, tablet, watch or alarm clock. Quit procrastinating, and set alarms to go off thirty minutes prior to your departure. See how it helps, immediately. You hear the chime, get up, put your shoes on, and depart. Just like magic, you’ll arrive on time!

Set yourself up for success

My fiancé leaves neat little stacks of his belongings near the bed for the next day. His shoes, garments, phone charger—it’s all ready at bedtime. In the morning, upon rising, he pops up and gets ready without rummaging through a closet or suitcase. Start making little stacks of what you’ll need upon rising. He’s inspired me to do it, and it really helps!

Lateness doesn’t give you power

Some people feel more important because they aren’t the first to arrive at a meeting or appointment. However, lateness is rude, period. It doesn’t give you the upper hand or any of that nonsense, so cut it out. People like it when you are respectful of their time, and nobody likes to wait around when they were able to arrive on time. How would you feel if the shoe were on the other foot?

Respect time

It’s a waste of time to scroll through social media feeds when you should be taking a bath or making something nutritious to eat. Limit time spent looking at your ex-girlfriend’s wedding pictures on Facebook, and start going to bed a little earlier. Grab a book and read something new instead of social media stalking some crush you have. It’s not healthy, and it’s disrespectful of time. Value it, treasure each moment, and stay present.

Also read: A Step-by-Step Guide to Giving Yourself More Time

Becoming more conscious of being on time will show those around you that you care about them and yourself. Start with baby steps, and in no time, you’ll be on time!