I’ve always been someone who gets to places and events early. I don’t know if it was my upbringing or not, but I always like to be somewhere early. Unlike me, there are countless others that are the complete opposite – they are always late. It doesn’t matter what the event is – heck, they would probably be late for their own wedding – they are just always late. If this describes you, I have 6 tips to help you turn your tardiness into becoming an early bird. While you won’t change overnight, these tips will help you to be late less often and hopefully they will become a habit.
6 Tips To Stop Being Always Late
#1. Make It A Priority
At the end of the day, most people are always late because they simply don’t make arriving on time a priority. I know, you can say this happened or that happened, but at the end of the day, those are just excuses. If you chose to make being on time a priority, you would be there on time, plain and simple.
Remember that life is all about choices. We choose to get up or sleep in. We choose to give 100% on the project at work or just 80%. Everything is a choice and we have control over it all. The question you need to ask yourself is why are you not making arriving on time a priority?
#2. Plan Ahead
Now, I realize that sometimes, things do go wrong that weren’t accounted for, like Suzy spilling her orange juice or you have to stop to get gas. But all of these things can be avoided, or dealt with if you simply plan ahead.
For example, when I am going somewhere, I run through a checklist in my head:
- Do I have enough gas to get there?
- What is the weather like here, along the route, and at my destination?
- Could the weather delay me in any way (this includes slower traffic or accidents)?
- Is it the holidays or is there an event going on that will result in more traffic than usual?
- Do I know where I am going?
As I run through this checklist, I make sure to add time that I need to get these things done and still arrive on time. So, if it will take me 30 minutes to get to my parents house for dinner, but I need gas, I know that I need to give myself 40 minutes. I add on additional time for everything that I can think of that will cost me time and adjust the time I need to leave the house accordingly.
#3. Add A Buffer
Once I do the step from above, I add on an additional 10 minutes because things do happen that we cannot plan for. I might hit every single red light. There just might be slower traffic today for some reason. Because of this, I add in a buffer. So going back to my 30 minute trip above, I need gas and I need a buffer, so I have to leave the 50 minutes before dinner is set to start.
#4. Be Honest With Yourself
For some reading this, you might go through all of these steps and still be late. How is this possible? You underestimate the time it will take you to do things. For example, you might need to go to your parents for dinner, which is 30 minutes away. While you plan to leave on time, you have to pack a bag because you are staying overnight and you are also bringing a dessert that you have to make. Instead of accurately estimating that packing and preparing a dessert will take you an additional hour, you think it will take 15 minutes and thus start doing everything too late. Next thing you know, you are rushed, get stressed, and end up being late once again.
You have to learn to be honest with yourself. How long will it really take you to pack? How long does it take to make the dessert? Once you have these times understood, then you can start figuring out when you need to handle them so you can still leave on time.
#5. Lie To Yourself
In some cases, you might actually have to lie to yourself. If you are supposed to be somewhere at 3pm you tell yourself you have to be there 2:30pm. While this will work for a period of time, eventually, you will know that you are lying to yourself and will ignore it. In the short term however, it may be a first step to take to get to places on time.
I had a friend in college that did this. For a few weeks, he was showing up on time to class and when we would meet at the gym. But eventually, he went back to his old ways. He knew his clock was fast and as a result stopped paying attention to it.
Of course, you could also have the people you are meeting tell you an earlier time to meet than what is planned. So if dinner is at 6pm, they tell you dinner is at 5pm.
#6. Take Time To Understand The Reasons
I touched on this in point #1. Why are you not making arriving on time a priority? There is something happening inside of you that is making you choose to be late. You need to take the time to understand what the reasoning is to why you are always late.
Is it because you are a thrill-seeker by nature and this gives you a temporary high? Or maybe you are someone that thrives on crossing things off of your to-do list, so you are constantly focusing on that instead of arriving on time.
Whatever the issue is, you need to address and overcome it. While you might not think being always late is a big deal, it really is. You are showing disrespect to the other person or people that are waiting for you. By being late, you are telling them that they are not important, that they don’t matter that much to you, because if they did, you would make it point to get there on time. But you don’t, because you have more important things to take care of.