Being late for every appointment and every event is stressful on yourself and can cause others to wonder if you really are someone they can count on. You probably wish you could always be on time wherever you go, but punctuality isn't a natural for everyone. The good news is that you can practice being on time, every time, by changing your habits and the way you approach punctuality. Make your way to step one and read on to learn some strategies that will help you become and stay a on-time person.
Method 1 of 3: Get started quickly
Step 1. Prepare all your things the day before
If you are not sure why you are constantly late, analyze everything you do before you leave your home. You've probably taken some time to prepare yourself and still find yourself rushing to finish a bunch of things before you can go. If everything is ready for you to leave, you won't have to overcome all of these hurdles to get to where you need to be on time. Each night, take the following steps so that you have much less to do the next day.
- Prepare the clothes you are going to wear.
- Finish any task you tend to put off until the next morning, like writing emails or printing documents.
- Pack your bag or briefcase with everything you need for the next day.
- Have everything you need to prepare a quick breakfast on hand.
Step 2. Place your things near the door
A large proportion of repeat offenders spend a lot of time looking for their keys, phones, chargers or wallets. Keeping all of these essentials in one drawer or on a tray near the door, they'll be waiting for you when you're ready to go.
- If you tend to walk through the door and then find that you've left your keys on the table, your wallet in your room, and your phone on the sofa, you'll be wasting precious time looking for all of those things when you already might. be on the way. And every once in a while, you probably leave an important item at home and have to come back to pick it up, further compounding your delay.
- As soon as you get home, then empty your pockets of all those essentials and put them in the same place every time. If you keep them all in your purse, place it near the door, in the same place each time.
Step 3. Create a space near the door
When you go around your house to gather all the things you will need, group them near the front door (and therefore the exit) so that you can grab them when you go out after showering and having had breakfast (or perhaps dinner). This will prevent you from wasting time.
If you have a car, put things in it straight away
Step 4. Anticipate delays
Are you a fan of supposedly legitimate excuses? There were traffic jams, or The train was late. Or even worse: I had to stop and refuel. If you had anticipated these mundane circumstances, they would not have made you late.
- Realize that these circumstances are quite common. Being stuck in a stationary metro is not an unusual experience. Leave early enough to be able to face these kinds of obstacles and still arrive on time.
- Avoid absolutely predictable circumstances, such as having to stop for gas. Refuel the day before. Make sure you have metro tickets and eat at home instead of stopping for breakfast at the bakery and wasting your time waiting in line.
- Check the weather and traffic to see if these settings might put you behind schedule and leave early enough to accommodate the circumstances.
- During the winter months, allow at least 10 additional minutes to defrost the windshield and walk through the snow-covered garden. Remember that with snow, the traffic will be a little slower than usual.
- If you are taking the bus, prepare the trip, prepare your ticket, and prepare money for an emergency taxi.
- If you depend on someone else to get to your destination, have a back-up plan!
Step 5. Make a commitment to be 15 minutes early whenever you need to be somewhere
If you start labor at 8 a.m., don't tell yourself you can leave at the last moment. Instead, say to yourself “I have to be at work by 7:45 am”. You will be on time even in the event of unforeseen circumstances. You will be on time even in the event of a traffic jam. And on the few days when you actually arrive 15 minutes early, you'll be viewed favorably for being an enthusiastic employee.
If you can't stand the wait, pack a book to read whenever you're early. This will make it easier for you to be early, since during the 10 to 15 minutes preceding your meeting / event, you will be able to read a few pages of your book. You'll feel like you're productive (and you will be!) While you wait
Step 6. Overestimate the time it will take to get to your destination
If you already prepare everything the night before and leave early in the morning and yet are constantly late even when you don't have special circumstances, you are probably underestimating the time it takes to get to your destination. Optimists tend to subtract a few minutes from the estimated time, hoping to make the trip quickly. Unfortunately, that's why you're late. Be realistic when planning your trips and punctuality will come by itself.
- Sometimes it is difficult to know exactly how long it takes to get somewhere. If you are preparing for an important meeting, such as a professional interview, make the trip before the crucial day. Time your trip so you know what time to leave your home.
- Remember to add 15 minutes to the total trip for any incidents. If you calculate that it takes you 40 minutes to get to your meeting place, leave 55 minutes early to make sure you are on time.
Method 2 of 3: Develop better habits
Step 1. Get up as soon as your alarm goes off
Don't hit the snooze button, hang out in bed, or watch TV right at the start of your day. You probably didn't set aside 10 to 15 minutes in bed when figuring out what time you needed to get up to be on time for your appointment. Getting up late creates a series of delays throughout your day. Those extra few minutes in bed will shift all your tasks for the day. To do this, get up as quickly as possible.
- Stretch, spray your face with cool water, and brush your teeth right away to wake up your body.
- If you can't get up on time, you might be going to bed too late. Go to bed earlier than usual and see if things are going better. Getting to bed early is often enough to get up easily in the morning and be productive during the day. Unless you are sure otherwise, assume that you need 8 hours of sleep per day.
Step 2. Re-evaluate the time you take from your daily tasks
For example, you might think about taking 15 minutes to shower and then think that starting at 6:30 am you come out at 6:45 am But what about the time before and after the shower? It is quite possible that you actually spend 20 or even 30 minutes in the bathroom and that is why you never leave on time. Think about the things you do each day and try to estimate as accurately as possible the time that they take you.
Time the amount of time it takes to complete certain tasks several days in a row. Use a stopwatch and keep track of your times throughout the week. Then take an average to find out how long you will need to get ready in the morning
Step 3. Determine what the biggest sources of time wasting for you
What are the activities that keep you from getting out of your home on time? You might not even notice all the time you waste when you open your mailbox, spend too much time curling your hair, or stop for coffee on the way to work.
When you have figured out which activities are wasting your time, try changing your habits. For example, by standing when you open your mailbox, you will avoid surfing the Internet for an hour
Step 4. Bring your watch forward
If it is 8 p.m., set your watch to 8:05 or 8:10 p.m., so you will always have a bit of headroom. Forget this detail, because if you think about it you will think I can wait 5 more minutes …
Step 5. Divide your time into several steps
For example, if you have to leave your house at 8:00 am, say to yourself: “At 7.20 am, I start to take my shower”. "It's 7:35 am, I have to brush my teeth." This will help you stay within the allotted time. Establish a specific schedule in order to adopt these good habits.
Consider printing out this schedule, so you can have a look at it in the morning. Display it in your bedroom, office, kitchen, and other places where you will easily see it
Step 6. Don't make too many commitments
You may be late often because you plan to go through dates without giving yourself time to get from one place to another. Go over your schedule and make sure the activities are separated by several minutes, so that you have time to rest, eat, move around, and do whatever you need to do between dates.
Step 7. Surround yourself with clocks
If you tend to be in the clouds and forget what time it is, you probably need more clocks in your life. If you don't like wearing a watch, always have your phone handy. Wall clocks are easy to grab attention and keep the beat going. Make sure all your clocks and watches are set to the same time, so you don't get lost.
- Use stopwatches, alarms and reminders throughout the day. For example, you could set your cell phone to vibrate or ring 10 minutes before you are due to leave for your next class or appointment.
- Some people intentionally set their watches several minutes in advance so that they are always on time. You could try this technique and see if it works for you. However, many of these people eventually realize that, knowing their watch ahead of time, they allow themselves extra time and end up late anyway. Knowing what time it really is will help you keep your feet on the ground and be on time.
Method 3 of 3: Change your attitude about delays
Step 1. Recognize that you struggle to be on time
If you have a chronic problem with punctuality, you may have a tendency to make excuses for yourself. Some may be valid, for example if you are late for a meeting because you have a puncture on the road or a snowstorm has blocked traffic for an hour. But if you notice that you are constantly trying to explain your delays, you are probably at the heart of the problem. And like any problem, you won't be able to fix it if you don't first recognize that something is wrong.
- If you're not sure if this is a recurring problem, ask your friends and family to honestly tell you if they see you as a punctual person. If you are constantly late, these people must have noticed.
- However, don't be too hard on yourself. Be aware that a large part of the population of Western countries suffers from the same problem.
Step 2. Recognize that your delays affect others
You probably want to be punctual and when you are late you feel genuinely sorry for keeping others waiting. But if you're late over and over again, people will feel like you don't care. By being late, you make people wait for you and then send the message that you value your time more than others' time, even if you don't feel that way.
- Think about how it feels when the person you are dating is late. Do you like to sit alone at a restaurant while you wait for your friend to arrive half an hour late?
- Ultimately, being late all the time will undermine the trust people have in you. You will make a bad impression on them, well beyond the sole domain of punctuality.
Step 3. Find other sources of adrenaline
Do you feel like you are intoxicated when you are racing against the clock? Maybe this is some kind of game for you: if you get to your destination before the time is up, you win. Nonetheless, this exhilarating habit can have nasty consequences when you lose too often at gambling. If you like the adrenaline rush, stop putting your dates on the line and try other activities, like timed video games, lapsing. orienteering or, if you really like adrenaline, parachute jumping.
Step 4. Make punctuality one of your core values
Punctuality may not seem as essential to you as integrity or honesty, but these values are inextricably linked. When you say you're going to be there at a certain time and you don't, what does that say about you? When you are late again and again, could this behavior affect other people's perception of your integrity or cause them to question what you are saying? Try to give as much importance to punctuality as to the values that are most important to you. If being on time is important to you, you will soon start to be.
- Identify the contexts in which you are most often late. If you're late when meeting with certain people, or there's a class that you're always 15 minutes late for, it's possible that those people or that class just aren't that important to you.
- Try to get involved in projects that matter to you. Be on time and put your heart to work. By caring about what you do and living with integrity, punctuality will come naturally to you.
Step 5. Enjoy the benefits of punctuality
After you've worked a few weeks building new habits and figuring out how to be on time, this won't be all that hard on you. You will then begin to be able to enjoy the privileges of people who are never late. Here are some examples of the benefits you will enjoy:
- You will be much less stressed on a daily basis and you won't have to make excuses and apologize all the time.
- By being on time at work, you will gain in professionalism.
- Your privacy will benefit too, as people begin to see you as someone they can count on and trust you more.
- By making a habit of being on time, you'll have the privilege of being late every now and then, as people will then give you the benefit of the doubt.
- Here's an old military adage: if you're not 5 minutes early, you're 10 minutes late!
- Children are a major source of delay for their parents. Follow all of the tips above, not only for yourself, but also for your children. Prepare their clothes the night before (including their coats and gloves), make sure they take a bath before bed, etc. Take a few minutes before bed to make sure their homework and books are in their binders, which you will then place by the door. Check the permissions you may need to sign for them. If you have a baby, be sure to fill your diaper bag. If you are lucky enough to have an older, well-organized child, they can give you a hand!
- Keep in mind that: “If you are 5 minutes early, you are on time. If you're on time, you're late. If you're late, you'll have to explain yourself. "
- If you take your lunch to work, prepare it the night before.
- Permanent delays interfere with good relationships with friends, colleagues and superiors. And even if you have a strong personality and are able to make up for yourself, people will start to resent you. By taking hostage the people who prepared the meeting, the trip, the meal, the party, etc., you will generate some irritation and your personality will be devalued.
- Don't think that no one notices your delays. If you know that you are more than occasionally late for work, school, church, appointments, etc., you can be sure that others have noticed it too.
- Know that your reputation is on the line. The benefits of punctuality are endless.