Do you have to sneak past your supervisor’s office because you’re late to work every morning? When there’s a meeting are you always the last person to arrive? Chronic lateness is not only rude but also hampers your productivity and potential for career advancement.
“Everyone is late on occasion. People understand that, because we’ve all been there. But chronic lateness is another matter. If you are usually only a few minutes late, your friends and family probably won’t mind too much, but work colleagues and supervisors may have a different view. Even if they don’t openly chastise you, it reflects badly on you professionally and could ultimately cost you raises and promotions,” warned author Lisa Lane in Understanding Why You’re Late.
If you’re always losing track of time and constantly making excuses for why you’re late, you can make some adjustments that may help you get your act together. Here are some tips for how to conquer chronic lateness.
Make timeliness a priority
You’ll have a difficult time breaking your lateness habit if you don’t make being on time a top priority. You have to want to genuinely change your ways and then follow through with your best effort. Hoping and wishing that you’ll finally develop better habits will not change anything.
“Learn to define your big-picture goals, create activities that will help you achieve those goals, and design a schedule that ensures the balance you desire,” said time management expert Julie Morgenstern in Time Management from the Inside Out.
Identify time drains
You already know that you can’t get anywhere on time to save your life, but where exactly is all this extra time disappearing? As you go through your day, pay attention to how you are spending your time. What is it that occupies you and delays you from managing your schedule more efficiently?
“…Study exactly where your time goes, and understand your unique relationship to time,” advises Morgenstern.
Go to bed earlier
If you’re up all night, it’s not going to be easy to wake up on time. Your body needs an adequate amount of rest in order to function at its best. Generally, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Arrange a sleep schedule and stick to it. You’ll feel better and might even get more work done. Chronic lack of sleep can interfere with your ability to concentrate and even cause health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
A big part of your problem may be that you are not allowing yourself enough time to get to your destination. Try departing at least 30 minutes earlier that normal. If the issue is that you depend on someone to drive you to your destination, tell the driver that you need to arrive 30 minutes earlier than the actual start time.
Wear a watch
You may depend on your smartphone to keep track of time, but that obviously hasn’t been working out for you. The problem with relying on your phone is that you won’t remember to take it out of your pocket so that you can check the time. If you’re strongly against wearing a watch, try setting the alarm on your phone to remind you when you need to start getting ready to leave. Just remember to save your alarm settings and double check to make sure you entered the correct time.
Discover the root of your lateness
One of the keys to conquering chronic lateness is to figure out why you are often late. There may be a deeper reason for why you continue to self-sabotage. A time management coach or therapist may be able to help you get to the root of your problem. Author Diana DeLonzor found that she was always late because she had a need for excitement:
After much research and introspection, I discovered that the excitement of having to rush gave me a jolt that motivated and spurred me on. I found that my need for stimulation was caused by a tendency to feel easily bored and restless. Once I saw why I liked to hurry — why I preferred the sprint to the stroll — not only did I leave the ranks of the punctually challenged, but I also began to procrastinate less in general. I started to plan my time more effectively and to use more organization in my daily affairs.
More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet:
- Not Getting Anything Done? 4 Ways to Stop Procrastinating
- 5 People Who Are Slowing You Down at Work
- 4 Tips for Creating an Effective To-Do List
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