Are you constantly running out of the door disheveled with your phone in hand texting “Hey, I’m running a little late?” Do your friends lie and tell you to be somewhere 10 minutes earlier than you’re supposed to be? Does your boss not even bother to look up when you enter meetings late anymore? If that sounds like you, you might have a case of chronic lateness. If you are sick and tired of being infamously late, then it’s time to break the habit.
Plan Your Mornings Ahead of Time
Pick out an outfit, get your shower stuff ready, choose what to eat for breakfast. Being prepared saves you a ridiculous amount of time in the morning, especially if you’re in a rush. Instead of searching your closet for an outfit, you can put on what’s laid out without even thinking. You won’t be panicked looking for those meeting notes you need today, because they will already be in your work bag. With the amount of time you save not looking for things, you can make yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy sitting down for breakfast instead of grabbing a granola bar as you run out the door.
Act Like Each Day is a First Impression
Whether it’s a new job or hanging out with a new friend, it’s easier to be on time the first time. You’re worried about making a good first impression, so you are on your best behavior, even if that includes being punctual. As time goes on, we don’t care as much anymore. You’ve made friends, your bosses have started to let it slide, and everyone seems to accept the fact that you are always late, so who are you looking to impress? Treat every day as if it’s your first time meeting someone. It will create good habits, and it can establish you as a reliable person who respects the time of others.
Routine, Routine, Routine
You’ve got 45 minutes before you have to leave. You have time for a quick 15-minute shower, leaving 30 minutes to get dressed and put makeup on. But what if you get way too into singing that new Selena Gomez song in the shower and use half an hour? Oops. Now you must choose between your look or your punctuality. Instead of making this mistake repeatedly, figure out how long it really takes you to get ready. Maybe a 15-minute shower isn’t realistic. Be honest with yourself about how long it takes you to get to places and to do things.
Jump out of Bed
Have you ever woken up thinking “Oh no, I’m already late” jumping out of bed, only to find out you have another hour to sleep before your first alarm? It’s too late now, you’ve already jumped up, so now you’re wide awake. Every time you get up, you should feel like that. The hardest part of waking up is forcing you out of the comfort of your covers. For most of us it will feel wrong to jump up like we’re excited when we might not even want to get up in the first place. Though it may seem silly, that little rush might just be the jolt you need to fight off morning grogginess.
Get Your Priorities Straight
Should I hit the snooze button and sleep for nine more minutes, or get up now so I have a chance of making it on time? This is a question that plagues many of us daily. What is more important, money or sleep? Usually, we pick sleep (at least until the last possible minute). Think of it this way, though, is sleeping for nine more minutes really going to help? From experience, I can say that it isn’t worth the panic and rush of trying to be on time. It’s not worth feeling guilty overseeing a friend waiting on you, or walking into a silent conference room mid-presentation. If something is important, you should give it priority, even if that means waking up a little earlier.
Put Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes
How do you feel when people are late to meet you? How do you think your boss or team members feel when you breeze in five or 10 minutes late on a regular basis? Consider the message your behavior creates: “You are not important,: or “my job is not important to me.” Chronic lateness is a sign of disrespect, whether it’s brunch with friends or a meeting with your coworkers. Or the start of your workday. It sends a message, loud and clear, that you’re not reliable. What rating would you give YOU on your performance review for punctuality?
You weren’t born with lateness in your genes. Just like any bad habit, it’s going to take a while to break it. It won’t be easy, and it won’t be fun, but the results will be worth it. You’ll find yourself less stressed with more time to do things. Lateness has a way of wiggling itself into every part of your life, meaning it can also turn you into a procrastinator. Saying sayonara to this habit will make you a more reliable person, which could open up career opportunities (and help you keep your friends).