Content of the material
- How to stop being late forever: 3 expert tips
- 1/ Observe
- 2/ Replace
- 3/ Reinforce
- Tip №3
- FOLLOW THE 40% RULE
- Step 4. Begin A New Ritual
- 5. Take into account transition activities
- 11. Stop trying to squeeze in “just one more thing.”
- Plan better
- How to track your progress for being on time
- Four recommendations for improving your punctuality
- 2. For Absent-Minded Professors: stop spreading yourselves too thinly**
- 3. For Producers, Evaders, or Indulgers: give your organization skills a workout
- 4. For everyone: take care of yourselves and sleep
- How To Make The New Habit of Being-On-Time Stick
How to stop being late forever: 3 expert tips
Note down (in a journal or a habit-checking app) every time you’re late for an appointment. What was the reason? How did it make you feel at the time? How did it impact the rest of your day?
Simply saying that you don’t want to be late isn’t strong enough to make your brain break out of autopilot.
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Why do you really want it? It could be that you’re sick of feeling guilty or injecting unnecessary panic into your day.
Build in practices to support your new habit. Distil your personal and authentic motivation for change into a mantra, such as:
‘I’ll arrive in plenty of time, refreshed and ready for my meeting,’ and repeat when your default urge is to stay in bed a little longer.
Try making a 15-minute buffer before appointments a non-negotiable part of your routine and log how this extra space makes you feel.Related Stories
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Claudia Canavan Health Editor Claudia is Health Editor at Women’s Health: she spends her time editing and writing about the full spectrum of female health, from how hormonal changes impact your life to the latest in vaccine developments.This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Stop fooling around. Most people stop being late as soon as they get a more responsible or higher paying job. If you are constantly late for appointments, maybe it is better to spend time searching through the websites with job advertisements?
If you are a good specialist, the privilege of being late may be a bonus instead of a pay raise. You can discuss this with the management. If five loans of different currencies do not allow you to throw money around, here are some ways to smooth out the effect of being late:
FOLLOW THE 40% RULE
Officially, it’s known as the buffer index, aka a calculation that says it will typically take you 40% longer than you think it will to get to your destination. So if you think you need 30 minutes, you probably actually need 42.
Step 4. Begin A New Ritual
This is the fourth move – replace your habits with rituals. Habits don’t work; rituals do.
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There’s a difference between the two. Habits are automatic behaviors. Rituals, however, are just the opposite – they require your intention, attention, and engagement.
Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, says,
Rituals, by contrast, are almost always patterns developed by an external source, and adopted for reasons that might have nothing to do with decision making.
Rituals are step-by-step instructions you can easily repeat to get to your desired outcome. If you’ve taken up your habit of going to bed on time, here’s an example of how to go about it:
If you’re late at it for around an hour each night, then set up a ritual one and a half hours earlier before your designated bedtime. Start with shutting down and switching off your electronic gadgets. Ten minutes later, start dimming the total light in the house, by turning off a few of the lights. If you’re not already in bed by then, five minutes later, make the whole house dark and force yourself to find your way to bed in the dark.
If you’ve trouble going for a morning bout of exercise on time, so much so that you give it up for days together, here’s another example of tackling it:
You wake up in the morning with your phone reminding you repeatedly to put on your running shoes instead of slippers. Once you do put on your joggers, tell yourself you can’t take those shoes off until you’ve gone out and walked or jogged around for 20 minutes.
When you do a ritual for enough days, it turns into a new habit.
5. Take into account transition activities
Most of us give ourselves just enough time to get from A to B or jump from one task to another. Overestimating is one way to handle unexpected events. However, I feel a lot of people don’t take into account transition activities.
For example, if you have a lunch meeting that starts at noon, did you block out the appropriate amount of time to get from your office to the restaurant? If not, you may have inadvertently scheduled something else onto your calendar that butts right up against the meeting leaving you not much time to get to the event on time.
As a rule going forward, place time buffers between your calendar entries. This way you have extra time in case of an unexpected event. And, most importantly, you’re avoiding any potential scheduling conflicts.
11. Stop trying to squeeze in “just one more thing.”
We’ve all been guilty of this. You look at the clock and realize that you have to leave in 10 minutes. As opposed to just sitting there, you decide to respond to an email or return a phone call. Next thing you know, you’ve spent 20 minutes cleaning out your inbox or chatting on the phone.
I know that you don’t want to waste any valuable time. But, you need to keep that urge under control. If not, you’ll end up being late. My solution around this would be to just get up and leave. If you’re super early, you can spend that time replying to emails or whatever soft tasks you need to cross off your list.
Use these concrete tools and strategies to stay on schedule.
Always add three minutes of “out the door time” to your estimated travel time. This is the time spent running back inside for something, or walking to your car or taking the elevator down to the office lobby. This is the bit that Google Maps can’t warn you about.
Always add the length of one screw-up to your estimated travel time. You know how the weather forecast gives the temperature in the shade? Driving and transit directions give the travel time if nothing bad happens. Add the time you’d lose if you missed your bus, or if the quickest route were suddenly blocked, or if your flight were delayed, or if the Uber app crashed. If a single, typical delay is enough to make you late, you’re not leaving early enough.
Make a big list of everything that needs to happen before you get out the door: like a packing list, plus an activities list. No item is too small. Include everything you’d do on a particularly late day. “Brush teeth” is on there; “change mind about which sweater to wear” is on there; “go poop” is on there. Even before you schedule out this list, you’ll be more aware of how much you get done during your daily routine, and you’ll notice steps to eliminate or time-shift.
Do all the “bullshit” parts of travel prep the night before. Pick your outfit, pack your bag, find your keys and your umbrella. Prep the coffeemaker, set out the bowl and spoon for cereal. In extremely important cases, physically grab everything you’ll need tomorrow and stand outside your door. When you close the door, you’ll remember one more thing you forgot.
If you have kids, make this pre-prep more explicit. Turn a chest of drawers into a , with each weekday’s outfit and other necessities in a separate drawer. Help your kids fill it on the weekend.
To make a habit of this nightly prep, find natural ways to fit it into your usual bedtime routine. Pick tomorrow’s outfit while you put today’s away. Set out breakfast dishes while you clean up from dinner.
If you keep waking up late because you go to bed too late, then your problem is that you’re “running late” for bedtime. Prep for an earlier bedtime like you’d prep for an earlier morning. As soon as you get home, before you plop on the couch, do some of the things that you normally put off until the end of the night.
Time your shower. Give yourself five minutes”or three”to wash up and avoid daydreaming. Use a favourite song as the timer, if it’s not too distracting. Make your shower just cold enough to be uncomfortable.
Don’t drink coffee until you get to work. A big change, and one your body will resist at first. But the best time to enjoy a hot beverage is when you’ve arrived at work and can drink it in peace, not when you’re pulling on clothes and brushing your teeth. And the longer you delay your morning coffee, the more it keeps you alert”once your body has adjusted.
If you’re late to things like phone calls and digital meetings, set two meeting alerts: one for an hour in advance, to open all the necessary apps, log in, and install any updates. One two minutes in advance, to close the rest of your apps and re-open those necessary for the call.
Use your calendar’s “time to leave” alert feature. Google and Apple both offer alerts based on current travel times. They’re not 100% reliable. But they’re great when paired with another trick, which never works on its own: Mark all your appointments as starting five minutes early. That bumps the alert a little earlier, which you’re less likely to self-correct for.
How to track your progress for being on time
If you're keen to try your own lateness experiment, keeping track of your progress is essential.
As with any form of goal-setting, "if you don't measure it, it doesn't get done," Dr Sharp says.
Give yourself a week or two to road test these tips, and try to monitor your progress every day.
"Write it down at the end of every day, reflect on how you went and what you could have done better, advises Dr McKay.
Each time you achieve your punctuality goals for a whole day, give yourself some sort of reward, suggests Dr Sharp.
"It can be intangible like a pat on the back. Or even something tangible, like savour a nice cup of coffee or maybe a special treat" to positively reinforce your new behaviour, Dr Sharp says.
Unfortunately, there's no magic amount of time it takes to form a new positive behaviour (or break a bad habit) despite what you might've heard, according to Dr Sharp.
But if you fall off the bandwagon — which Dr Sharp says you probably will — be prepared to get right back on. With time, our experts say, you can get there.
Four recommendations for improving your punctuality
### 1. For Deadliners: beat procrastination
Who can say they never left studying to the last minute when they were at school or college? The tendency to put off unappealing tasks is understandable, but procrastination can result in your daily life being affected. Projects end up not being delivered on time, or if they are, the quality suffers. Nevertheless, finishing a project is gratifying and it helps to build self-esteem.
Put together a to-do list that’s as detailed as possible
Create little reminders for yourself to help you start your day. For instance, put a few well-placed sticky labels on your desk the day before to guide you on the things you need to get done.
Break down larger tasks into smaller ones.
When you complete a task on time or finish the first part of a project, give yourself time for a break.
Set yourself a time limit for each task. Establish a minimum amount of time to achieve certain things (such as reading five articles a week) and a maximum time limit for others (for instance, no more than 30 minutes for going through your emails in the morning).
2. For Absent-Minded Professors: stop spreading yourselves too thinly**
Stopping yourself from being distracted requires the discipline and training of an athlete.
The next time you feel like you are going to diverge from what you are doing or you are ready to stop working on it, try the following:
Stay and work for another 15 minutes. By not giving in to your urge immediately, you are working on your willpower.
Ask yourself if it is really worth going on social media when you could be finishing your work earlier instead. Compare the benefits between immediate pleasure (distraction) and long-term efforts.
3. For Producers, Evaders, or Indulgers: give your organization skills a workout
Willpower works like a battery—the more you use it, the weaker it gets. At work and home, the key word is “organization.” There are simple techniques to use so you don’t get overwhelmed:
Save time on repetitive tasks that use up your energy. At work, take advantage of the available technology as much as possible.
Each weekend, make a list of personal and professional goals that you would like to achieve during the week.
At the end of each day, cross off what you have accomplished and transfer the remaining items to the next day’s list.
Put your thoughts, ideas, and projects in writing: lists, flowcharts, notes tacked to the front door—any tricks that will help you remember these things are good to use.
4. For everyone: take care of yourselves and sleep
Lack of sleep is a major cause of running late, so consider going to bed at an hour that will allow you to get enough sleep. Nothing is more important than quality sleep before beginning a day.
SleepyTime is an app that tells you what time you should go to bed and get up in order not to break your rhythm. When you sleep, you go through a series of approximately 90-minute sleep cycles. This means that, even if you sleep for eight hours, you can feel tired the entire day if your alarm clock goes off in the middle of one of your cycles.
How To Make The New Habit of Being-On-Time Stick
The last question: How do you make your new habit of punctuality stick? And the answer: Start a habit chain.
The basic idea of habit tracking is to put a mark (say X) on each day you do something you have wanted to do and carry forward without breaking the habit chain.
To do this, install a habit tracker on your smartphone. There are many; check your app store. You could also easily do this with a simple paper calendar.