Would people say you are easily distracted, disorganized, self-centered, and generally inconsiderate? Many experts say that you fall into these categories if you are consistently tardy.
There are several reasons why people are perpetually late. Some are like the absent-minded professor: They are in the distracted category, misplacing glasses and car keys getting lost, or completely forgetting there is an appointment.
Some are in the self-centered spot and just like the trill of being late, running to catch the plane or an important meeting. On the other hand, maybe they are asserting their power, such as; “I’m in such demand”, or “I’m an important person and everyone can wait for me” which is just rude and inconsiderate. One human behavior expert has suggested that one may be late because they are feeling guilty over some act, and being late gives them an opportunity to apologize for the other, un-absolved sins.
When I started working my first real job, it took about 30 minutes to get to work if I left at 7:15am. If I left at 7:25am, the traffic pattern changed and it would take 40 minutes to arrive at the office. Well, since I had to be at work at 8:00am, 8:05 did not work for my boss. I got my butt chewed a few times for being late. Between this job and the military, I learned that being a few minutes early is a good thing and a lot less painful.
Okay, if you have a punctuality problem, it probably starts first thing in the morning. Waking up is the first item of the day where you can contemplate and procrastinate. Whether you hit the snooze button and fall back asleep or accidentally turn your alarm off and wake up 30 minutes later in a panic, getting out of bed is an easy thing to delay. One way to correct this is you need to put the alarm out of reach. Physically getting out of bed to turn off the alarm is a sure way to get up every morning. I remember doing that for several years.
Planning the night before can help with timeliness the next morning. Lay out your clothing, shoes, pack your lunch, and setting the coffee maker up the night before will take some stress off. In addition, if there is anything out of the ordinary that you need to do, write it on a card or piece of paper and put it in your shoe. You will not forget it that way unless you walk out barefooted with your shoes in your hand. If you are constantly running back into the house to get your phone, or always losing your sunglasses, put them by the door. Create an easy spot near your exit for items so you cannot forget them.
When I was involved in the day-to-day operations of a plumbing business, the number one complaint was a technician being late for the appointment. While chronic lateness might seem just plain rude, time management can be harder than it looks. Telling a late person to be on time is a little like telling an overweight person they need to eat differently.
If you think you can get there in 30 minutes, plan on 45; if you are walking somewhere and you think it takes 10 minutes, plan on 15. Everything always takes longer than you think it will. Traffic was backed up was the excuse that got under my skin. What that tells me is you left at the last minute with no margin of error. You have to plan for the backup because it happens more than not. Let us face it, if you leave a little early and traffic is moving great, the worst case is you will be early for a change.
Early morning staff meetings were always an issue for some. We starting locking the door to the office so when the meeting began. If you showed up and the door was locked, you when home for the day. Then you have to explain to your spouse why your paycheck was less that week. After several missed meetings, I would free up your future to go work for someone else.
Recognizing you have a problem is the first step. Once you know you have the problem, plan differently. Adjust all your clocks to be 15 minutes early. Stop attempting to do one more thing before the appointment and go to the meeting. When you set up your plan for the day, put a couple of empty spots in as a cushion in case something runs over.
No matter what you do, planning is the key to solving the problem. Go from being the rude dude to the one that is always early. You will gain respect from your peers, supervisors, and clients alike.
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