Do you know any of these people? The ones that are always running into meetings after the meeting has already started or arrive at lunch well past the time that everyone has gathered. As for what time they will arrive at the office; well, there’s an office pool taking bets on when they are going to show up.
Yes, those people – the ones that are chronically late.
Are you one of these people? Do you have family, friends, co-workers or employees that fit this description?
Chronic lateness is an unfortunate habit – business deals, job opportunities and sales have been lost because of tardiness. The reputation of “always late” is not a good reputation to have!
It doesn’t have to be that way. There are some easy action steps that can help eliminate the problem of lateness:
Leave yourself enough time.
People that are always late tend to cut things too close and don’t take into account heavy traffic, a delay on the subway or railroad, or any of the other unexpected things that can impact being timely. The simple solution is to build in a little extra cushion of time so that unforeseen mishaps and circumstances won’t cause a problem with arriving on time.
Don’t start a new task or activity right before you are planning to leave.
The person that wants to do “just one more thing” before they leave is the person that finds it difficult to stop mid-way and therefore is late. Whether it’s checking email one last time, starting to file a report, checking the work that is piled on the desk or tidying a drawer, chances are the task will take more time than you have available to you. Wait until you have an adequate amount of time to get the job done right!
Be honest – do you really care about being late.
We tend to accomplish what we care about and what’s important to us. Being timely is no different. With a few behavioral changes, coupled with a sincere desire to arrive on time, everyone can do it!
Get out of bed a little bit earlier.
If getting to work on time is a challenge there’s a very easy solution – set your alarm to go off 15 or 30 minutes earlier. Sleeping in until the last possible second means that you will have to rush to get ready and even then, there is a good possibility that you will be late. (If getting up a bit earlier is a problem then consider going to bed a little earlier too!) While you are at it, get your things prepared the night before. Set out your clothes, organize the breakfast and pack your briefcase because these morning rituals take time.
Watch the clock.
It’s very possible that time can get away from you while you are engrossed in your work however an alarm will keep you on your toes. Need to leave for a meeting at 2pm? Consider setting an alarm on your smartphone for 1:30, 1:45 and 1:55pm. It’s not difficult to do, and it will help you to wrap up what you are doing and get out the door.
Remember that being late is considered to be rude and discourteous behavior. You don’t want those qualities to be part of your personal brand, do you?