12 tips to be more punctual September 15, 2015

Are you always late? Being constantly late is a really bad habit and it can give people the impression that you are unreliable. Even if you do not mean anything bad by it, it is widely seen as disrespectful if you are always late and it is unprofessional if you don’t make any of your appointments on time. To help you be on time and cultivate your punctuality, here are 12 tips to be more punctual:

1. Change your attitude

Put yourself in the position of the people waiting for you. It is annoying, to say the least, if you make time to see someone and they let you wait. If someone is waiting for you, they might think that you don’t appreciate them, or their time and the schedules they need to stick to, to be productive themselves. It can be really rude if someone is always late. Do not be generous with other people’s time.

2. Estimate better how long it really takes you to do things

Maybe you need to get your timing straight. Chances are you take longer to do things than you might think or schedule the time for. Take notes and see how long it really takes you to do things on a daily basis. Set a timer or stop watch if you are unsure. Just be more realistic in your time estimates.

3. Be better prepared

Do not waste your time in the morning by searching your keys or struggling to find any necessities that you need in order to leave the house. Lay your outfit out the night before, plan your lunch or snacks and have them ready ( if possible) and pack all there is to pack the evening before.

4. Set alarms and do what you’re supposed to do

Have a schedule or routine in place and know beforehand when you are supposed to do what exactly. Know the time you need to start getting ready or what time you need to be doing what to get things done on time.

5. Plan buffer time

Be generous in your time planning and add some time for delays. If you have some buffer time, you will manage to be on time even if you are getting delayed. Take public transportation, for instance. Take one bus or train earlier than you really have to. So if your train gets cancelled, you can still rush and make your connection or appointment on time.

6. Find your time killers and avoid sources of procrastination

Be aware of what makes you waste most of your time. What is it that holds you up? Avoid these sources of procrastination and stick to the above mentioned alarms you set for yourself to not get caught up in an activity fror too long.

7. Clocks

Have clocks available to you. Wear a watch. Have some clocks on display at your home or in your office. When the time is easily displayed, it is harder to ignore it. Some people even change their clock and make it ten minutes earlier on purpose. That strategy does of course only work if you stick to that changed time as if it was the correct one.

8. Get organized

Overall, get organized. Write down all your tasks, appointments, time schedules and write down the times you spend in traffic, too. Have your schedule available to you at all times. Collect the timetables you need to have on hand. This way it is harder to miss public transportation times and you know the office times of your doctor, the opening times of your bank or pharmacy for example, and you can avoid standing before closed doors. Schedule the time in, that it takes you to get somewhere.

9. Your motivation

Think about the benefits of being on time and why you want to be arriving at places earlier. As usual, finding your motivation is key. You will be more dedicated to be on time if you think about the reasons for it. Why do you want to be on time?

10. Get there earlier

Plan to be at your appointments early or with enough buffer time. Have something to do in your waiting times so you are not bored or annoyed while you are waiting for other people or your appointment to start. If you are very early, stay in your car or some other place until it is time to meet with other people. Use these short time windows waiting on others to read or write emails or enjoy some quiet time to yourself. It is a possibility for you to relax during your day.

11. Let people know about any delays beforehand

This way you seem organized even if you are running late. People know you haven’t forgotten about them and are more likely to forgive you, should you be late. Also, it is the polite thing to do. Try to call the person. If that is not possible, leave a voice message or write them a message.

12. Overthink your priorities

Do not spend unnecessary time on things that do not matter that much before an appointment. Do not lose track of time!

Remember: You can learn to be on time. Even if you are notorious for being late it is never too late to drop that habit and become more punctual. Being late should be an exception to the rule. You will see the many benefits of being on time and have less stress in your life. Just try it!

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