7 Tricks To Master Being On Time

"Fashionably late" is a myth. Sorry.

By Alida Nugent

If you’re someone who’s late all the time, you probably don’t understand what the big deal is about being a couple of minutes late. But once you’ve crossed over to the other side and become someone who is obsessively on time, it becomes obvious how shortsighted, selfish and counter-productive it is to show up everywhere unfashionably late. Hopefully, you are now convinced to commit yourself to being on time, and if so, don’t worry! You don’t have to go it alone.

Here are seven tricks to help you be on time. Take it from me. I’m not just a blogger… I’m also always on time. 

1. . Make The Decision

No one can help you if you aren’t willing to help yourself. The first thing you have to do to be on time is to decide that you want to be on time. Late people are on the winning side of an asshole move, so it may be difficult for you to see why being late is so bad. Spoiler alert: you never get cool points for showing up late. If you’re used to being late, it’s going to take some work to do the habit, so put a ring on it and commit to the process. I will be on time… I will be on time…  (say it with me, now) I will be on time! 

2. . Don’t Lie To Others

Even a white lie of “traffic, am I right?!?” can make it easier for you to be late again. Make it a point to tell the honest truth when you are late. You are likely to find that when you take accountability for your own mistakes, you are less likely to make them again. Plus, being on time is something to be proud of, and it is often the difference of getting to walk into a room with confidence rather than having to start out with an apology.  

3. . Lie To Yourself

Here’s what I do. Whenever I fly, I ask someone what time it is, and then set my watch a little bit earlier than whatever they say, but I try not to take note of exactly how much earlier. Then, for the rest of the trip, I’ve got between three and five minutes of cush time to make sure I am always on time. If you have multiple clocks/watches in your house, set them all in this way so that each one is slightly different. That way, you’ll stop trying to do the math to try and figure out what time it really is, and just trust that it’s ok to give yourself a little headstart. 

3. . But Be Honest

When google maps tells you it takes between thirty and thirty-seven minutes to get somewhere, don’t assume you’re gong to make it in twenty-five. Make real calculations for how long it takes to get somewhere using rational and real expectations for time of day, traffic, red lights etc. If you think you’re better than everyone else out there on the road, you probably drive like an asshole, so congratulations: this blog is two lessons in one. 

4. . Keep A Calendar

Sure, you can use your phone, but you have to put everything in it, if you do. Keeping one central schedule is clutch in keeping on time. It gives you a visual reference for your entire day, which can help you plan out mentally as well as make sure you know in advance what your actual obligations are. 

5. . Stop Drop And Roll

When you know it’s time to leave, drop whatever you’re doing like it’s hot and head out the door. No “after this video,” no, “hang on, let me send an email.” Recognize that being late is as rude as doing whatever thing is distracting you in front of the person who is being made to wait. 

6. . Learn To Be Productive Out And About

This can mean making sure you have something interesting to listen to or a couple of short phone calls to make while in the car (handsfree, of course) or downloading a book onto your phone so that if you are early somewhere, you have a way to make it productive and fun. Often, being late is no more than a fear of being early. If you can lear to cherish that time alone, you are more likely to set yourself up to be early throughout the day. 

7. . Say Yes To Less

No one is impressed when you come late to a party and leave early to go to another. If you don’t want to be somewhere or don’t value it as an experience enough to want to be there on time, then maybe you don’t really want to be there in the first place. It’s ok to say no. In fact, it’s more polite than saying you’ll be there and then making everybody wait. Ditto “to do” lists. Don’t say you’re going to write thank you notes for Christmas presents when you know perfectly well that’s never going to happen. 

[Photo: Getty Images]

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