6 Simple Ways to Stop Being Late to Everything

If you relate intensely to the White Rabbit in “Alice in Wonderland” and are always late for a very important date, it may be about time to deal with it. (Sorry, we had to.) Of course, there are occasions when lateness simply can’t be avoided (we’re looking at you, buses that don’t run on schedule). That said, if you’re constantly saying you’re around the corner when you’re still sitting in your bed sending Snapchats, it’s time to amend that less-than-favorable behavior. Read ahead for some easy tips on how to never be late again. Your friends and boss will be grateful.

Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Of course, you can select your outfit and pack your lunch the night before, but there are other sneaky time wasters that you can vanquish with a bit of prep. Accomplish any grooming tasks that can be done in advance, like shaving or ironing, the night before to save precious minutes before you need to hit the road. If you’re going to be taking public transportation, buy tickets in advance or download an app so you don’t have to stand in a ticket line. Check to see if your coffee place of choice has online or advance ordering so you can breeze in and pick up your caffeine fix without slowing down.

Have a sense of humor

Alarms don’t have to be a harsh wake-up call. Set your clock to play your favorite confidence-boosting tune to put you in the right butt-kicking mindset right off the bat. Or, throw in funny comments or emojis to your alarm descriptions to push you to get moving. If your alarm says “Get up for time to sing Adele in the shower” or has a sneaker emoji to remind you to get going for your early-morning run, you may have a bit more pep in your step.

Evaluate your priorities 

Ask yourself if your entire to-do list needs to be accomplished before you get to where you’re going. Do you need to stop at three different places to get stamps, an iced coffee and deodorant before you meet your friend for lunch? Or can you wait until you get closer to your final destination to see if you actually have time to run some other errands? Get real about what absolutely has to get done and you may find yourself strolling into meetings feeling a bit more easy and breezy.

Be creative

When you know that you’ll be on a time crunch one day, propose an alternate meeting time or method of communication if an in-person tête-à-tête doesn’t work for you. If a specific day is too hectic for you to get to a meeting on time, suggest a phone chat or Skype conversation instead. Reach out to the other party and see if some of the agenda items can be discussed over Slack or resolved via email instead of an in person conference. The other person may be just as happy as you are to have a virtual meeting and cut down on some stress.

Lie to yourself

Honesty is usually the best policy, but sometimes you’ve gotta make like Pinocchio and stretch the truth. If you’re chronically late, you may want to play a few mind games to get yourself back on schedule. Trick yourself by pretending you have to be at an appointment 15 minutes earlier than you actually have to be there, or setting clocks a few minutes fast to purposely push you out the door. Before you know it, you’ll establish a reputation for always being early.

Be realistic

Often, lateness is an unintended consequence of a miscalculation or unavoidable last-minute problem. To combat the wrath of Murphy’s Law, try to avoid guessing how long it takes to get somewhere if you’re unsure. Looking something up on Google Maps can help to establish a more realistic timeline of how long you need to arrive, and can tip you off to any potential traffic delays or travel snafus you may encounter along the way. Buh-bye, traffic jams!

Kelsey Butler is a reporter and editor living in New Jersey. She has written for health and lifestyle publications including Women's Health and Brides. A proud dog mom of one, you can find her skiing or on the bocce court in her spare time.