Are you one of those people who is always late? While you may just accept it as part of your personality, chances are that your tardiness has resulted in some less-than-ideal consequences. From minor things like missing dinner reservations to the more serious like making a bad impression at a job interview or missing a flight, being chronically late can be frustrating for you and those around you.
If you are one of these people, you may feel more stress and anxiety when doing typical day-to-day things. And these are not feelings anyone wants to have on a regular basis!
How can you take steps to change your behavior and start being on time (or even early – gasp!)?
It all depends on the reasons you are late. Let’s explore some of the most common reasons people are tardy, and suggest some ways you can change that behavior.
4 Reasons You are Always Late (and How to Fix It)
Why are you late? Take some time to study your last two weeks and write down all the times you were late and the reason behind it. Were you late because…
You slept late.
When we sleep late, it’s usually because we got to bed late or didn’t sleep well. No matter the reason why you slept in, you are left feeling exhausted the next day. Sleep deprivation can impact your daily life in a number of ways, aside from being late. It can cause moodiness, anxiety, lack of concentration and stress.
Good, quality sleep is vital. Take steps to improve your sleep. Create a nighttime routine that prepares your body for rest. Design your bedroom for optimal rest. Avoid using technology an hour before bed. Set a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. By beginning to implement these good sleep habits, you can significantly improve your sleep and wake up refreshed and on time.
You over-packed your schedule.
Do any of these examples resonate with you? You try to squeeze in one more email or work call. You think you can get one more errand in before a meeting. You throw in one more load of laundry before you need to pick up the kids.
Having a jam-packed schedule does not make you efficient. In fact, it usually just wears you out and makes you less effective overall. Plus, when you attempt to add just one more thing to your calendar, it typically means that you begin to get behind, making you late for the rest of your day. Resist the urge to tack on these tasks before a non-negotiable appointment. Remind yourself that your kids can’t wait by themselves or that your boss won’t tolerate your tardiness. Then, make a plan for when you can send that email or do that errand when it won’t impede on other tasks.
You are disorganized.
We all know someone who is disorganized. If that someone is you, understand that disorganization doesn’t have to be your default setting. Simple behavior changes and routines can help you make huge leaps in your ability to stay organized.
When you are constantly living in a state of disarray, you can spend a great deal of time looking for lost items, trying to find that important email or phone number. Put some rules in place for keeping organized and hold yourself accountable. If you can’t, enlist an accountability partner who can help.
Designate a specific place for your keys, sunglasses and other important items and be strict with yourself about replacing them there every time. The same applies for your email inbox. Use labels to organize your messages so it is easy to find valuable information when you need it.
You don’t want to do the thing you’re late for.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that when you don’t want to do something, you won’t have the motivation to get there. Whether that’s a job you hate or a lunch appointment that you are dreading, procrastinating is a clear sign that you should reassess your day-to-day life.
Take stock of the things (or people) that aren’t working for you. What things are you constantly late for because you don’t really want to be there? Make the commitment to yourself that you will make a change. Maybe not today, but pledge to take steps to fill your days with work, activities and people that light you up.
To summarize, if you are fed up with being late all the time, acknowledge the problem and make a commitment to change your behavior. Then, evaluate the reasons why you are constantly late. Once you know the reasons behind your tardiness, you can create a plan for addressing each issue. Baby steps are ok – after all, lateness has probably been a part of your life for a while now. Be kind to yourself, but also hold yourself accountable for the commitments you’ve made.
And if you still aren’t able to make the change you want, consider enlisting a life coach to help you make positive changes in your life.