How to Finally Stop Being Late
Let’s face it: When you’re known for your tardiness at work, you’ve got a problem. To be taken seriously as a professional, you simply can’t keep coming into the office at 9:10 every morning or missing the first five minutes of meetings. Because if you’re always late, you run the risk of people thinking that you don’t respect them or take your work seriously. That makes a bad impression and can have a significant impact on your career.
Why you’re late and what to do about it
There are various reasons why people are chronically late even when they always try to be on time. Here are two of the most important ones — and what to do instead.
- You can’t say no. Are you one of those people who has a hard time saying no to others, even if it means you’re going to be overbooked and overworked? According to Sherry Rauh in her WebMD article “Help for the Chronically Late,” some people literally can’t say no when asked to take on additional commitments — whether they have enough room in their schedule or not. The way to deal with this is to be honest with yourself and others. Practice saying things like, “I have a meeting all afternoon, so let’s schedule a time to talk tomorrow” or “I have a deadline this week, but I can meet with you next Tuesday.”
- You can’t estimate time accurately. In the Psychology Today article “This Is Why Some People Are Always Late,” Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. explains that there are people who estimate time better than others. This is partially due to clock-checking behaviour and partially due to having a well-functioning internal clock. To remedy this, take a few weeks to note down how long it takes you to perform certain tasks. For example, it might take you 25 minutes to get ready for work in the morning while you think it only takes 10 and you might spend 15 minutes on emails while you think you only use five. When you have a more accurate overview of how long things take, you’ll be able to schedule things more accurately. Just don’t forget to keep checking the clock!
If you want to advance in your career, you have to treat others with respect and show that you take your work seriously. Fortunately, with these tips in mind, you can be on time every time. Remember: It’s never too early — or too late — to make a change for the better.