Being late is only cool if you're Beyoncé arriving at the Met Gala. In real life, its not so fashionable. Being late means missed opportunities, having your best friend mad at you the whole night, and stern warnings from your boss. Even though sometimes life just happens, there are a few ways to avoid being late ever again.
Understanding why you have problems with tardiness is the first step. Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management From the Inside Out, told WebMD that reasons for being late fall into two categories: technical and psychological. Technical reasons are driven by bad planning like underestimating how long it will take you to get ready, while psychological reasons are a choice. You either choose to be late out of resistance or you thrive on stress and enjoy the "minicrisis" of being late, according to WebMD. (Diana Delonzor, author of Never Be Late Again, has gone even farther and categorized chronically late people into seven personality types. Wow.)
Once you recognize the reason for your tardiness, the next step is making conscious decisions to ensure you're on time. From simple tricks like picking out your clothes the night before to writing your schedule out, these twelve tips may keep you from being late ever again.
1. Shower Before Bed
According to Greatist, warm showers can put you to sleep. Since warm water eases muscle tension, the body relaxes and signals to the brain it may be time for bed. Not only will you go to bed feeling more relaxed, but you'll definitely take some time off your morning routine freeing it up for more sleep or practicing what you learned in those YouTube makeup tutorials.
2. Prepare For Your Day The Night Before
Does finding the perfect outfit take you at least half an hour? Are you horrible at directions? Elle noted that taking care of these details at night — like picking out your clothes the day before, having your keys in a place you can find them, and figuring out your travel route — can save you so much time in the morning. It will make life a lot easier when you're half asleep the next day.
3. Go To Bed Early
That last episode of Grey's Anatomy ended with a cliffhanger and you have to see what happens next right now. But that may not be the best idea. Think about how much better it would be to get that extra hour of sleep and finally look like you tried when you get to work in the morning. Besides not being late to work, The Huffington Post noted that going to bed early also has many proven benefits, like maintaining a healthy weight and lowering your risk of certain diseases.
4. Set Your Alarm Clock 20 Or More Minutes Before You Actually Plan on Waking Up
If you know you're a chronic snoozer and you can't start your day without hitting that button, set your alarm clock for a few minutes earlier. When it goes off, you can hit the snooze button with comfort knowing that you have extra time before you really have to wake up. Just make sure you don't keep tapping it past the time you should really be up and going.
5. Set More Than One Alarm
If you're afraid you might sleep through the alarm you've set, Apartment Therapy suggested setting multiple alarms in 10 to 15 minute increments. If for some reason you don't hear the first, use your phone to set up extra rings. It won't stop going off until you've set all of them off, forcing you to be somewhat alert.
6. Set Up a Custom Alarm Tone
Would it be easier to wake up to Adele singing "Hello" or do you enjoy the generic sound of an alarm? If the current sound of your alarm makes you cringe, switch it up. It might not make you any less tired, but it may make it a little easier to open those blinds.
7. Give Yourself Extra Time For Your Morning Routine
If you have always given yourself half an hour to get ready and you're always late, it may be time to start being realistic with how long it takes to actually do these things. Maybe you need an extra 15 to 20 minutes, and that's OK.
8. Say No When You Don't Have Time
The fear of disappointing others by telling them you're not available to be their plus one or take on that extra project is a real thing. But it's OK to say no sometimes when you simply don't have the time. You can let them know you're not available, but you would love to help or participate when you can. It's better than running around or making them upset when you inevitably have to show up late or not at all.
9. Buy A Planner
If most of the times you're late results from just forgetting the time and date, Fast Company suggested writing it down might help. For some, it's easier to visualize their schedule when it's organized in a planner. You can just take a look at it whenever you need to refresh yourself about projects or engagements you've committed to.
10. Give Yourself Extra Time To Get Where You're Going
If you're from a place where traffic is always an issue — like New York or Los Angeles — then your tardiness may stem from commuting issues. If you're leaving the house without anticipating traffic or subway issues, then you might be setting yourself up for failure. Check travel advisories before you leave and give yourself extra time based on what you find.
11. Don't Be Afraid Of Down Time
In Morgenstern's interview with WebMD, she said that some people are late because they're afraid they will arrive too early with nothing to do. Even if that's the case, you can plan for this ahead of time. Figure out how to make that time productive, whether it is by reading or catching up with friends on the phone.
12. Congratulate Yourself When You're Early
You'll remember how good it felt next time, and hopefully not be late again.