We’ve all run late before, whether it was because of a missed alarm, couldn’t find the right outfit, or getting stuck in traffic. It can turn into a routine for some, and if you’re constantly finding yourself on the later side of a deadline, consider these seven tips to break the habit.
Realize how long things actually take
Call it optimism or delusion, everyone can underestimate how long things actually take. Start to time your everyday activities to get a more accurate picture of your routine. If you encounter a task that you haven’t done before, err on the side of caution and allow yourself extra time to complete it.
Take transition activities into account
These include getting the family out of the house, parking, traffic, and walking. These mundane activities can regularly slip our minds when assessing time, but they add up!
Resist doing just “one more thing”
A busy lifestyle means a busy to-do list. When a random task comes into your mind, like replying to an email or unloading the dishwasher, resist the urge. Chances are that it will still be there later.
It’s so easy to keep on pressing that snooze button in the morning. We tell ourselves “I’ll just do everything else faster,” but most of the time that isn’t the case, and we end up late and stressed. Do whatever you need to break this habit: put your alarm across the room to force yourself out of bed, go to bed earlier, invigorate your morning routine, just see what works best for you.
Reframe your thinking about being early
Earliness is not a waste of time, in fact it’s quite the opposite. Giving yourself those minutes of calm before a meeting or appointment allows you to re-center your mind. Plus, you may even have time to leisurely complete some tasks like replying to emails, reading a book, striking up a conversation, or making a to-do list.
Aim for 10 minutes earlier
Increasing your margin of error allows leeway in case of an emergency or miscalculation. It may even help to set your clocks back this amount to fool your brain into getting on your way.
Think and prep ahead
Consider which activities from your morning routine take up most of your time and tackle them the night before. You could prepare your kids lunches, lay your clothes out, put your keys and wallet together, whatever frees up some important time for you the next day.