How To Be On Time

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Here’s how to stop being chronically late. (Photo: Getty Images)

Do your friends tell you to meet them a half-hour earlier than you’re supposed to, fully expecting you to be late? While you might think that tardiness is simply engrained in your personality (or even genetic!), it is a habit that is possible to break.

WHY YOU NEED TO MAKE THE CHANGE

We get it, you’re busy — and it’s not like you’re intentionally losing track of the time. But being late not only causes unnecessary stress, it can give you a bad reputation, making people feel as if they can’t rely on you. And it can have negative effects on your relationships, both personal and professional. In a study published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, participants responded negatively to people who were late to a meeting, saying that they felt disrespected and that they perceived the late person as rude.

Related: How Having A Loaded Calendar Can Backfire

HOW TO DO IT

Like any compulsive behavior, it’s difficult to make a sudden change. “Most people really hate being late and have tried many times to fix it,” Diana DeLonzor, management consultant and author of “Never Be Late Again,” explained to YouBeauty. “Punctual people misunderstand. They think you’re doing it as a control thing, or that you’re selfish or inconsiderate. But, it really is a much more complex problem than it seems.”

Related: How To Become A Morning Person

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to break the always-late habit. DeLonzor told YouBeauty, for instance, that the first steps involve recognizing you have a problem and figuring out why you’re always late. Then, you need to decide to make the change, even letting others know about your goals so they can keep you accountable. 

If you find that you’re always late because you feel anxious about arriving at your destination too early, Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management From the Inside Out, tells WebMD a good strategy: Go to the event prepared with something engrossing and engaging that you can do to while away the time. And if you’re always late because you’re trying to just do one more thing before heading out the door, make a point to just leave on time, Morgernstern advises.

Are you always late because you just underestimate how much time it takes to get from Point A to Point B? Rachelle Isip, an order expert, tells Fast Company that a good strategy is to do a “walkthrough” between your destinations to get an accurate gauge of how long your commute really is. 

Ultimately, realize that you won’t become perfectly punctual overnight. “The habit of lateness is like any other habit,” DeLonzor writes in “Never Be Late Again.” ”Even when you think you’ve finally broken the pattern, you’ll find yourself backsliding. Be patient with yourself.” 

Finally! You Can… is a Yahoo Health series empowering you to achieve your wellness goals — once and for all. 

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