If you are always late, people begin to believe that you are unprofessional, unreliable, or are simply disrespectful of their time. Punctuality is an unwritten rule of success, especially as you are climbing the corporate ladder.
Here are the 4 biggest reasons why you are always late.
4 big reasons you are late
You don’t keep a schedule
Days get busy, and without a schedule, it’s easy to simply forget about the next meeting until it’s too late. Schedules help keep us on-track and where we are supposed to be.
Google’s calendar system, as well as many office environments, offers calendar and scheduling software that can remind us 15 minutes before we are supposed to do something. And, most of our cell phones have this built-in. If you are always late, build a schedule and use reminders.
You overbook your schedule
Too many things on the calendar will increase the chances of always being late. When possible, proactively manage your schedule so you are not over-scheduling your day.
Not only will it help you get to meetings on time, but you’ll probably feel less stressed, too.
You underestimate the time to get there
Even when you do remember about your next meeting, leaving 2 minutes before and assuming you won’t get stopped in the hallway for a chat or drop into the restroom on the way leaves very little buffer time to get to your meeting.
Leaving no buffer time will make you late, probably more than you realize.
If you’re working from home and use virtual meetings, the same theory applies. Going to the bathroom, checking on your kids, grabbing a drink, all take time. Give yourself enough time to prepare for, and get to, the meeting.
You don’t have a partner
When there is someone else checking in on you, you are far less likely to forget about meetings or leave late for them. If you have a secretary, ask him or her to knock on your door or pop their head into your office 15 minutes before a meeting. Or if you work from home, ask your spouse – or even your kids, to check in when you need them to.
How to fix always being late
If you are someone who is always late, here are a few quick tips to help you fix that.
Use scheduling technology. Perhaps the most obvious, let technology work for you. Maintain a schedule and set reminders on your computer, as well as your phone, for at least 15 minutes before your next meeting.
Set your clocks ahead. If your clocks are always 10 minutes fast, you are essentially giving yourself an additional 10 minutes to get to your next meeting.
Say no. When you can, say no to meetings that are too close to other meetings or if you are not an integral part of the meeting. In other words, don’t overbook your schedule. Respect your time.
Set a goal to get there early. If you are a goal-oriented person, simply setting a goal to be that person who gets to meetings early could help. Give it a try.
Don’t check your phone before you leave. If there is one thing that phones are good for, it’s distractions. When you need to be somewhere, do not check your phone before you leave. Just leave. Get to the meeting, then check your phone or email (if you need to) once there.