Are you someone who’s always ticking off other people by being late? Do people who are always late really annoy you?
Contrary to popular belief, people who have a problem being on time are not always stereotypically lazy. Your friend or family member who can never seem to make the meeting on time may struggle with planning and execution. They could have problems with staying organized, or maybe their perception of time is off.
Instead of yelling at your friend who is always late, consider what they might have been up to while not arriving to your event in a timely fashion. They could have been…
- Coming up with a last-minute great gift idea to bring you
- Struggling with making a recipe to take to your house
- Feeling guilty for leaving their dog home alone and taking too long to walk him before they leave
- Working – maybe they are in charge of a business and the pressure to continue earning for their family is stronger than their need to be on time for your get-together
- Trying to stay on top of household chores in a situation where they have little or no support from family
- Dealing with trying to get kids out of the house on time
- Catching up with things they should have done before, like putting gas in the car or taking money out of the ATM machine
If someone you know is chronically running late, you may feel it is your right to scold them, and maybe you do earn that right as your time is in fact disrespected by those people who don’t show up when they say they will.
However, it might be more productive to gently guide said person to a more successful way of being.
The following tips may come in handy for people who never seem to be on time for anything.
Round up everything to the nearest half-hour. Don’t calculate how long it will take to be somewhere and decide that since it takes 15 minutes to drive there, you should leave 15 minutes before the meetup is scheduled. Instead, round up to the nearest half hour. If it takes 8 minutes to get to work and you’re hoping to be there for 9a.m., aim to leave by 8:30.
Organize your life. Each week, pick a day to shop, a day to do laundry and so forth. Prepare for the weekend. If your kids do sports, make sure uniforms, socks and other equipment are laundered and stored as necessary.
Don’t procrastinate routine tasks. It takes much more time to wash dishes that have been sitting in the sink with food stuck on them than it does to quickly rinse and soap dishes after a meal. Staying on top of what you have to do will prevent you from being backlogged when it’s time to hurry up and be somewhere on time.
Stay on top of the weather. Weather conditions are often ignored by those who don’t know how to get places on time. Keep the weather app on your phone so you can do a quick check-in each morning. Also keep the 10-day forecast in mind. Doing so will help you plan which types of clothing, outwear and items like rain coats, boots and umbrellas within easy reach.
Fill up your gas tank ahead of time. When the needle dips below a quarter tank, it’s time to refuel again. Don’t wait until you’re heading out the door. Put gas in your car on the way back from running errands, or on a Friday afternoon before a busy weekend of travel plans.
Pick a spot for important stuff. Have a place where you keep your shoes, cell phone, jacket, keys, wallet or purse and other needed items. One huge reason for people being late is not being able to find things.
Pack and store a seasonal bag. This is especially helpful for moms on the go. Every mom who’s up for spontaneous fun should have a tote in her trunk with things like beach towels, sunscreen, bathing suits, spare changes of clothing, small toys and such. It’s also good to keep a beach chair, waffle bat and ball or other commonly used summer items in your trunk so you’ll have them when it’s time to hit the road.
Make snack prep and cleanout part of your routine. Get a lunch tote that will hold drinks and snacks. Buy a few cold packs to cycle through so you keep juice boxes, water bottles, lunch meat and fresh fruit chilled while out and about. After your outing, come home and do a quick empty and wipe-down of the snack bag. Place cold packs back in the freezer for future use.
Be realistic about what you can accomplish. If this is hard for you, try to keep a log of how long it takes you to do certain tasks. Doing this might improve your sense of time if that’s a weakness for you. Knowing that it will take you 2 hours to put together a photo collage will help you figure out that this is not a good task to embark on when you’re supposed to be somewhere in 20 minutes.
Set reminders on your phone. Check your calendar to advance plan as necessary. Set alarms for events you plan to attend. Set other alarms to remind you to prep for these – like an alarm reminding you to grocery shop on Wednesday so you’ll have prepared your take-along food dish for the event you’ll be attending Thursday.
Don’t try to do it all. This is one of the biggest challenges of the chronically late. They don’t want to say no to people but they can’t be everything to everyone. You can’t stay focused on enjoying the moment if you’re always stressed about what’s coming up next.
If you think this sounds like a lot, it is. Changing from chronically late to often on time will be a gradual learning process. But if you’re tired of always being late, you can become a more organized person and change your ways. Getting yourself together means you get to know that calm feeling of being prepared and being on time. It’s a great feeling to know!
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