Showing up on time is an ability you must master if you want to be considered an adult. Millions of adults arrive on time daily despite bad traffic, breakfast spills or morning mishaps – and you can to. If you’re one of those people that can never show up on time anywhere, you probably don’t realize how much this tacky characteristic is negatively affecting your life. Some ill effects of chronic lateness are obvious, such as the train you miss because you couldn’t get ready quick enough, or the friends you piss off because you held up the entire group from eating for half an hour.
Many employers cite tardiness as the number one characteristic that they look for in people NOT to hire. If you’re late for a job interview in today’s competitive climate, you may as well not even show up. If you can’t perform the basic Western task of arriving on time, it shows that you may be immature in other areas of life as well. Chronically late people create a reputation for themselves that they cannot be trusted or relied upon, and friends may not want to hang out with you because you make them wait all the time.
Other people may also assume that you show up late because you do not care about their time, and in fact making people wait on you is a top talent of narcissists: think of Kim Kardashian holding up her entire family’s dinner so that she can get her nails done. While disrespecting or annoying others might be the farthest thing from your mind, being late is disrespectful. Rest assured: when you show up late to meet someone, even when they smile graciously, they are more than likely pissed off and will make a mental note that you are someone who wastes their time.
Want to ditch the tardy habit? Try these six tips:
1. Measure your daily tasks. How much time does it take you to brush your teeth? Cook and eat breakfast? Take a shower? Most people who are chronically tardy wildly underestimate the time it will take them to do anything. Measure how long it takes to perform your daily routine, so that you will no longer say, “I’ll be ready in five minutes!” when you really need fifteen.
2. Write your schedule down, starting at the bottom of the page with your arrival: 6PM Arrive Wedding. Now work backwards, creating space for everything that must happen before: 5:45 Leave House, 5:30 Walk Dog, 4:30 Get Ready, 3:30PM Eat a Snack, etc. Working backwards helps you to truly ascertain the amount of time you need for all the actions you must perform before you must arrive.
3. Identify the secret reasons for your tardiness. Some people just love the stimulation of being late. You’re rushing, your heart is pounding, and the whole event is MUCH more exciting than if you’d actually shown up on time. You rush in with an excited air, and all the attention is turned to you. Does your brain get a rush from the stimulation? Or perhaps you like being late because of the rebelliousness of it, because rules are for other people and because you never outgrew the teenage imperative: “I’ll do what I want!” Realize that some rules – like brushing your teeth – are actually good ideas that will have a positive effect on your life. Refusing to be on time, like refusing to brush your teeth or take a bath, is an immature act of false rebellion that will ultimately have negative consequences on your life.
4. Double-check your info. Are you heading somewhere important, like a job interview or wedding? Don’t ruin the bride’s big day or lose the job because you wrote down the wrong address or time. Learn to recognize when the stakes are high, and always double-check crucial information.
5. Bring a book. Many people are late because they fear waiting around with nothing to do; in this modern era humans feel that their attention must be occupied 100 percent of the time. If you hate to wait, bring a book to ease the pain – just knowing you’ll have something to do will help you to arrive on time.
6. Accept your limitations. Beating chronic tardiness isn’t easy – you’ve probably claimed the label and now find it an easy excuse to always be late because your friends are expecting it. If you are going to be more than five minutes late to a meeting with another human, call or text them to let them know. It’s called consideration.
Image: photo extremist