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Are you a chronically late person? This post outlines 10 things you need to help you manage your time and be early more often.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know that being habitually late has many consequences so it’s much better to be early.
The problem is that for those of us who are always late, being early isn’t very easy.
That’s because chronic lateness is often the result of bad habits — particularly those related to time management — and habits aren’t easy to change.
I understand because I struggle to be on time too.
The good news is that change is not impossible.
Anyone can learn to be early.
Below are some things every chronically late person needs to have, to do, and to get, that will help them manage and save time and ultimately become an early bird.
Things every chronically late person needs to have
When you’re always late, clocks and other time-telling devices can seem like the enemy.
There they are, looking at you, their every tick, tock, tick announcing that you’re running out of time.
But I’m here to announce that these time devices are your FRIENDS.
In particular, clocks should be your besties.
Clocks remind you to make every minute count and alert you when it’s time to take action like go to bed or leave the house.
The advantage of a clock over a device like your phone, for example, is that you have to make a purposeful effort to check your phone for the time — press a button or tap for the screen to come on.
Phones also come with the distraction of texts, emails, and social media notifications — everything you’d want to avoid if you’re planning to be early.
But unlike your phone, a clock will always show the time and just the time with no distractions.
If you’re trying to be early and make better use of your time, get a large noticeable clock and hang it somewhere that it is visible.
Some great places to keep a clock are:
- your bedroom
- the bathroom (we sometimes lose track of time in there)
- at your desk
- in the living room
Don’t be afraid to get one for every room if you have to.
While a clock is useful inside a building (like your home, dorm room, or office), when you’re on the go, a watch like this is super handy.
As mentioned before, the downside of your phone is that it has to be checked for the time (and has distractions to come with it).
On the other hand (pun intended), you only need to glance at your watch to tell the time.
An alarm clock
These are particularly useful for those who have trouble waking up early. However, you should try a traditional alarm clock rather than using your phone.
This prevents you from getting distracted by social media, notifications and messages when you first wake up.
Clocks and watches are excellent tools for anyone who wants to be early. They allow you to be more aware of the time, leading to better time management.
A game plan
When in a rush, it’s easy to do things without thinking. This can sometimes lead to making poor decisions and wasting time.
To avoid this, create a game plan for what you’re going to do if you’re late, in advance.
Here are some things your game plan should entail:
1. A cute but simple hairstyle
Choose a style that flatters your face, but can be done in a few minutes.
If you’re worried that your hairstyle is boring, try some cute hair accessories. They can be easily added to give your look more pizazz.
2. A makeup look that takes 10 minutes or less
Not sure how to shorten your routine?
Think about the things that are most important to your usual look.
For some people, it may be brows, for others, it may be lips. Or you may choose to only conceal some blemishes.
Whatever it is, focus on that and forget about everything else.
3. An outfit that you can throw on at the last minute
The outfit you plan should be something that you feel confident in and should also be clean, ironed, and hanging in your closet, ready to wear.
This is great because you won’t lose time trying to find or decide what to wear.
It also comes in handy if your planned outfit has a stain or you’re having some other wardrobe malfunction.
4. A shortcut
Whether you drive or walk, plan what route you can take to get you to your destination the fastest.
But please do safely!
Avoid lonely routes or speeding in an effort to be early. It’s much better to be safe.
If you drive, it’ll also be useful to figure out where the nearest gas stations are so that you can stop if you need to.
A late space
How many times have you found yourself running extra late because you couldn’t find something you needed?
It could be small items like your keys, headphones or sunglasses.
Or bigger items like your umbrella, portable charger or yoga mat.
Whatever it is, create a dedicated space somewhere close to your door, so that you can have easy access to the things that always seem to go missing at the wrong time.
Make a habit of putting items like these in the same spot as soon as you get back home, otherwise this strategy won’t work.
A late kit
(Forgive me for my lack of creativity in naming these things)
Unlike your ‘late space’ which stays at home, your late kit comes with you.
The most important thing to remember is to keep your kit in your car or your bag at all times so that you can never forget it.
Your late kit will contain all the items that can help you do those last-minute touch-ups you may have forgotten or not have had time to do in your rush.
For example, your kit may contain:
- bb cream
- a small mirror
- cereal bars (for when you don’t have time to have breakfast at home. I like this one.)
- a lint roller
- an extra mask
- a stain remover
How the late kit works
If you’re running late and travelling to your destination takes a long time, don’t stay at home perfecting your hair and makeup or even having an elaborate breakfast.
You can shower, get dressed, then leave knowing that you can finish getting ready with your late kit.
The purpose of the kit is to save you time by allowing you to take a little bit of home with you.
It allows you to leave the house earlier and therefore arrive at your destination earlier.
But, of course, doing your hair and makeup in the car or in a bathroom isn’t something you should want to do every day… it’s much better to learn to be on time.
You can eat cereal bars on the go, but don’t do your hair or makeup in a moving vehicle. Wait till you get to your destination where you can safely do those things in your car or the bathroom.
Things every chronically late person needs to do
Set your clocks ahead of time
This is something my mother has done to help get my sister and me out of the house earlier!
That was when we were younger and didn’t check our phones as much.
She changed the time on the clock in the living room AND the car so we were thoroughly fooled.
Long story short… it worked.
If you struggle with being early, this is something you can try:
Set your clocks ahead a random and odd number of minutes (like 13 or 7).
This will trick your brain into believing it’s much later than it actually is and therefore get you to leave the house earlier.
Of course, this will be most effective if someone else does it, so you won’t be as aware of the change.
However, if you don’t have someone else to do it, don’t worry!
Using a random number of minutes prevents you from being easily able to calculate the actual time — so this tip can still work.
Schedule your time
A schedule helps you to manage your time better and will therefore help you to be on time.
First use a to-do list to write down everything you have to do.
Then, starting with the most important task, use a schedule or planner (digital or physical) to schedule exactly when you are going to accomplish each task.
I recommend a digital schedule like Google Calendar which syncs with all your devices and alerts when the time for a new task is approaching.
P.S: Don’t overestimate how much you can do in a day.
If there’s no time to accomplish a particular tasks, don’t be afraid to leave it for the day after or the weekend.
Even if you do set up a late space, it’s not like you can put everything in there.
It’s important to get organized so that you always know where your things are and don’t have to lose time looking for them.
Things every chronically late person needs to get
The last thing every chronically late person needs is help.
Like I said in my post on how to be on time, I’m not trying to make lateness seem like a disability that you can’t do much about.
But it is a problem.
You can’t go your whole life being late for everything.
So, as much as I write about how to cope with being late, the ultimate goal is to help you become someone who is early and organized.
To stop being a chronically late person, you need help.
You need help changing your habits, getting organized, managing your time, and being disciplined.
Luckily, there are loads of amazing resources that can help you do all of these. I’ve also written a few posts myself!
Here’s a great list of resources you can use to help you make being chronically late a thing of the past:
- How to go to bed earlier– 7 essential steps
- The psychology behind being perpetually late
- Be on time for everything — strategies for beginners
Even if you struggle with chronic lateness, you’re not a hopeless case. It is possible to become someone who is on time for everything!
By using the tips and resources in this post, you can learn to manage and save time and ultimately become an early bird.
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