The clock is one of my oldest foes. I am constantly at odds with its insistence on allowing a minute to last only sixty seconds rather than four hours. I’m not sure what, exactly, causes my warped perception of the passage of time, but I always think I have more time than I really do.
This can get insanely challenging if I have to be somewhere at a particular time. Like, I don’t know, my job.
I know I can’t be the only one with this problem, so I’ve decided to compile some of the techniques I’ve used in the past to be on time. It’s also a good refresher for me, since sometimes I blindly accept it as fact that I’m never on time, rather than realizing there are steps I can take to fix the issue.
So, without further ado: Tricks for being on time!
- Keep a planner.
Seeing your obligations written down helps keep them in your head, so you’re less likely to pull an “I forgot”.
- If you’re supposed to be somewhere at 5 o’clock, write down 4:30. Go with that time, and forget 5 o’clock completely.
No matter how hard I try to be on time, I tend to be ten or fifteen minutes late. Tricking myself into moving the deadline half an hour earlier than the real scheduled time means I can actually get there fifteen minutes early.
- Get a friend to help.
Do you have a friend who’s good at being punctual? One who actually understands how a clock works in relation to the real world? Enlist this friend’s help! If you’re supposed to be somewhere, ask them to call you an hour or so beforehand to remind you. Then, make sure they don’t let you get off the phone until you’ve started getting ready to go. This is especially effective if you have to get up earlier than you’d like, and your friend is willing to be your alarm clock. You can’t hit snooze on a phone call. Don’t let them off the phone until you’ve gotten out of bed. (This was once the way I actually got out of bed for about a month.)
- Disengage from all activities 30 minutes prior to when you have to leave.
When I know I have to leave for my destination in fifteen minutes, I tell myself that’s plenty of time to check my e-mail, check Facebook, play a video game or two, and get ready. It isn’t. It usually isn’t even enough time to get ready, much less try to cram in all that other stuff. So thirty minutes before I have to be walking out the door, I’ll tell myself that I’m not allowed to even touch the computer, or my phone, or my Nintendo DS, or any of my books. That way, I’m forced to spend that time getting ready, so I’m not rushing to find clothes to wear or brushing my hair when I should be getting into my car and driving off.
- Anticipate traffic.
Maybe it only takes you ten minutes to get to your destination at two in the morning when no one else is on the road. But other people like to go places as well, and their cars take up space, which slows down your commute. Assume there will be traffic, and plan a large enough window to reach your destination on time regardless of any potential mid-freeway parking lots.
If you practice these tips, they can become a habit, which is encouraging for those of us who have a tendency towards tardiness! Being aware of the time sucking traps you fall into can work wonders for digging yourself back out. Create a time cushion for yourself, and you won’t have to spend the drive to work (or wherever) trying to fabricate a valid-sounding excuse for why you were late again. That in and of itself lifts a huge burden, and I’ve found it can make my entire workday much more bearable by starting it off stress-free!