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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Punctuality is a fundamental part of our daily lives. Whether you are going to work or meeting up with friends, it’s important to be on time. Being late is not only disrespectful to your employers and friends, but it also adds unnecessary stress to your own life.
Some of us are already late before we even get out of bed! If the snooze button is your best friend, there are a few things you can do to start the day on time. First, make sure you are getting enough rest by going to bed at a reasonable time. Some require more sleep than others; find out what works best for you. If you’re not one to leap out of bed singing “Oh What a Beautiful Morning,” set your alarm for 10-15 minutes earlier than the time you need to be awake. This allows you to emerge from under the covers at a comfortable pace without suffering a time setback. If you rely on coffee to face the day, set the coffee pot timer so it will begin brewing automatically when you are scheduled to wake up to save yourself a step. Music can be a great motivator, so turn on your favorite radio station and dance your way into the shower.
Streamline your morning routine by doing as much as possible the night before. Pack your briefcase or backpack with everything you will need for the day. This also minimizes the chance that you will forget something while you’re rushing around to get ready. Choose which outfit you will wear and hang it on or near the closet door, so you won’t have to spend time searching for clothes. Prepare your lunch and make sure it’s accessible (not hidden under a pan of leftover lasagna) to save time and eliminate the risk of kitchen messes (estimated time to clean up leftover lasagna splattered on the floor = 10-15 minutes). Pay attention to the time it takes you to complete your morning tasks. If a five-minute shower doesn’t even give you enough time to rinse the shampoo out of your hair, allow yourself more time to get ready. Place everything you need to take with you (coat, keys, briefcase, etc.) by the door so you can easily grab it on your way out.
If you are able to leave the house on time but never seem to make it to where you’re going without being at least five minutes late, then the commute is your issue. If you’re going somewhere for the first time, make sure your destination is pre-programmed into your GPS, or that you have printed directions to rely on. Be realistic when estimating how much time it will take to get there, and don’t forget to take into account slow traffic and possible accidents or road construction. Don’t burden yourself by making morning stops to fill up the gas tank or grab breakfast or coffee on the way. These tasks often take longer than anticipated and can add several minutes to your morning commute. Be cautious—speeding, reckless, and aggressive driving could end up costing you more than the few minutes you would save are actually worth.
If being late is a chronic problem, take a closer look at why it continues to happen. Fear and anxiety about work or school could be the reason you can’t seem to get there on time. If this is the case, try to keep yourself calm, especially the night before as you fall asleep. While getting ready, focus on something you are looking forward to doing, or a person you are looking forward to talking to later that day, instead of getting worked up about where you have to go and what you have to do. Arriving late will only make the situation worse, so keep these tips in mind to save yourself from additional stress and embarrassment. Make a commitment to make punctuality a priority; you owe it to yourself and to everyone in your life who is tired of waiting for you!