9 habits of people who are never late for anything

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Sometimes it can seem as though time just runs away from you. Before you know it, you’re late and you’ve got to rush.

But why does this never seem to happen to those lucky few who are perpetually on time?

Well, it’s not by accident.

They have cultivated certain habits to ensure they’re never late for anything.

1) They don’t allow themselves to get lost in timewasting activities

Forget outer space, some of the biggest black holes are in the home.

They lurk all around us, waiting to suck us.

But when they know they have a busy day ahead, people who are never late don’t allow any room for distractions.

Because let’s face it, sometimes we intend to only spend a quick 5 minutes on a task, but quickly get sucked in.

So they won’t lie in bed scrolling through their phones, or have a little check-in on social media.

They won’t put the TV on during breakfast.

They purposely stay clear of all those activities that rob you of the precious minutes you will need. Because they all add up.

Instead, they keep an eye firmly on the clock.

2) They have realistic expectations

It’s really easy to underestimate how long something is going to take.

In an attempt to be efficient with our time, we end up being unrealistic.

We try to squeeze in too much. And in doing so, we set ourselves up for failure.

You guestimate that it’ll “probably” take you around half an hour to get showered, dressed, eat breakfast, and out the door.

Maybe one time when you’re really in the flow it does.

But another time, just a few minutes delay on each of your tasks can really start to add up. And before you know it, you’re hella late.

People who are always on time know what is realistic, and they use this framework to create their schedules.

3) They take into account unforeseen circumstances

In fact, a lot of circumstances that can end up holding us up aren’t even that unforeseen.

We know that trains run late or get canceled. We’ve sat in enough traffic jams to understand that the highways can be a total nightmare.

Rather than get caught out, people who are never late factor this into their plans.

If they have an important meeting downtown, they don’t catch the train that will get them there on time. They catch the one before it.

If they need to make a flight, they’d rather travel to the airport the night before and stay in a hotel.

Sometimes it may seem unnecessary, especially when everything does end up running as planned.

But for those times that it doesn’t, these people have the edge.

Because they expected the unexpected and so they didn’t get tripped up by it.

4) They do their prep

They made their lunch the night before.

They laid out the outfit they were planning to wear.

They already have all the info they need for the journey printed off.

They’ve checked the potential routes to get to their destination well ahead of time.

Preparation makes everything run more smoothly in life.

Because even though we can’t do anything about unforeseen circumstances, we can do plenty about the 1001 other little tasks that may delay us.

Being organized is the secret weapon that people who are never late fall back on.

Part of this organization is also automatizing much of their daily ‘to-do’s’ — as we’ll see next.

5) They rely on systems and routines

As we’ve just said, it’s usually efficient people who never fail to be on time.

Late people often have more unstructured and slightly chaotic schedules. That’s because they’re way more haphazard about their routines. Or they don’t have any at all.

Our routines are simply the intentional habits we create that support us.

They include everything like:

  • Going to bed and getting up at the same times every day
  • Already knowing what you will eat for certain meals
  • Doing the same essential tasks in a certain order every day

From the outside looking in, the order some people create may even seem rigid or pedantic.

But their tried and tested methods allow their schedule to tick over smoothly.

6) They set their watches a little fast

If you know you have a problem with frequently being late, this little hack may help.

Rather than setting your watch to the accurate time, add on 5 minutes or so.

It may seem silly, but it’s a mindset thing.

Yes, technically you know you’ve set it fast, but we don’t always think like that. 

So when you glance at your watch throughout the day it can still prompt you to get moving that little bit quicker.

For some people, this is surprisingly effective as one Quora user pointed out:

“Setting a watch fast tricked me into thinking it was slightly later than it actually was & that helped…This works even better if you set a wall clock ahead. For instance, the clock on my microwave is ~8 minutes fast. It’s also the only clock I can see in the morning. Most times, I’ve literally forgotten that it’s not accurate.”

7) They think about how other people feel

A lot of the habits on our list so far are very practical.

But some habits can also be the psychological ones that people with good timekeeping instill.

You may not consider the skill of empathy as being that significant when it comes to this topic.

But think of it this way:

Turning up on time is a sign of respect for other people. It means that you value their time.

You can put yourself in other people’s shoes and imagine:

How would I feel if it were me who was let down by someone else’s tardiness?

By realizing how damn irritating it can be when people show up late, and you are the one who has to wait around for them, it makes you more sensitive.

That way you want to avoid holding someone else up, so you make an extra effort to get there on time.

Personally, it’s my discomfort at the thought of being an inconvenience or disrespecting others that is one of the most motivating things for me to get my ass into gear.

8) They’re disciplined

“Sorry I’m late, I couldn’t find my keys.”

“Sorry I’m late, I bumped into a friend and got chatting.”

“Sorry I’m late, I got a bit lost on the way here.”

That’s not to say that events beyond our control don’t strike.

We’re all at the mercy of inconveniences that we have to roll with.

But they’re never a justification. Our lateness is always down to us and our own time management.

If we’re honest, rather than reasons, sometimes these are simply excuses.

We’re looking for things to blame our tardiness on, rather than taking responsibility for ourselves.

People who are never late for things hold themselves accountable and use discipline (when the rest of us let things slide).

That way they can avoid the things that will likely delay them, and stick to the things they know will support them.

9) They hone their patience

If you want to be the type of person who is never late, you’ve got to get comfortable with having spare time on your hands.

Because as we’ve seen, you can’t try to cut things fine if you care about punctuality. You’ve got to allow for ample time and space around your plans and activities.

So sometimes, you may need to end up killing some time. It might require some reframing to be okay with this idea.

What I mean is this:

If you arrive one hour early, rather than see this as a waste, see it as an opportunity.

Enjoy and embrace some quiet time alone to read, check your emails, or simply gather your thoughts.

We’ve gotten very used to living in societies where every moment is crammed full and accounted for.

So we can struggle when we have to slow down. It may feel boring or like a waste of your time at first.

But those who are always on time have developed far better tolerance and patience.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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