Lateness drives me batty. I live in a state that is notorious for lateness, it’s practically the standard here that if you say you are to be somewhere at 6:00pm, everyone translates that to “6:00-ish and heavy on the ‘ish’ “. However, if you are working with clients, going to work, showing up for meetings, or even arriving for parent/teacher conference (and they have back to back 15 minute windows scheduled with each parent, for the love be on time!!) Holy hell, this drives me nuts. But, I realize there are always reasons why someone is late (slept too long, couldn’t find keys, traffic, kids are like hurding cats, yadda yadda. I also realize that THERE IS ALWAYS A REASON, and I am not immune to these lateness obstacles, I just plan for them.
So, how can you start changing your lateness habit once and for all? Work backwards…..
Arrive at 6:00pm
5:40pm – It takes 20 minutes to drive to your location (without any traffic or problems)
5:10pm – I need 30 minutes to get myself ready (45 if washing hair)
4:55pm – I need 15 minutes to keep kids focused and be sure they are ready to get out the door
4:40pm – Add 10-15 minutes for the always unexpected traffic (Really? You were surprised there was slow traffic? Really?)
4:35pm – Add 5 minutes for that kids that always, ALWAYS, needs to poop right as we are walking out the door
4:30pm – Add 5 minutes to gather what you need – keys, notebooks, forms, shoes, sunglasses, whatever you usually scramble to find
So, the time that you stop what your doing, and start getting ready to be at your 6:00pm location? 4:30pm. Surprised? This is why you’re late. Habits take focus to change, to replace with a new habit of working backwards.
Being on time shows respect and creates so much less stress! I’m a fan of doing anything to reduce stress.
Working a backwards timeline becomes second nature when you are conscious about doing it initally. I talk through this process out loud around my kids all the time, so they know we don’t live in a world where teleporting is a real thing yet (although when it is, I’m sure lateness will still happen!) and we need to give ourselves time to be on time.
This ninja move can work for everyday events, but you can also use it to create a long term action plan. This long term version is discussed in another post, so for now, practice this now and get in the habit of being on time! You’ll thank me later.