8 tips for getting to work on time every day

I’m one of those people who is late for everything. I just can’t be on time.

Fortunately, I work from home, so getting to work on time isn’t so much a factor for me. But if you are someone who has to get to a workplace each day, being regularly late can negatively affect your reputation and relationships with your coworkers. And if you work for an article-writer guy, it’ll also cost you a job or promotion. And really, I would like to be more punctual, because being late is rude and frowned upon.

So, I’ve eight tips I’ve gathered from here and there that should help us all be a little more punctual, skipping suggestions like “make punctuality a priority” and “change your attitude” because, yeah. Whatever. These sound good but they don’t really say anything.

I think these actionable items could actually help you be on time every day if you implement them. Let me know how it works out.

Make the bed immediately. While it might seem counterproductive to take time to make the bed, doing so actually sets things in motion, creating a domino effect to get you motivated. Also, if it’s made, you’ll be less tempted to get back in. Bonus: when you get home, your bed is made, which is nice. Could work.

Make a to-do list the night before. To-do lists have a couple of uses. First, they help you sleep better since you won’t be lying there freaking out over everything you have to do, and making lists in your head. And when you sleep better, it’s easier to get up. Second, they improve time management in general, which can help with punctuality.

Set your coffeemaker to have coffee ready when you wake up. I can’t actually do this since we use a French press. But if you need coffee to get going, and can do this, having it ready when you wake up would be helpful. Because you won’t lie there needing coffee and wishing there was some already made to help you get out of bed.

Ride a bike. Without my bike, I’d be later for everything than I already am. While some people cannot ride for reasons such as location, health, and mobility considerations, for those who can, a bike can be faster than a car in many areas. Bikes can bypass traffic, and cut through parks and side streets. Plus, it’s good exercise and better for the environment and improves traffic congestion. (Wear a helmet, be careful, and obey your local traffic laws.)

Fill your gas tank in the evening, and when it reaches ¼ tank. I don’t have a car, so this doesn’t apply to me. But to avoid getting stuck needing gas on the way to work, watch your tank and always, this guy suggests, fill it when it reaches ¼. Obviously do this on the way home, rather than the way there, or you’ll defeat the purpose.

Use a countdown timer. An interesting suggestion, also from this guy. He says “Grab a cheap digital timer, and use it to create a sense of urgency.” Set it ten minutes before you have to leave, and use the urgency to get out the door.

Keep your keys, wallet, glasses etc. in one place. How often are you late because you can’t find something? I’d say this is the cause of about 40%-50% of my lateness (and 75% of my husband’s). Keep everything you need to leave the house in one place. Always.

And finally….the most important piece of advice:

Leave earlier.  I know. Too obvious. But it would really fix everything. Here’s the thing: I am usually late because I always drastically underestimate the time it takes me to get anywhere. I think I can get anywhere in Toronto in 20 minutes. But I can’t actually get anywhere in Toronto in 20 minutes. I need to leave earlier. So do you. You might leave later for different reasons from mine, but if you leave earlier you will get places earlier. If you don’t do this one thing, you will never be on time. Do what you have to do to make it happen; change your attitude, set your clocks ahead (notice I didn’t include this because it doesn’t work for me for more than like a day before I get wise to my own tricks, but it might work for you), whatever. Figure out what you need to do to leave earlier, and do that.

And then you will be on time. If you don’t, you won’t.

Good luck. And if you have a trick for being on time, I would love to hear it.

Gotta go. I’m late.

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