Always find yourself running late?
If you’re a perpetual late person, it’s not just frustrating for people around you, but for you, too.
There’s the endless stress of feeling rushed, the guilt at keeping people waiting, and the FOMO that comes from always knowing you’ve missed the start of events.
But the good news is that there are things you can do to be more punctual.
Ahead, Sarah Romain, consumer champion of Late Space, shares her five top tips.
Get in the habit of planning your day the night before
Sarah tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Make it part of your routine to plan the night before.
‘nstead of rushing around in the morning, establish an evening routine where you reflect on the day you’ve just had and then prepare for the next day ahead.
‘Rather than waking up in a panic to realise you’ve got no clean socks or are out of milk, walk yourself through your day and plan ahead.
‘Lay out your clothes, pack your lunch, and organise the things you need the next day. Check the train times, fill your car up if you need fuel and if you have an important meeting or job interview, it may even be worth doing a run through beforehand.’
Beware of that ‘just one more thing’
Late people often have a tendency of misjudging how long it takes to do things. This can manifest as not giving yourself enough time to walk to the station (and thus missing your train), adding too many things to your to-go list, or – the classic – telling yourself you have time to do ‘just one more thing’ before you head off… when you really don’t.
‘We’ve all been guilty of this,’ says Sarah. ‘You look at the clock and realise you still have 10 minutes until you need to leave the house or join your next meeting.
‘You think, why don’t I quickly respond to this email, tidy the kitchen, give a friend a quick call or turn on the TV for some last-minute down time? But oops.. those 10 minutes flew by and the next thing you know 20 minutes has passed and you’re now running late.
‘Sometimes instead of cramming in “just one more thing”, it’s best to avoid getting distracted or carried away by another task.
‘Be firm with yourself and avoid the temptation of starting a new task when you don’t have enough time to spare.’
On that misjudging note, counteract the tendency to underestimate your timings.
‘Try to over-estimate, adding at least 25-50% more time than you think is needed,’ Sarah recommends. ‘And the longer the task or longer the travel time, the more wiggle room you have to build in – especially if it’s a task you’ve not yet encountered before.
‘Err on the side of caution even if it sounds like a breeze.’
Take into account ‘transition activities’
Sarah says: ‘Many of us forget to account for transition activities when scheduling appointments or planning our days.
‘We often give ourselves just enough time to jump from one task to another, but it’s important to account for the time in between each task if your schedule is back to back.
‘As a rule going forward, placing helpful time buffers in between plans or meetings can be a good way to ensure you’re on time and not rushing out from one event or task to the other.
‘This also buys you more time in case one meeting runs over or you encounter an unexpected event.’
Adapt your schedule
Are you just doing too many things? Or rigidly sticking to a schedule rather than adapting to a certain day or week’s changing needs and workloads?
It’s time to be more flexible and make a schedule that actually works for you.
‘Perhaps the main reason why being on time is such a struggle, is because you aren’t managing your time effectively,’ Sarah notes.
‘If you’re in need of a new manicure, haircut or dentist appointment, avoid booking them when you know you’ve got a busy week or are already juggling a number of tasks, as this will often result in last minute no shows and cancellations which could see you lose your deposit, and leave local businesses without revenue.
‘Instead, look to more flexible ways of scheduling last minute appointments when you do have free time.’
Sarah Romain is a consumer champion at LateSpace, a new app that lets people book appointments within 72 hours.
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