If you’re never on time, you could be suffering from chronic lateness – especially if you’ve already tried everything you can think of to avoid it.
Time is precious to highly effective people. If you don’t arrive punctually, however, this harms your relationships and career. Your friends may have forgiven you for showing up late to drinks but remember that time when you were a bridesmaid, and you barely made it to the wedding reception? Being late isn’t only disruptive, but it can also affect your mood and how you behave when you do show up. Always having to explain why you’re late soon gets old. But what if you genuinely have no sense of time, and no matter how hard you try you’re always late? Could there be an underlying reason?
Here, keynote speaker, corporate trainer and change consultant Bronwyn Crawford unpacks the reasons you’re punctually challenged and advises how to manage your time more effectively.
Underlying issUes that lead to chronic lateness
Chronic lateness is a habitual behaviour pattern. You need to question which factors are creating or contributing to it. Stress, in today’s society, is a common cause. We’re pressured to produce more, in a shorter time frame, and external factors add further pressure. As a society, we’re not good at removing distractions from our environment, whether that’s noise in an open-plan office, or social media and the need to be in the know and be connected at all times.
The effects of chronic lateness
Although people who suffer from chronic lateness behave in different ways, there are common consequences of their actions, such as added stress and pressure, which can have an enormous impact on health and wellbeing. The emotional rollercoaster of guilt, judgement and feeling undervalued, are examples.
Showing Up on time improves your trust rating
It can also result in the breakdown of professional and personal relationships. Being punctual says you respect yourself and others, and that you can manage yourself and your resources, all of which are qualities business owners and senior managers seek in employees. If your boss doesn’t have to micro-manage you, they can focus on their own tasks. Remember: you were hired to add value. Showing up on time affirms you’re the right fit for the job. People also value these qualities in a life partner.
The link between time and money
I believe time and money are directly related. If you value your time by protecting it and making wise use of it, chances are you’re good at managing your finances. When you’re under pressure, rushing to make decisions about a matter you haven’t given yourself enough time to consider, this can lead you to make less-than-ideal decisions. The same goes for how you spend our money. You should treat both your hard- earned cash and yourself better.
Learn to manage your schedule:
An abundance of tools are available to help you manage your time more effectively. Bronwyn uses a calendar to note her commitments, including important dates and reminders. “I schedule breaks to drink a glass of water, eat a snack and stretch my legs,” she says. Identifying what you’re struggling with will help you find a system that works best for you. “Ask yourself: are you over-committing or being unrealistic about the amount of time a particular task takes to complete? how are you organising your to-do list? Are you grouping administrative tasks, and then moving on to something else?”
Look at your workspace. Could you be more productive if you removed distractions that cause you to procrastinate? “Turn off email notifications and shut down social media sites. Delegate some tasks to others who either enjoy them or are better equipped to fulfil them.” once you’ve identified your problem areas, decide on a plan of action.
Top tips to help you manage your time:
- Use your calendar or mobile phone to set reminders and/or alarms, to ensure you get to where you need to be, on time.
- Allow ample time in case you’re delayed by external influencers, such as traffic, accidents, taking a wrong turn or systems crashes.
- Practice saying “no”. You can’t take on every task other people ask you to perform. You need to know when you’re about to overcommit. In doing so, your output is better, and your colleagues have a good impression of you.