Sometimes the alarm clock is just too rude and tries to wake you up before you’re ready. Other times there’s an outside force — a child, a pet, a partner, weather, traffic, you name it — standing in the way of you getting to work on time.
If you’re late on occasion, it’s likely something your manager will let slide. But if it happens all the time, it might be a problem you need to address. Luckily there are ways to solve it! It might take a little practice and a little creative thinking, but you, too, can be one of those people who arrives on time for work.
- Be honest with yourself. If you were the friend who was always late in high school, college or even just out to dinner, the truth is, it stopped being cute or quirky or funny a long time ago. Being consistently late is frustrating for the people who count on you, or or are waiting for you. They’re able to be where they need to be on time; why can’t you? It can come across as rude and selfish if “the late one” is part of your personality. It suggests to people that your time is more important than theirs, that you don’t consider the meeting or event important enough to try and arrive when requested. If it hurts your feelings to think that your friends see you that way, it might also sting to think your coworkers think the same.
- Get your clothes and lunch together the night before. Before you go to sleep, take a few minutes and pull together what you want to wear for work the next day. It’s better to find out early whether something has a stain on it and needs to be washed rather than when you’re already running late. The same goes for the food you take to work — whether it’s snacks, breakfast, lunch or some combination thereof, if you take a few minutes the night before to get everything ready and packaged up, all you need to do in the morning is grab and go!
- Get gas on the way home. If you notice the tank is running low, don’t tell yourself you’ll stop in the morning. That just adds more time to your morning rush that you probably don’t have to spare. The same goes for any errands that you think you can tick off your list on the way to work. If you’re habitually late, use the time at the end of your day, not the beginning, to get things done.
- Establish a morning routine. Practice, practice, practice! Figure out where you lose time in the morning and find workarounds for it. If you get distracted checking social media, put your phone immediately into your purse, bag, backpack, briefcase, etc., when it has served its purpose as an alarm clock. If you know you need to get someone else ready for their day, make sure they have a schedule as well and that you both work together to stick to it. (If you need to create a reward or incentive program to keep them, and you, on track, do it!) Write down the order of your morning steps as a schedule, working backward from when you need to leave in order to arrive at work on time, and stick with it until it becomes second nature.
- Give yourself a cushion. If it takes you 20 minutes to get to work, leave 30 minutes before you need to be there. If it takes you 45 minutes to get ready to go, start your morning routine an hour before you have to leave. If you have a meeting in five minutes, shut out and ignore any distractions starting 10 minutes prior. Give yourself room to breathe and for life to happen without running late. If you arrive early, congratulate yourself on your progress! Then take a minute to look out the window, chat with a coworker or write yourself a note on what items you need to address when you’re back.
Being punctual is a sign of respect. It’s respectful to your boss, your colleagues, your friends and yourself to be on time and not keep them waiting. Be prepared for some teasing as you make changes and start to arrive on time or early, but know that it’s coming from a place of pleasant surprise and support. You can do it!
If you find yourself running late because you’ve lost interest in your job and just don’t care to impress anyone any more, it’s time to look for something new. Contact Davis Staffing! We’re always looking for great candidates to fill open positions for our clients; take a look at what we have available now and then call us to get started.