Everyone is late from time to time, but chronic lateness is another matter. When someone is known for always being late, it may become a funny joke shared by family and friends. When that person is late for an important event, however, it might not be so amusing. In situations where it is important be prompt, showing up late can be disappointing, hurtful, and disrespectful.


Being perpetually late is a habit that can be cured. It takes some dedication and practice, but even those of us who never, ever arrive on time can learn to become punctual.​​ The following are some suggestions that can help make being on time a regular occurrence.

Aim for “early.” If you tend to be late, try setting an arrival time for yourself of about 15 minutes before you are actually expected. That way, you will probably arrive right on time. In case you end up at your destination early, bring something along to stay busy while you wait for those few minutes to pass.

Prepare in advance. Decide a day ahead on the clothes you will be wearing and items you will be bringing to the appointment/event. Take everything out of the closet or drawers so you can simply put on your outfit, grab what you need, and go. You may even want to try on your outfit ahead of time so you are confident everything fits, feels, and looks right. Place whatever you will need to bring along with you near the door so it is easy to grab on your way out. Check the weather in advance so you know what to expect. Find out if you will need to wear a raincoat and bring an umbrella, etc. 

Determine your commute time in advance. If you are driving and have never been to your destination, look up the route and travel time on the Internet. There are many map/directions websites that do all the calculations for you. If you are taking public transportation, know the schedules and familiarize yourself with the stops you will be using. It is always a good idea to give yourself a little buffer time in case of traffic or other delays. 

Tips for Being On Time

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Leave on time. The best intentions will not get you to your destination if you do not walk out the door exactly when you need to do so. It can help to set an alarm on your phone or computer to let you know when you have about 15 minutes left before you have to leave. Once you hear the alarm, finish up what you are doing and force yourself to get out the door on time.

Don’t Be Late for Another Important Date!

Be realistic about how long it really takes you to get ready. Do not be conservative. Figure out exactly how long it takes you do the things that need to be done before you walk out the door. Actually time yourself accomplishing tasks like making your bed, showering, doing your hair, putting on your clothes, feeding your cat, etc. Add everything up and incorporate that time into how long you need to prepare whenever you have an appointment.