Time Management Tips: How Not To Be Late


Stay on schedule by working backwards and applying these techniques, and you’ll unlock the key to how not to be late.

We all hate latecomers. In the same breath that we should not come in late whether at work or social event. Being on time means you value other people’s time. But when a lot of factors can hinder us from making it on schedule, such as the traffic, weather and an unforeseen circumstance, how to do you ensure you come on time?

If you’re getting ready for an event, the best way to make sure you get there on time is to work backwards. For example, if you need to be at a cocktail party at 8 PM and getting there will take you 20 minutes, you’ll have to leave at 7:40. What’s more, if you’re the type of person who takes an hour to get all dressed up, you need to start getting into your black-and-white attire by 6:40. Since it’s an important night, you want to smell good and impress your friends and guests, won’t you? So if it takes you 20 minutes to shower, that means you need to get ready by 6:20. Right?

NOT SO FAST. Here’s why…

You need to beat Murphy’s Law

If you’re familiar with Murphy’s law, you know that “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” And that no matter how much planning you put into an event, something unexpected like a sudden drizzle or a flat tire is bound to come up—and it can screw up your plans big time.

So what do you do?

The secret is in the padding

Rather than getting all tense and rattled on the big night (or whatever that special event happens to be), why not plan for the unexpected by padding your schedule?

You do this by planning ahead of time when you need to go. If the event begins at 8 PM and you plan to be on the road by 7:40, adjust your schedule by 20 minutes backwards and make sure you’re all set by 7:20. This way, you’re up for whatever delay comes up: like a lost tie or road traffic.

By being 20 minutes early, you have extra time to iron things out. By planning backwards and getting your mind psyched up for that “ready to go” time, you agree that being ready to go is important to you and something that shouldn’t be negotiable.

By setting your “ready to go” time earlier, you don’t have to panic when something unexpected comes up, because you have extra time to deal with it.

Make it a habit

Aside from planning and padding up time backwards, make it a habit to break down your activities to prepare for an event or everyday activity.

In our cocktail party for example, what do you usually do to prepare? List the small and big preparations in sequence. For example, have the tuxedo dry-cleaned two days before. Next, get a salon grooming three hours before. Then tuck in the invite in your wallet or tuxedo and so on. By making a list of your activities in sequence, you are subconsciously training your mind to follow a routine. Besides, by breaking down your activities into sequence of little actions, you can clearly see how far ahead or behind you are in time.

Do the same habit listing for everyday events like going to work. Break down your little activities and follow the routine until following the sequence becomes a habit.

Identify “time sinkholes”

There’s always that daily habit that eats up much time than what is necessary. Is it checking your emails? Browsing through Facebook? Sipping coffee in the garden every morning while you let your mind wander to reminisce? Maybe it’s the extra snooze when the alarm sets in. Identify which daily activity you can drop out of your schedule and you’ll save time for the more important things.

Organize little things

We don’t mean everything is neatly packed in or laid out. Being organized means you place things where you will know where you’ve placed them. It takes less time to look for them. How many minutes, even hours, are wasted by just looking for the remote control or car key? Organizing the little things into separate but properly labeled boxes makes it easy to retrieve them in an almost auto-mode, that is, even while you’re thinking of something else your hand can pick up the car key.

Fake it

I know we discouraged you from using a fake time, but it can work when simulated properly. The key is to adjust all your clocks and watches in sync. That way, you will almost always be looking at time in advance. Make sure to adjust, too, the time in your computer, tablet and mobile phone. The only caveat in practicing fake time is arriving ahead of every one else. If you’re a busy person, you may be giving out precious time to the other party.

By applying these small but easy tips, you’re more likely to come on time. And the good thing is, if you get to the event early, you have more than enough time to get a drink and enjoy yourself because, after all, it’s a night to party, and it’s something you shouldn’t be late for!



Nestor Gilbert

By Nestor Gilbert

Nestor Gilbert is a senior B2B and SaaS analyst and a core contributor at FinancesOnline for over 5 years. With his experience in software development and extensive knowledge of SaaS management, he writes mostly about emerging B2B technologies and their impact on the current business landscape. However, he also provides in-depth reviews on a wide range of software solutions to help businesses find suitable options for them. Through his work, he aims to help companies develop a more tech-forward approach to their operations and overcome their SaaS-related challenges.

Jay McInnes, a Vanvouver Realtor says:

This is a great article. Identifying “time sinkholes” is a good idea. So many times we “need to check our emails” but then find ourselves wandering to Facebook or simply searching different things. A good way to break this habit is to give yourself ‘surfing time’ and have that be a break you give yourself and a type of reward for staying on schedule with everything else. Also giving yourself down time and making sure that you don’t try to over book your day can be a real help.

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