Are you the first on the scene at a party or do you arrive fashionably late?

If you intentionally make a late entry at a party it could be seen as a dramatic entrance. If you arrive late because you couldn’t find your shoes, car keys, the address to the party or you forgot what time it started… you might need help organizing your life . Do you complete your assignments ahead of the due date or do you procrastinate because you “work better under pressure”? It’s less likely that you actually work better under pressure and more likely that you are addicted to the adrenaline rush that happens under stress. Over time that state of heightened alertness can negatively impact your health.

Let’s talk about time management.

Regardless of your answers above, you should be in charge of your time and not the other way around. Often when your life is unorganized it can manifest as lateness. When you are struggling to manage your time, everything can feel overwhelming and the added pressure can wreak havoc with your emotions. It can cause stress in your relationships and in your job. You may be seen as someone who can’t be depended on.

There are some simple strategies that can help you manage your time and with a little preparation you can become the most dependable person in your circle.

First of all, let’s try to identify your reasons for being late or procrastinating.

  • Are you not a morning person?
  • Do you enjoy the adrenaline rush from cutting it close?
  • Are your possessions disorganized?
  • Are you easily distracted?
  • Do you suffer from decision paralysis?
  • Do you just not notice the passage of time?
  • Are you over-committed or over-scheduled ?

If you are late getting to work in the morning because you’re not a morning person, you can help your mornings run smoother by making as many decisions as you can the night before. Set out your outfit. Plan your breakfast ahead of time. Make a little extra at dinner and pack it away for tomorrow’s lunch.

If you have trouble deciding what to wear, consider creating a capsule wardrobe to limit your options and allow for simpler choices.  If you are disorganized, set out your clothes, put your keys next to your phone and charge your phone overnight. Put everything in one easy to find location. Check the weather the night before so you can set out the necessary outerwear. This will prevent delays when you have a fuzzy brain in the morning.

If you have trouble estimating how long tasks take, try this activity. On a day when you don’t need to rush, take a timer and record how long it takes you to shower, get ready, eat breakfast, and any other tasks you normally do. Use this to plan your morning by allowing yourself enough time to get out the door on time. Time how long it takes you to get to work and then add 5-10 min of padding in case of traffic or unforeseen circumstances.

If you lose track of time easily, try setting multiple alarms with different ringtones that give you a 1 hour, 10 min, and a 1 min warning before you need to leave so that you can refocus your thoughts. If you know you need to leave at a certain time, stay focused, don’t start a project that you can’t finish or that may cause you to lose track of time. Alarms can also help with completing tasks.

If you find yourself arriving late to appointments because you don’t like to wait around, try thinking of that time differently. Instead of thinking of it as wasted time, consider it BONUS time! Put that waiting room time to good use by catching up on the news, checking emails, listening to a podcast, journaling your thoughts, reading a book, meditating or sketching.

If you have over-scheduled your life, take a good look at your calendar commitments and see if there are any unnecessary events that can be cancelled. It can be tempting to want to do everything for fear of missing out. However, being more intentional with how you spend your time can be more rewarding and satisfying in the long run.

A little advanced preparation can help you reduce stress, become more responsible, become a better employee and be more intentional with your time. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried any of these strategies!