First you check your watch. You are tempted to cuss out loud but you know better. You check your watch once more. Anxiety. A series of excuses run through your head like a film. What explanation do you have this time? The traffic? That’s not news. How about the conductor who decided to pick up every damn passenger on the way? Or the fact that all the traffic lights seemed to be on red today? That’s definitely a worthy excuse. More anxiety, anger, then guilt. Let’s face the facts, you are late. And your excuse, no matter how plausible, won’t change it.

You are late. And your excuse, no matter how plausible, won’t change it.

If you’ve been as less punctual as I have been then you probably understand this emotion process. Yet you still find yourself on the wrong side of punctuality a little more often than you desire. Welcome to the late loop; oh wait, you were already in it.

Punctuality is a game changer in both personal and professional lives. It determines whether or not one will secure a position, win a contract, get a good grade or perhaps start a relationship. Maintaining punctuality not only assures the people that you are dependable, it indicates self-mastery and reinforces self-confidence. Being punctual in showing up, meeting obligations and completing a task is often used to gauge how trustworthy and reliable an individual is. Nevertheless, keeping time is still a struggle for most of us. What shall we do then?

Time your tasks.

One of the major reasons we fail to keep time is underestimating the time it takes to complete tasks. For example, assuming it takes 20 minutes to get ready when it takes longer than that will probably make you late for your first task of the day. Take a week or two to time recurrent activities like taking a shower or ironing clothes. This will help you make informed decisions on how you need to readjust sleep and waking schedules to allow you take tend to important recurrent activities without jeopardizing the rest of the day.

Have a schedule. 

Try listing all the things you need to do against when you need to do them. While most of us have a habit of scheduling important tasks and appointments only, it is important to include all your activities in a schedule. According to the Huffington post, maintaining a schedule not only gives your clarity of what you expect from your day, therefore saving you the fluff time you waste transitioning from a task to another.

Prepare to be punctual.

Now that you have a schedule, take time to understand what you need for the tasks. Make sure you have everything in place to allow you to complete tasks on time by making a list of the things you need and getting them prior to the event. For instance, planning what you’ll wear tomorrow will save you the time to decide your outfit. Moreover, having breakfast ready made in the refrigerator will allow you to save time trying to make breakfast in the morning.

Have enough cushion time. 

Things don’t always work out the way we want them to. Cars break down, traffic jams happen, we get rained on, we have bad hair days…you know what I mean. Make sure you have extra time, just in case.

Cheers.