Ask LH: How Can I Fix My Chronic Lateness?

Ask LH: How Can I Fix My Chronic Lateness?

Dear Lifehacker, I’m one of those chronically tardy people. Wherever I’m going, even if I’m just meeting my friends, I’m always 10 of 15 minutes late — and it’s starting to irritate people. Got any suggestions for how I can avoid all these distractions and be more punctual?Sincerely, Late Larry

Photo by Jeff Lueders.

Dear Larry,

I certainly understand your friends’ annoyance (we all have that one friend who’s always late), but it’s good that you’re determined to fix it. In fact, there are a lot of little tricks you can pull on yourself to get out the door quicker. Here are a few of our favourites.

Figure Out Why You’re Late

learn your way around town a little better

Keep Yourself On Track With Reminders And Alarms

previously mentionedGoTime

If you take a little more prying, you can automatically shut down your computer with something like previously mentioned Smart Shutdown or iWannaSleep. Just tell it what time you need to leave, and it’ll shut down your computer at that time, so you have no choice but to drag yourself away from Facebook to go and get ready.

Always Plan To Be Early

Photo by Lauren Hammond

Enlist Your Friends To Help

Lastly, if none of these tips are really working, you can get your friends to help motivate you. They already probably heckle you for being late all the time, but if you ask them to be a little more evil and go radio silent, it might inspire you to move a little faster. Alternatively, you can set up a system where every time you’re late, you pay for one of your friends’ dinners, or something to that effect. After one or two more trips, you’ll probably never be late again.


P.S. Of course, these are just a few of our favourite tips, but if you’ve got your own solutions, be sure to share them with us in the comments.

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  • “Always Plan To Be Early” – This is the best one. I always plan to be at least 15 mins early, that way if something happens along the way outside my control, I am generally still on time or if late then not too late. It also means that when you call in to work or whatever and say you will be late, it is easy to verify that you would have been early had it not been for the unforseen circumstance. On top of that, if you get into the habit of being early, then people will come to expect you as always arriving early, so that on that fateful day when you are late, it won’t be such a big deal in their eyes.

  • When I am late, it is almost always because I underestimate how long it takes to get where I need to be. So I try to always add a 50% buffer to travel times when deciding when I need to leave, whether riding, driving or taking public transport.

    One thing that does NOT work is setting your clock/watch forward. In fact, it has the opposite effect because you always think you have time up your sleeve when you don’t.

  • ha. I’m on time if I’m awake, but if you have to wake me up to get there.. eg work. Fat chance! Early nights, multiple alarms, nothing seems to tell my brain to get out of foggy sleep mode. Yet a sleep test showed I have an excellent sleep pattern and no problems with oxygen etc

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