Chronic latecomers underestimate — by 25 to 30 percent — how long it takes to perform tasks. Keep a log of how long it really takes you to get dressed, get to work or run an errand, and then adjust your schedule accordingly. If your morning habit of emptying the dishwasher or checking email is cutting into your commuting time, cut it out.
Question: Do you prefer to arrive after everyone else because you get antsy waiting for them to show up?
Solution: Welcome the wait.
Arrive early and consider that extra time a luxury. Read a book, check your smartphone or just gather your thoughts.
Question: If your job interview is at 10:30 a.m., or if the kids have to be picked up from school at 3:00 p.m., do you arrive right on the dot?
Solution: Plan to never be right on time.
You’re not leaving enough wiggle room for unexpected delays. Instead, make it your goal to arrive 10 minutes early to wherever you have to be. Once you’ve added in this cushion, you should rarely run behind.
Question: Do you run behind mainly with one person?
Solution: Rethink your relationships.
Time to figure out why you’re always late with this person and deal with it, says Saltz. Your lateness may be a way of saying you’re still upset with your sister over a past disagreement, or that you’re not enjoying a friend’s company as much as you once did. Once you work on the relationship — or end one that’s not working — the punctuality problem should improve.