3 Ways to Keep From Being Late for Work

You know the drill. Layout your clothes the evening before, make sure the kids are prepared and set the alarm. It’s so routine you can do it in your sleep.

Sleep. Yes, the quiet dreamy state that begs for just 5-minutes even as the alarm clock blares in the background.

You’re late for work again.

Stressed. Angry. Hungry.

As you walk into the office the boss waves a pink slip in your face berating your tardiness. You feel like you’re in elementary school. Barely able to see above the counter the attendance clerk asks “Why are you late this time?” Excuses flash through your mind. Will it be a flat tire, a lost shoe, traffic, or an accident?


If you’re chronically late no matter how early you set the alarm, you’re not alone. Studies show that more than 40% of people underestimate how long it takes to complete tasks.

So, your morning routine plus the daily commute and your over-optimistic outlook drive your lateness. The cure is to track your time. It’s a pain. Another task for the daily to-do list. But, it will be worth it.

3 Ways to Keep From Being Late for Work

1. Time Yourself

With your smartphone in hand, wipe the sleep from your eyes, and start the stopwatch. How long does it actually take you to get ready in the morning? How about dressing the kids? Making breakfast?

Logging the actual time it takes you to complete a task allows you to add a buffer.

2. Do Less

Eliminate things from your daily routine. Do you really need to curl your hair every morning? Try putting your hair up in a bun. Checking Facebook in the morning seems like a good thing but how much time do you really spending scrolling your feed? Wait until your coffee break to catch up on the latest gossip and news.

3. Wake Up Now

When you’re alarm goes off, wake up. Don’t hit the snooze button. Better, put your alarm on the opposite side of the room. Still better, set three alarms and place them throughout the room. Okay, you don’t have to go that far. Just wake up at the sound of the alarm. This way there isn’t an inner battle going on before you get out of bed.

Remember tracking how long things actually take? Did you time how long it takes to get out of bed after the alarm goes off for the first time? Sometimes it’s 15 – 30 minutes of inner dialogue before you toss the covers off and step onto the floor.

Here’s a tip. Use the 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins to catapult you out of bed. Seriously, she imagined the Space Shuttle countdown to get herself out of bed. How? When you hear the alarm, count 5-4-3-2-1 and before the excuses start, get up.

Without the inner battle, you can focus on arriving early. Early enough to walk past your boss with a big smile on your face, coffee in one hand and a warm rainbow bagel in the other.

Being late for work is frustrating. Transform this habit by tracking the time it takes to complete a task. Once you know how long things actually take you, eliminate things like Facebook scrolling. Finally, use the 5-Second Rule to stop the mind chatter.

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