How to Stop Being Chronically Late

One of the tell-tale signs of being a procrastinator is that you’re chronically late. Being late is stressful, it has a negative impact on your relationships, and it can harm your career and/or your business. Below you’ll find 5 steps you can take in order to make sure that you cure yourself of the habit of being late, once and for all. The advice in this post is based on the book, “Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged”, by Diana de Lonzor.

1. Address the Root Problem

Why are you chronically late? Do you tend to get distracted and caught up in what you’re doing, so that you lose track of time? Do you try to squeeze as much as you can into every possible minute, so that you’re always too busy to leave on time? Are you late as a form of control? Do you fail to adequately plan how long it takes you to drive from one appointment to the next? The first step in putting an end to your tardiness is to identify the underlying cause of it.

2. Recognize that You Have a Problem That Needs to Be Fixed

Notice the effect that your tardiness has on others and on your own life. Are your friends and loved ones constantly complaining because they have to wait for you whenever you make plans to meet? Have you been reprimanded by your boss because of your tardiness? You won’t be able to fix the problem until you stop rationalizing your tardiness, making excuses, or blaming others. You need to recognize that you have a problem, and make a commitment to take the necessary steps in order to fix it.

3. Start Keeping Track of How Long It Takes You to Complete Tasks

A lot of the time people who are chronically late have a tendency to think that they can get things done faster than they actually can.  The best way to fix this is by keeping a log and timing yourself. Knowing how long it takes you to complete different tasks will allow you to apply reverse engineer to make sure that you get to where you need to be on time.

4. Use a Timer to Monitor Yourself

Suppose that you’ve determined that it takes you forty-five minutes to get ready in the mornings, divided as follows:

  • Bathroom (shower, brushing teeth, fixing hair, and so on): twenty minutes
  • Getting Dressed: ten minutes
  • Breakfast: fifteen minutes

Keep a timer with you to make sure that you don’t run over on any of these activities.

5. Plan on Being Early

People who are punctual know that the unexpected happens, and they plan for this by aiming to be early. On the other hand, people who are chronically late naively expect that everything will go smoothly, all of the time. If your meeting with a prospective client is at 4:00 p.m., aim to be there by 3:45 p.m. Make it a habit to carry a book or magazine with you so that you have something to do while you wait for everyone else to arrive.


Like everything else in life, correcting your tendency to be late is something that you’re going to have to work on. Apply the five tips above and notice how little by little you change from someone who’s chronically late, to someone who’s known for their punctuality.

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I Recommend:

What important task or project have you been procrastinating on? Whether it’s starting a blog, writing a novel, going back to school, decluttering your home, or starting an exercise program, my ebook, “Make It Happen! A Workbook for Overcoming Procrastination and Getting the Right Things Done”, will help you get started and see the task or project through to completion.

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