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Tardiness: Stress you can do without

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in Office Management,Time Management

If you’re in the club of those who seem to be at least 15 minutes late for everything, you know how embarrassing and stressful it can be. But there’s hope for you to change your ways.

1. Aim to be early. Punctual people think being on time means being 10 to 15 minutes early. Start leaving home earlier than you think you need to.

2. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until morning to choose your outfit or iron your clothes; do those things the night before. Have a consistent schedule so you know exactly what you need to do before leaving the house. Feed the pets and do the dishes when you’re not in a hurry. If something is part of your routine, you can naturally work it into your schedule.

3. Formally schedule your distractions. If you find yourself commonly flipping through your phone or watching a sitcom when you should be getting ready, start scheduling 15 minutes or a half hour to do those things. But when your scheduled time is up, put the phone down or turn off the TV and get to work.

4. Figure out how much time you realistically need. Time how long it takes you to do every task, like showering, eating, doing your hair and taking the dog for a walk. Then add it up to see how much time you really need before leaving home, and add in extra minutes for unexpected items that can arise. Be realistic about your commute time as well—don’t expect a 20-minute drive to take only five minutes.

— Adapted from “How I Finally Stopped Being Late for Everything,” Karen Snyder Duke, Redbook.

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