Everyone runs late at some point, even me: a professional organiser. However, some people are chronically late.

I like being on time and I hate being left to wait. I’m not talking a few minutes, but maybe 15 minutes, half an hour or even longer. But, hey, I’m Swiss born and bred, and maybe there is something in my genes regarding why I find punctuality important.

If you struggle with punctuality, here are a few strategies that I personally use to be on time:

Use buffer time in your planning – you know that it takes you 35 minutes to drive to work. Don’t assume it will take you exactly that long to get there. Rather, leave home a bit earlier and allow for unforseen events such as traffic jams or delayed trains.

Hone your time estimating skills – one of the keys of good time management is often forgotten: estimating how long a task takes!

When you plan your day or week, think about how long each task takes. Actually, each of your to-dos should include a time estimate. Start by tracking your time for a week or two and find out how long everything takes. Often, we underestimate how long tasks take.

Estimating time lets you be much more realistic and less stressed. You will actually be able to tick off your to-dos at the end of the day, as opposed to being frustrated because you only managed to do a third of it all.

Stop the ‘one more task syndrome’ – you are supposed to leave your office in 5 minutes to go to a meeting but you can’t resist the urge to write just one more email … and now you’re running late! Sounds familiar? I certainly struggle with this ‘syndrome.’ To stop doing so takes some discipline and an alarm. Set one alarm 10 minutes before you need to leave. This will give you the opportunity to wrap up whatever you’re doing. When the second alarm goes off 5 minutes later, you will put your things away or turn off what needs turning off and just leave. Sound crass? Maybe so, but after a while you will have formed a new habit and it will become easier.

Don’t feel like being early is going to be a waste of time. Yes, it is considered impolite in our culture, just as much as being late. So, have something to read with you at all times or just enjoy a few minutes to relax while you wait.

Do you have any tips to add that work for you? Please share in the comments below.

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  • these are great tips. i like the idea about the two alarms


  • Some really great tips. I am always late as I start to panic when I am early. I should work on this


  • some good advice there, thanks for sharing


  • Fantastic tips! I’m always running late so these will be very helpful. I definitely have “one more task syndrome” haha!


  • Im way to OCD about time to ever run late.
    I always allow an extra half hour and would rather sit and read at my destination then be late.


  • I have all clocks in the house 10 min fast

    • Yes, mine are 5 minutes fast. Thing is, because I of course know this, it doesn’t always do the trick.


  • The best reward for being early is not getting stressed.


  • My tip for arriving early is buying a coffee. Running early, means a reward of a coffee. Running late, means no time to buy coffee. It really does work. :)


  • I know a lady who always aims to be at work 15 minutes + before her starting time. A few weeks ago she couldn’t see any reason for the delay but it took an hour longer than usual for her to get to work.


  • I agree being early is better than being late and it’s rude to be late regardless!


  • I would add “wake up earlier in the morning”. Even just 15 minutes really makes the difference!

    • Absolutely agree! It can make a huge difference.


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