According to a good number of people, being late comes off as rude or terrible time management. A closer look at what goes on behind the curtains, though, reveals that perpetual latecomers don’t necessarily have no regard for other people’s time but are sometimes plagued by a couple of bad habits, among other factors, that suffocates the time out of their schedules. Chronic lateness can become a big issue, resulting in problems with the hierarchy at work, missing important flights or meetings, and disappointments with the family, among a host of other problems that affect you and those in your life.

If you are among those not known for their punctuality, read on as we breakdown what might be behind your troubles and how to get over it. Change can only start with determination, and the will power to embrace the hurdles on the road to punctuality. The first step to better time management is acknowledging your faults and being ready to put in the work needed to instill a behavioral makeover of earliness.
Here’s why you’re always late

Staying up late

One last movie turns into two, one last game becomes three, and two more minutes on Facebook turn into two more hours. Like most of us, you probably have something to keep you busy during the night right before sleep, and it’s usually these hobbies that stretch out into prime sleeping hours. You can set a series of “sleep alarms” to ensure you keep track of time so that the hours don’t slip by you. Inadequate sleep means you’ll be making up for it with extensions in the morning, and waking up late consequently means you’ll be playing catch up the rest of the day. Not getting enough hours also results in exhaustion and lower productivity the next day.

Your phone is probably your biggest distraction during bedtime, so it helps to keep it away from you when you go to sleep. The same goes for your laptop and technology in general. Having a clear and detailed nighttime routine proves helpful in cultivating good sleeping habits.

Doing too much

You’re heading out for an appointment in a couple of minutes, and you think to yourself, “I can get a head start on later by doing a couple of things right now.” A crucial part of timekeeping is not trying to do too many things before an important meeting. When you think you have enough time to do the dishes right before you can pick up the kids from school, it usually turns out that you don’t. Therefore, spread out what you need to do within the day in a way that an extension in one activity doesn’t spill over into the next.

Generally, implement a schedule with ample space and time between what you need to get done. Doing too much in too little time often means you won’t give some activities your best, resulting in decreased effectiveness and efficiency. Plan out your day early, preferably the day before, and figure out what and when to do without putting yourself in a position where you have to juggle too much.


Can’t find that shirt you wanted to wear? Do your keys seemingly play hide and seek when you need them the most? When everything you need goes “missing” in the morning, it’s likely your organizational skills are not the best. Consequently, you’ll be late because you spend most of your time searching for what you need than preparing for the day ahead.

Writing things down is a great way to keep your thoughts and schedule in line as opposed to working from memory. Have a home for all your essential items that help you get ready, and cultivate a healthy habit of storing things in their proper slots. Pick out your outfit the day before, and try to simulate what you’ll need to do during a busy morning to see if you’ll miss anything. Practice makes perfect.


Procrastination is the thief of time. If you find yourself continually putting off meetings or job appointments, it may be because you’d rather be doing something else. The self-drive of getting things done goes hand in hand with your motivation. When the latter is lacking, you’ll not be to eager to get to that meeting, or do what you need to, hence the lateness. Cut off that part of your life that you don’t want to deal with if you can.

Alternatively, the “later” mentality may be deep-rooted into your psyche that your answer to everything is “some other time.” When you can get things done right away without infringing on important stuff, then do so. Setting reminders on your phone is a helpful way to give yourself that push.

We hope our list has pointed out the source of your lateness frustrations. Before you can deal with the problem, you need to know what’s causing it first. After that, the drive for change should come from within. There may be a couple of slips and falls along the way, and you may need someone to keep you accountable when motivation fails. It may take some time to get the hang of punctuality, but it will get easier with time and persistence.

Author's Bio: 

Owner/Founder Life Purpose Institute
Life Coach Certification & Career Coach Certification

Fern Gorin was one of the first to pioneer the Life Coach Training field, starting her company in 1984. Life coaches trained by Fern's company, have helped over 1 million people worldwide. Graduates of the Life Purpose Institute ICF accredited program, go through a life-changing process intended to not only teach practical ways to help people through life changes but to also transform lives.