How To Improve Your Time Management Skills If You're Eternally Late

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Time can be your best friend or your worst enemy. For those falling in the latter group, it may be wise to make peace with time and learn some time management tips. I truly admire those people who have timekeeping down to a fine art. These are the folks who manage to fit in some form of exercise, a healthy breakfast, lunch prep, a dog walk, and a spot of meditation all before they head out to work.

They have everything under control and may suffer from less anxiety because of their morning routine. It's no wonder punctual people look so calm. On the other side of the scale you have the people who suffer with timekeeping and are the royalty of procrastination. It may appear that these eternally late folks are chilled out about life and that they possess little to no sense of urgency. They may also come across as a little selfish, because by being late, they are consistently making people wait for them, which forces others to come into line with their schedule. However, as someone who is working on their time management skills — I can't speak for all late people — I estimate that being late makes me feel equally as stressed as punctual people feel when someone else is running late.

Late people — let us unite and show that we are considerate humans too, by improving our time management skills!

1. Pre-Plan

Planning my schedule has helped me no end. In order to maximize your planning strategy, you might want to take advantage of to-do lists and a really useful planner or journal. Of course, you shouldn't be planning for planning's sake and creating unnecessary to-do lists if you feel like they won't help you. My strategy involves planning out my day (or preferably week) ahead of time, so I know exactly what I'm doing, where I'm supposed to be going, and who I'm meant to be meeting.

I recently purchased a planner from Personal Planner which allowed me to completely customize my own design. Something which I thought was really useful, is that there is an hourly breakdown of each day, which splits the day into manageable bite size pieces, so I can plan my time more efficiently. Erin Condren, who designs planners, offers a similar hourly journal that also helps you to break down your days into more manageable chunks. When you sit down at your desk in a morning, with your plan for the day all laid out and completed the night before, you're sure to save time and feel more in control of the day ahead.

2. Force Yourself To Get Out Of Bed

Dragging yourself out of bed is hard on the best of days and the temptation to snooze is difficult to resist. But did you know that snoozing isn't good for your sleep cycle? Fellow Bustler Alanna Greco reported, "...hitting snooze in the morning is bad for your sleep cycle and can have negative effects on your daily productivity, experts say." Pressing the snooze button may not start your day off on the right foot, so as soon as your alarm goes off, practise getting out of bed straight away so that your day begins the right way.

3. Remember The Mantra

Bustle writer Emma Lord spoke of her experiences as a punctual person and the mantra that helps keep her on time. She said, "My high school choir teacher's words have been basically tattooed on the inside of my brain: 'To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to be rude.'" Basically, in order to be polite and considerate of others, it's always best to be early.

4. Set Your Clocks Forward

In order to stick to the previously mentioned mantra on time keeping, a way to ease yourself into this way of thinking (and to generally improve your lateness) is to set your clocks forward. Depending on how bad your ability to be on time has gotten, you may need to set your clocks forward five minutes, 15 minutes, or even 30 minutes. This way you should always be earlier, or at least on time, for everything. Just try to forget that you set your clocks forward in the first place, otherwise it could get confusing.

5. Do The Worst Thing First

There's a lot to be said about doing the worst thing first on your list. By that, I mean completing the activity on your to-do list that you are dreading, first. This could be going to the gym, cleaning, errands, or anything that seems less appealing than all of the other things on your list. In an article about working smarter not harder, BuzzFeed said, "People often suggest that you start your day by doing the easy tasks, but that often leaves you tackling the hardest tasks when your energy is sapped. Instead, 'Eat that frog!' (aka do the most difficult tasks first)." So although it may not seem very appetizing, it sounds like a good idea to swallow that frog whole, so you're not left with a procrastinating frog in your throat.

6. Set Alarms Throughout The Day

Transforming yourself into a punctual person won't happen overnight and you'll need to take baby steps. Remember, don't be too hard on yourself throughout the process. After all, you're only human. In order to hit my daily deadlines throughout the day I used to set alarms for myself, so that I knew when certain deadlines needed to be met. This is a great idea for people who find it difficult to grasp the concept of time. Gradually, I started to self-manage my time without the need of my alarms, although occasionally I will still use them. You can use your smartphone, computer, or a watch to set your daily alarms which should keep you on track.

7. Give Yourself Small Rewards

Especially at the beginning of this life change, you're probably going to need an incentive to stick at it. Rewarding yourself for keeping to a schedule, being early to meet a friend, or meeting your deadlines well within your time frames, will all help to keep you motivated. You don't need to spend a lot of money to reward yourself either. There are lots of cheap reward ideas you can utilize, like taking a 15 minute break out of your schedule to read a book and have a lovely coffee, calling your friend, or spending some time playing with your pet.

IMO, the best bits about becoming a more timely human are: you will have time to be able to do more of what makes you happy and show that you are a reliable and considerate person. Take control of your life and become BFFs with time.

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