In order to talk about being late, I must first talk about Magical Thinking. A version of Magical Thinking often has to do with time.

It is Monday morning and you are running an hour behind on your appointments and task list. Magical Thinking dictates that you will catch up and accomplish everything you planned for that day without making any adjustments to your schedule or task list and still end up on time to your last meeting or appointment.

In reality when we have been unrealistic how long things take to get done, we get behind on our plan for the day. Just hoping it will work out anyway. Magical Thinking.

Instead we need to be constantly re-evaluating our time throughout our day. If I am running late by an hour then I need to find a way to either remove the equivalent of an hour worth of task(s) from my list or re-schedule an appointment that equals at least the value of one hour.

For many, this is hard to do. We prefer to think that if we just push a little harder everything will work out. And actually it may but it may not. What this can translate into is being late on projects and/or appointments. The results being that we can cause someone to have to wait for us.

Now here is the kicker, we consciously or unconsciously prefer that someone waits for us rather than “waste our time” being early and waiting on them. Try to avoid this scenario using the following time management tips:

• Look at your calendar the night before to figure out how you want the next day to play out.
• Look at your calendar in the morning to make sure you know what you have to do that day.
• If you are nervous about missing an appointment, set your phone alarm to remind you when you need to leave for the appointment.
• Keep your bag packed and near the door so you can grab it and go. This means if you remove something from your bag while at home, you must be sure to put it back in the bag as soon as possible.
• Estimate how long it will take to get you somewhere based on the longest time it has ever taken rather than the shortest time it has ever taken.
• Make sure to budget enough time for you to get out the door.
• Always have something with you to do so if you are early you can use that time productively.
• If you do end up being late, apologize briefly and move on. Don’t waste someone’s time going through all the in’s and out’s of why you were late. Most don’t care and you are just wasting more of their time.