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How to Be on Time to Work or School Everyday

I am a property manager in Little Rock, Arkansas. I enjoy writing about various topics that I think may be helpful to others.


Does it feel like you are ALWAYS late? Are you worried that it will eventually catch up to you and you'll get in trouble? The good news is that you can change your late behavior. It's all about altering your habits so that you will wake up earlier and get out of the house faster. I am going to give you a lot of suggestions to help you make it to work or school on time. You may not need to use all of my ideas, but if you actually want to ensure that you get to where you need to go on time, I suggest you try most of them out and see what works for you.

“Beginning of a great day begins a night before.”

— Sukant Ratnakar

The Night Before

The night before is as important if not MORE important than the day you have to be at work or school. If you are constantly late, it's usually because you overslept, are unprepared, or forgetful. All of these behaviors can be changed into more positive habits that will ensure punctuality.

Have Your Outfit Ready

Whether you are going to school or your job, your attire is certainly very important. When you're running late, a lot of times "looking good" is the first thing you sacrifice. You put on the dirty clothes because you forgot to do laundry, you run around looking for your shoes or jewelry, or maybe don't know where your purse or backpack is. When it comes to getting dressed in the morning, make sure you remember these tips:

  • Make sure your laundry is done well before bed time. A lot of times I'll wake up in the morning and realize that I never put the clothes in the dryer. Sometimes my clothes are dry but they're all balled up in the dryer or laundry basket and it's hard to find what I'm looking for. Do your laundry regularly and don't wait until the last minute. Make sure your clothes are put away where you can easily find them.
  • Decide what you're going to wear the night before. I know that seems like such an easy task that it couldn't possibly affect you being late but it does. In the morning you're groggy and not thinking clearly. You might have had an idea in mind but now realized you can't find something or something doesn't find. Find the outfit you are going to wear.
  • Keep your outfit that you've chosen sitting out so that in the morning you've got your shoes, shirt, pants, etc., all together and ready to go.

Shower the Night Before

If you typically shower in the mornings, try and start doing it the night before. This will save you so much time and you'd actually get to sleep in a little longer. Think of how much time you'll save if in the morning you don't have to shave, wash your hair, or completely style your hair. A lot of that can be done before bedtime so all you'll have to do in the morning is a little touch-up.

“If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late.”

— Lik Hock Yap Ivan

Meal Prep

If you are constantly late, you probably don't have time to grab breakfast or make your lunch. You can purchase meal prep organizer containers on Amazon so that you can meal prep the night before. The ones I purchased on Amazon are from the brand Chef in a Box. They are only $11.99 and it comes with 7. These containers are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe. In each container, you could put fruit, veggies, snack bars, chicken, rice, whatever you want. This way you can have breakfast on the go and have lunch already prepared as well.


Fill Up Your Tank

How many times have you already been running late and then you realize you're about to run out of gas? That has happened to me more than I would like to admit. Usually the day before, I will convince myself that I will wake up earlier to go and fill up but if you're someone who is constantly late, the chances of waking up earlier are pretty slim. Make it a habit to pay attention to how much gas you have before you get home for the night. If you're low, it's better to fill up the night before.

Set Your Alarm

This is an obvious tip. Of course you're going to have your alarm set, but here are a couple more ideas to ensure that you get up.

  • Have an alarm set on the other side of the room. That way when it goes off, you have to actually get out of bed to turn it off. Once you're out of bed, you're way more likely to start getting ready instead of going back to sleep.
  • Download a calculator alarm on your phone. If you haven't heard of it, they're pretty nifty. You should be able to find it in your apps store. Basically, whenever your alarm goes off, you are given a math problem. It won't go off until you solve it. Try downloading Alarmy.
  • Download a camera alarm. This is another great alarm to have. The app will have you take a picture of something in your house (preferably something in a different room that you are sleeping in). The alarm will go off once you go to that part of the house and take the exact picture. The Alarmy app also has this option.
  • Change your alarm sound. If you have had the same alarm notification for a long time, try changing it to something else. A new sound will be more likely to wake you up than one you hear all the time.
  • If you're normally only ever late by about 5 minutes, try and set your alarm for about 30 minutes earlier. If you're normally 20 minutes late or more, set your alarm for an hour earlier. You might not have to always set it for that much earlier but until you're able to develop better morning habits, try and start your day earlier.

The Day Of

So now that you've woken up early, got your outfit picked out, and breakfast ready, you have a real good chance of being on time. Here are some more ideas to trim off time when getting ready in the morning.

Less Makeup

If you are in a huge hurry and do not have time for full makeup, I recommend just using concealer, mascara, and a tinted balm or gloss. It's amazing how much those three items can make you look so much better and it only would take you a couple of minutes.

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Another suggestion would be to have a small makeup bag that you keep in your car or at your work. This way you can add makeup later at lunch or on a break if needed.

Skip the Social Media

According to a recent report from IDC Research, 80% of smartphone users check their social media before getting out of bed. That means people are checking their Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Email, Tinder, etc.. When you're looking at these things, it's incredibly easy to lose track of time. Try not checking your social media until after you have gotten completely ready and only if you have the time too. Because social media has become so important for so many people, deciding to wait to open your phone will most likely create a sense of urgency and you will be more likely to get ready faster.


Caffeine on the Go

If you are like me, caffeine is so important. I can't live without it. I love making coffee on my Keurig, but sometimes I just don't have the time to mess with it. Keep your fridge stocked with energy drinks and coffee so that on the days you are late, you just grab what you have.

Waze App

Waze is the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app. It not only gives you directions but also alerts you to cops, wrecks, or any traffic. If the app sees that there is a traffic jam, it will alert you and give you the option to go on a different route if there is one available. The best part is that this app is free. Just open it in the mornings and find the quickest way to get to work.

© 2017 Sarah Spradlin


Nikki Khan from London on December 06, 2017:

Interesting hub dear,,thanks for lot of tips to be on time,,my kids are about to late for school sometimes,,but luckily they reach on time everyday.

But now I’ll keep in mind your tips too to be on time always.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 06, 2017:

Interesting and helpful article for those who face this situation everyday.

I believe in being organised, and your tips point out the same things.

Useful and informative article! Thanks for sharing!

Jack Lee from Yorktown NY on December 06, 2017:

Nice article. Time management is something everyone could use.

Ken Burgess from Florida on December 05, 2017:

All good things for consideration.

For myself, its a matter of perspective... I hate to be late, for anything, but especially work, or important meetings. To me, its about being professional, showing respect for others; its about presenting myself in the way I want to.

My wife, she is the opposite, she doesn't think its any big deal being late, doubly so when its not work related... the exception is when its a social or enjoyment engagement that is the only time she seems agitated about getting someplace on time.

Maybe this is partly a Male - Female difference, maybe its how we look at the world and think the world looks at us...

But IMO the best way to make sure you are on time, is to want to be on time, believe it important to be on time, then you will likely make sure it happens.

Ryan Jarvis Cornelius from Hollywood, FL on December 05, 2017:

It takes a lot of discipline

Michael Duncan from Germany on December 05, 2017:

A couple of interesting tips here :)

May consider going for the calculator or camera alarm myself.

Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

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