The reason I know so much about being late is because recently, I have been late a lot. So I have been telling myself that each time I am late I have to honestly think about what sort of behavior is causing me to be late, and write it down.

The write it down part is important. For me, writing something makes it more serious. Like I am taking more responsibility for changing something if I write it down. I know I am not alone in this.

I see blogs about losing weight and sticking to a budget, and those people say that blogging about it helps them stick to a plan. I think being on time is a similar type of goal in that you have to think about it every day in order to make a real change in your life.

Hopefully I will not end up writing a whole blog about being on time, especially since there’s such a good one already. Hopefully a post will be enough to get things back in order….

Here are things I’ve come up with for myself:

1. Schedule the event into your calendar.
If you block out time to be somewhere then you won’t be doing something else when it’s time to go. I amazed myself when I tried to do this. I discovered I had enough on my schedule to last 48 hours a day. It would have been impossible for me to be on time for anything.

(Note: If you are a person who is about to recommend to me that I read Getting Things Done in order to be better at time management, here is a link you might like.)

2. Practice saying what you need to say.
Here’s a great thing to say: “Excuse me, I hate to cut you off, but I have an appointment.” It is hard to cut someone off, but they will respect you for sticking to a schedule. The higher up you go in corporate life, the stricter the people stick to a schedule. The good news is that this means it’s perfectly acceptable in work life to say this short speech. Get comfortable doing it at work and then you can do it at home, too. Often saying no takes forethought and practice.

3. Be a time pessimist.
Assume everything will take a little longer than your first estimate. This will either make you right on time for everything, or it’ll make you a little early. People who run early are calm, organized, and always ready. Not a bad place to be.

4. Prioritize.
Some people are late because they simply don’t have enough time to do everything. The only way to change this is to stop doing so much. Face the reality that you cannot get your whole list done. Figure out what’s most important and just get that done. Tell the people who depend on you – like your boss — that you can only do what you have time for, and things at the bottom of the their list of priorities will not get done: a reality check for everyone in your life.

(Another Getting Things Done note: The only people I know who are really good at prioritizing have read the book. Here’s an overview of the book for the uninitiated.)

5. Be honest with yourself.
Why do you let yourself be late? It is disrespectful and makes you look unorganized and out of control. Why are you not getting control over your time. So much about being on time is actually about self-knowledge. Often, we are scared to make the decisions that we must make in order to get control over our time and become someone who runs on schedule. But there is no other way to run a life. To run on schedule is to plan the life you want to live and execute that plan.