It happens to everybody at some point or another: You get so caught up in whatever you are doing that you lose track of time and are late to an important meeting at work. When this happens, hopefully your boss will understand — after all, he or she has probably done the same thing too — but if you find that running perpetually late and arriving stressed out is becoming an unfortunate habit, it is time to make some changes.
How to Arrive at Your Next Meeting On Time and Relaxed
Fortunately, there are a number of helpful tips that will help you to regain control over your schedule and allow you to arrive at meetings the way you want to: on time and totally composed. With this in mind, check out the following ideas:
Determine How Much Time You Need to Get Someplace, and Add Minutes
Being on time for a meeting requires knowing how long it will truly take you to get there. This goes beyond some vague “oh, about 20 minutes” estimate; if you are routinely flying through the office door huffing and puffing from running from your car, it’s time to really take a close look at your commute. Factor in the time it takes to find a place to park, walk from the lot to your office, and add at least 15 more minutes to cover any heavy traffic and jammed parking lot issues. If you end up arriving at your office early for a meeting, this should be celebrated as a victory — you can always use the extra time to catch up on a few work emails or start organizing your next work project.
Organize All of Your Appointments in One Spot
Your folks may have kept tabs on their meetings and appointments on a wall calendar or desk calendar at the office. While you can certainly still try the old-school approach to noting all of your meetings, you may want to try keeping everything on your smartphone. Chances are you have your smartphone with you at all times, and you can easily sync your computer calendars and those of your family members with your smart phone. This way, if you have been late to a meeting because you were with your son at the orthodontist, having everybody’s appointments on your smartphone will allow you to see that certain things will overlap and will need to be rescheduled. One additional side tip: if you have a limited data plan, it can be difficult to use your smartphone as often as you need to coordinate everyone’s schedules and keep in touch with your boss and family members on a daily basis. Investing in an affordable unlimited data plan will allow you to easily use your smartphone as a central calendar hub and communication tool as often as you like, which in turn should cause your stress levels to go down.
When the Alarm Goes Off, It’s Time to Get Up
If you routinely miss early morning meetings, it may be due to a propensity to hit the snooze button on your alarm. Getting out of bed is actually the first thing we can procrastinate at doing in the day, and it can lead to some major panicky moments once we realize that we are already running behind. An easy fix for this is to move your alarm clock across the room — if you have to get out of bed to switch it off, chances are good you will stay up and get going to work.
Get Everything Ready the Night Before
If part of your reason for running chronically late is due to having to make your lunch, the kids’ lunches, find backpacks and your right shoe, start doing as much as you can the night before. Prepare sandwiches, put chips and carrot sticks in baggies in the evening, and make sure you and everyone else knows where everything is before going to bed.
You Can Do It!
Being late to meetings sometimes just happens. But as you know quite well, running behind can lead to high stress levels, which can ruin an otherwise nice day. Strive to get organized and back in control of as much as you can and in no time you’ll find yourself back to being your usual punctual and relaxed self.