by Sarah J.F. Braley | June 01, 2005

illustrationAre you perennially late? Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged (, is here to help you rethink your arrival rituals.

Don’t aim for on time. Always plan to be 15 minutes early. People who are chronically late hate to wait, so they try to time their arrival exactly on time, but rarely make it. “This kind of split-second time management rarely works out,” notes DeLonzor.

Avoid “magical” thinking. DeLonzor says late people tend to underestimate how long everyday tasks, such as driving to work, will take. Instead of relying on your best-case scenario (“Once, the drive took me 11 minutes!”), keep track for one week how much time these tasks actually take. Write up daily schedules based on the new estimates.

“Just in time” never is. Do you think it doesn’t make sense to do anything until it absolutely must be done? Wrong. To change this pattern, every morning for a month write down three things you’ll do early that day, such as turn in a report before it’s due, and then try to meet those goals.