Results from a recent San Francisco State University study revealed that 17 percent of people are chronically late. Most people don't consciously want to arrive late, but their tardiness has become a perplexing habit that's difficult to break. Many companies find employee scheduling software helpful, but the biggest change has to come from the employee.

Getting to work on time is essential if you want to keep a good job or earn a promotion, but before you can make successful changes, you need to first understand the problem.

Discover Why You're Late

Image via Flickr by scottfeldstein

Most people who are chronically late struggle with timeliness because they're afraid of arriving early. Ask yourself if you're worried about being early. If so, why? Do you dread the idea of wasting time while waiting for others to arrive? Are you trying to maximize your efficiency at home by completing other tasks up to the last possible minute?

If you're not worried about arriving early, perhaps your tardiness might stem from bad habits or a misunderstanding of time management. Perhaps you firmly believe that it takes 10 minutes to get to the office, but always show up late because it really takes 15 minutes. If a carpool is making you late, you might need to re-examine your arrangement, considering a different ride that better meets your staff scheduling or discussing alternate routes with your carpool mates.

Change Your Mindset

If you're worried about arriving early, you need to put concentrated effort into changing your perception about early arrivals. Consider how refreshing it will be to walk into the office when it's quiet and people are just arriving. Imagine the satisfaction of showing up to a meeting before other attendees and having a few extra moments to prepare.

If you're held back by bad habits, spend a week timing all your regular activities. Set a timer to see how long it really takes you to shower, put on makeup, fix your hair, get dressed, ride the bus to work and take the elevator up to your office. Use these numbers to restructure your routine.

Implement Replacement Habits

Replace your tardy habits with new opportunities for efficiency. If you don't want to show up early and waste time, give yourself some extra jobs to take care of in the morning. Replace your habit of doing last-minute tasks at home with a new habit of squeezing in as many early morning jobs as you can. Get to work on time, and see how many emails you can answer before you're scheduled to be in the office.

Hold Yourself Accountable

Reward yourself for successful adjustments in your daily routine. You've got to get to work on time, so make it fun for yourself. When you get to the office early, reward yourself with a trip to the vending machine for a breakfast treat or treat yourself to that blouse or sweater you've had your eye on. Take an earlier train so you don't have to rush last-minute, and use your extra time to grab a gourmet coffee. Make being punctual a pleasure and not a chore.

Overcoming tardiness isn't easy, but it's essential if you want to maintain a professional image at your job and achieve workplace success.

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