Running into a meeting just in time to hear the speaker’s final thought for the day? Showing up at the basketball game as the final buzzer sounds? Made it to your favourite store’s sale of the century to find one shirt left, and it’s not even in your size? If this sounds like you, read my suggestions on how to get ahead of the game (or at least be on time for it).

Begin by acknowledging what happens to make you late, and what triggers you to get off track. If you see a pattern, break these triggers by coming up with an individualized plan to combat each of them. If you never have enough time in the morning, figure out things you can do the night before to save time. For example, have your lunch packed and ready to grab, clothes selected and have a head start on breakfast and coffee.

When you know you have a work or social commitment fast approaching on your calendar, get mentally prepared. Plan ahead and think about any extra details you need to deal with so when the day arrives everything runs smoothly. For instance, know how to get there by familiarizing yourself with directions and parking options ahead of time. Don’t start any new projects that you know you will not easily be able to stop right before another appointment.

Leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Stop trying to squeeze everything in at once, and focus on one project at a time for better results. Decrease time spent on non-priority items. Never underestimate traffic time or that quick stop you need to make at the gas station, bank machine, or drycleaner. Unexpected obstacles can occur, so give yourself more than an adequate amount of time to arrive.

Consider other people’s feelings. Don’t count on simply squeaking in at the last minute. This looks unprofessional and insensitive as though you don’t care about the meeting or event. If someone else can take the time to make sure they are there to see you, you should show them the same courtesy. If something unexpected does arise, call immediately to let your party know you are running late.

Start and end appointments, meetings, phone conversations, and social activities on time. If you have an inability to say “no”, practice with family and friends first. Begin by stating exactly what your purpose is and how long it will take. For example, if you are calling someone to ask a quick five minute question tell them in the beginning so they do not go off topic. When appointments are kept within their allotted time, your next appointment will not be interrupted.

Write down all appointments and meetings. Don’t just rely on mental notes. Set clear objectives of what you want to get accomplished. Keep your list of things to do separate from your day or work planner so you can clearly see your priorities for the day. Check them off once completed so you can move on to the new task and to motivate you to continue.

Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution. (c) 2008 Colette Robicheau

Author's Bio: 

Colette Robicheau, President of Organize Anything, is a consultant, coach, and public speaker offering corporate, residential, and personal organizing services. For more information contact Colette Robicheau, Organizing Consultant and Coach visit her website, email, or read her blog at