Always Late? 7 Tips How to Be On Time All the Time

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Being punctual is not a magical gift some people posses and others do not. Anyone can master this skill! How come many of us struggle with being on time then?

It’s not easy to break an old habit, but it’s definitely possible. I put together a short video with 7 easy tips that can help you stop running late:

You are more than welcome to use this video for your own purposes.

People generally don’t want to be tardy and they don’t enjoy dealing with the negative consequences of this habit. Yet, even when they commit to becoming more punctual, they fall into the trap soon again. To avoid this, you have to  overcome some common problems and identify the benefits of being o time.

There are different attitudes and habits we develop during our life that influence our perception of time. The time perception also changes with our age. Some people just tend to underestimate how time much time has passed or how long it takes to do something or get from A to B. Others get easily distracted or are prone to procrastination in general.

1.The first step toward change is awareness

And this is the first step in overcoming any problem, not just lateness. The second step is acceptance. Many people rationalise their lateness away. They come up with explanations for being late by blaming external factors (traffic) or other people (kids). Unfortunately, rationalisation not only prevents us from seeing the reality as it is but also from addressing our problems. Own up to the problem and take responsibility for it. That is the only way to make a change in your life.

Cook's call

Image by garryknight via Flickr2. Just one-more thing syndrome

2. “Just one-more thing” syndrome

I bet we are all familiar with this one. “I’m just going to check my email before I leave the office”, we tell ourselves. Don’t do it! Whenever this thought occurs to you, grab your keys and run. You have to be really strict with leaving at a certain time and cannot afford to get distracted by this “one more thing“.

Don’t make the last phone call before you’re about to leave either. Just walk out the door and avoid this notorious last quick check. Otherwise it will most likely hold you up for longer that you anticipated and you’ll be late for your next commitment.

3. Estimate time better

If you are anything like me, then you probably tend to be quite optimistic when it comes to estimating how long things take. I always remember the shortest time it took me to get somewhere (driving probably around midnight) and use it for my everyday time estimates (driving at peak hours). Other people might believe they get more done in a certain period of time than they realistically can.

Time Flies

Image by Alan Cleaver via Flickr

The best way to overcome this problem is to start taking notes of how long things actually take. Just use your phone and record the duration of any activity you perform every day. Do this for a week to eliminate any anomalies and make an average at the end of your testing period. Now you have a chart of how much time you need for each of your daily tasks! Stick it on your fridge or save it on your phone, whatever works for you. The point is you should be able to easily refer to it while making your estimates next time.

4. Prepare for the next day

Clothes laid out

Image by kthrn via Flickr

Lay out your clothes for the next day. Going to the gym? Prepare your gym bag too. Put everything you need in your bag (phone, wallet, keys) and leave the bag by the door. Pack you lunch or snack and put all the materials you’ll need on a visible spot. You will be surprised how much time you’ll save every morning.

Maybe you have a morning appointment somewhere you’ve never been before. Look up the address and check how much time you’ll need to get there. Write down the main activities for the next day and plan your time around them.

5. Plan for trouble

Always anticipate something will go wring. The traffic gets heavier because of an accident, you forget your phone at home and have to return for it… These things happen all the time. Adding 20% to your time estimate is a good rule of thumb. If something takes an hour, allow 10-15 minutes extra time.

At the same time, you have to be mentally prepared for waiting. If nothing unexpected happens on your way, you are likely to spend those extra 10-15 minutes waiting. Don’t perceive it as a wasted time. Instead, take your book or notebook with you everywhere and use this time for yourself. Look at it as a bonus time!

6. Be a team member

Being late is disrespectful of other people’s time. In most cases, your actions affect others and you should be mindful of them. Start seeing yourself as part of a team, having a role in creating something great. You colleagues will appreciate the increased meetings effectiveness. Your wife will enjoy date dinners with you even more when you meet her on time.

Cheerleaders

Image by Ethan M. Long via Flickr

7. The clock is your best friend

Keep a clock in every room so you can always check where you are in time. Some people say you should set your clock ahead, others believe it will only make you accommodate the extra time in your estimates anyway. Whatever you decide to do, you have to be able to see what time it is, even when in shower.

You can also set up a timer to keep you on track with all your tasks. A great tip is to set reminders before each activity so you know you have let’s say 15 minutes to finish what you’re doing at that point.

I hope these tips will help you on your way to punctuality. And I’d love to hear your own tricks how to make sure you are on time!

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How to Motivate Others

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Some time ago I published a post on how teachers can motivate their students. It received some great feedback from educators, which made me think it might be useful to turn the original post, aimed at teachers, into a universal advice to help anyone who wants other people to succeed.

I put together a short presentation outlining the seven important tips that can help you motivate others:

You are more than welcome to use this presentation for your own purposes.

Maybe you are a manager trying to motivate your employees, a personal trainer helping other people to get into a better shape or a football trainer working hard to get the best out of your team. In any case, if you want to lead anyone towards success, you need to learn how to motivate them.

Transcript of “How to Motivate Others” presentation:

Motivating others

If you want to lead a group of people or an individual towards success, you need to learn how to motivate them. People have their needs and they are driven to satisfy them. This desire motivates them to get the thing they want, which is their goal.

1. Get to know them
Pay attention to other people’s wants, needs, strengths and weaknesses. Spend some time and effort to get to know them personally and build connections with them. Show them you care about them!

Maslow's hyerarchy of needs

2. Set high expectations
You should hold everyone to high expectations and expect them to reach those high standards. Don’t forget to set the same high standards for yourself! You cannot expect them to deliver the best results unless you strive to do the same.

3. Be flexible
Don’t just try and stick to your plan if you can’t see the expected results. Combine different methods and strategies and keep testing them. Observe closely how people respond and define the best approaches for each individual.

  • Have a Plan B
  • Recognize uniqueness of each individual
  • There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to motivation.

4. Believe in them
Look beyond your people’s imperfections and problems and try to see their potential.
Help them focus on the possibilities and coach them through the potholes along the path.

5. Reward them
Give them personal feedback. Focus on their efforts and reward them for working hard. Encourage their hope by letting them know they can always do better. Give them another chance to demonstrate they can do it.

6. Smile
Smile creates a positive atmosphere where people feel comfortable asking questions and expressing themselves.

7. Be a Role Model

  • model positive choice-making by putting the best choices into action
  • apologize and admit mistakes; nobody is perfect at the end of the day
  • show respect to others and follow through in the same way you want them to follow their commitments
  • become a well rounded individual
  • be proud of who you are

Do you have any other tips how to get the best out of others? Please share them in the comments below!

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10 Things You Have to Stop Doing to Get More Productive

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Most of us try to get as much done in a day as possible. Some are, however, more successful in completing their tasks than others. Why is that? Productive people are not necessarily the busiest ones. They have just successfully managed to avoid the common traps that negatively affect our productivity.

Is your productivity slipping? Here are 10 things you should stop doing today to get you back on track: 

You are more than welcome to use this video for your own purposes.

1. Go with the flow

You need a routine! In order to be productive you have to make a daily routine and stick to it. Try to always do the same thing at the same time every day so you get used to the sequence of activities.

2. Postpone things for later

Postponing things doesn’t cause the tasks go away. Get things done when you can instead of trying to find excuses why now is not a good time.

3. Say YES to everything

You need to learn how to say no. This doesn’t mean you should turn away people. It means you have to make priorities and dedicate your time to things that matter the most. We cannot possibly do everything for everyone and be at every event we get invited to. It is then essential for us to learn how to politely say no.

4. Snooze your alarm clock

Alarm Clock 3

Alarm Clock 3 (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)

This is the difficult one, at least for me. The snooze button is one of the greatest inventions of our time. Unfortunately, it has been proven that fragmented sleep actually makes us more tired. It is better to set your alarm clock later than you would normally do and get up straight away as you will consistently get a more quality sleep.

5. Work long hours

Working long hours doesn’t necessarily mean being more productive. You need to work smarter. Try to focus on what really matters and find a better balance between your personal life and work.

6. Be constantly connected

Social media is a great way of connecting with people. Checking your Facebook or Twitter too often can be dangerous. Instead of constantly checking your phone or having the social media tabs open in your browser, dedicate a particular time of a day to this activity.

7. Do everything by yourself

Putting work in other people’s hands is always a risk. But you need to learn to delegate tasks to boost your productivity! Think of people who can help you with getting things done – your colleagues, partner or your family.

8. Watch TV every day

An average person spends 34 hours per week watching TV. If they cut that time in half, the world would be a better place!

Watch TV

Image by Luis Hernandez – D2k6.es via Flickr

9. Check you email all the time

As tempting as it is, try to avoid checking your email throughout the day. If anything important happens, people will call you. Dedicate some time in the morning to go through your emails and avoid checking your inbox for the rest of the day.

10. Set easy goals

Start dreaming big! Easy goals are cheating!

Do you have any other useful productivity tips? We’d love to hear them!

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