Being late all the time to work is no one’s cup of tea. It’s frustrating, stressful and it makes you feel like an irresponsible employee or a generally insensitive person. However, being constantly late to work or to meetings is not an inherent trait that people are born with. There are ways and strategies that you can adapt to be on time, whether it’s being at your desk before your shift starts or meeting people for dinner.

Wake up earlier

Waking up early seems fairly easy but there’s more to it than just having a functional alarm clock. It’s about learning how to conquer that part of yourself in the morning that says, ‘Five more minutes’ because those extra minutes can turn into a half-hour.

A great way to wake up early is to not hit your alarm’s snooze button. Although the snooze button might seem like a gift from the heavens on Monday mornings, relying on it is actually bad for your health. Your mind and body aren’t recuperating with those extra minutes of shut-eye, you’re just wasting time. James E. Gangwisch, a professor at Columbia University, suggests that you should only set an alarm for when you need to wake up. Hitting the snooze button will only ruin your sleep cycle, making you more tired.

Prepare for your morning routine the night before

Do all your morning prep before you go to bed, even the smallest things. If you have coffee in the morning, set up your mug and coffee maker on the counter. Pack your laptop bag, pick what to wear and you can even prepare your lunch. Checking the next day’s forecast will also help you prepare your clothes, as well as plan your commute. For instance, if there’s going to be a rainstorm the following morning, you should probably leave your home earlier than usual.

By planning out the next morning, you can go to sleep with less on your mind and not wake up scrambling to make sure you arrive to work on time.

Be a time pessimist

Assume that commuting to work on time will take longer than your first estimate. Perhaps your local government did not invest in enough traffic control equipment to keep the congestion at bay and you will be stuck in a sea of vehicles for an hour. Maybe there was a fender-bender on your usual route and now traffic is backed up. Consider that unexpected situations can happen, and you need a bit of leeway to your schedule. Let this motivate you to jump out of bed a tad earlier or to take a quicker shower than usual. This mindset will either make you a little early or make you right on time for everything.

Figure out how long things will take

Businessman looking at the time

Exactly how long does it take you to shower in the morning? To put on your clothes? To eat breakfast? To travel to work or to the meeting place (give or take the leeway you’ve set aside)? If you don’t have answers to these questions, then it’s a great idea to start timing yourself. Once you determine how long it takes you to do these things, you can plan accordingly and budget your time so you always arrive on schedule.

Lateness comes with negative consequences; so, if you’re always running late, it’s high time you start beating the clock. Punctuality will keep you on good terms with your boss, your colleagues and your clients. The more you make the effort to manage your time properly, the more you can turn it into a habit that will steer you to success.