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How to Never Be Late to Work Again


The more I tried to break my bad habit of being chronically late, the more the process reminded me of quitting smoking. Then I realized, that's the because the process is the same. If I could quit smoking, then certainly I can figure out how to stop my endless cycle of always being late. This blog will help you do the same. 

I am still a very young adult, so I know I shouldn't be too hard on myself. However, I feel a guilt for my not achieving as much as I wanted to by this age. I know my chronic lateness has a lot to do with my ADHD... Then again, my dad has ADHD and he has achieved so much in his life. It might seem to strange for an adult to say this but when I grow up I want to be like my dad. I want to have a successful career that I can be proud of. I want to be a professional. I want to be financially stable. I want to have a house. In order to achieve any of this, I first need to get my chronic lateness under control. Right now, getting past my chronic lateness is my biggest obstacle. I need to learn how to never be late for work again. 

You can do it!

While this might make you roll your eyes, that is a risk I am going to have to take. The first step is a positive attitude! In order to get past chronic lateness, you have to believe that you can do it. Visualize yourself being successful. Visualize yourself showing up on time and having no one scold you. Know that you truly want it. Then achieve it. 

Break the bad habit.

Artist: Eugene Ivanov

Being late all the time is a bad habit like any other. So let's treat it like any other bad habit. 

Stress and Boredom are usually the cause of bad habits. 

For me, boredom causes me to stay on my computer both too late at night and too early in the morning... when I should be getting ready for work. 

Tips on Breaking Bad Habits

  • Identify what triggers your lateness
    • Cut out as many triggers as possible. Mine is my laptop. So now I am not allowed to use my laptop before work. I make sure to put it far away when I go to sleep at night. 
  • Replace your bad habit with a good habit.
    • You have to consciously choose a substitute for your bad habit. This is important because you don't get rid of bad habits... you replace them. 
  • Leaves notes for your future self. Remind him/her to avoid these same bad habits. 
  • Team up with someone.
    • Know someone else trying to break a bad habit? Maybe even they are also trying to break their chronic lateness habit? Work together! Support each other and share ideas.  
  • Re-shape your life.
    • You won't like the sound of this one... but things have to change. No more late night coffees (if that's a problem) and more healthy eating and exercise (always a good idea). 
  • Create an "If" "Then" plan.
  • Surround yourself with people who are professional and diligent.
    • This part really reminded me of quitting smoking.  
  • Train yourself to think differently about your bad habits.
    • Re-learn the value of being on time. Know that it is more important than little distractions. 
  • If you have a relapse, try to understand what caused it.
    • Write it down. Keep track of this sort of information. 

Try the 'Alarm Reminder' trick.

This trick is simple. All you have to do is set alarms ahead of time. 

Please Note: Not all of the alarms have to be loud and annoying. In fact, none of them has to be annoying. The first two alarms are a loud but happy song. The rest of the alarms are short and simple sounds. 

Here is my 'Alarm Reminder' schedule.

  • First alarm goes off at 4:30. Warning only.
  • Second alarm goes off at 4:45. I have to get up.
  • A third alarm goes off at 5:00. Get Dressed!
  • A fourth alarm goes off at 5:20. Don't forget your lunch.
  • The fifth alarm goes off at 5:30. I have to leave the house now. 

- Ten-minute drive plus 5 minutes for expected delays - 

I will be there at 5:45, 15 minutes before my shift starts. 

The Most Important Advice I Could Possibly Give: Expect delays!

When driving and/or bussing to work, red lights are going to happen! Some days there will be more red lights than other days. Some days there will be more pedestrians than other days. In my case, some days you might just not be paying attention and you make a wrong turn on the way to work. It's kinda frustrating to take an accidental detour. 


  • Make your lunch ahead of time.
  • Shower the night before, not the morning of.
  • Make a place for everything to be. It will be their official designated spot.
    • This includes keys, wallet, work shoes, work lunch, etc. 
  • If you drive, make sure your car is on the outside of the driveway the night before.
  • Literally, jump out of bed.
    • No, I don't mean figuratively. I really mean literally this time. Try getting a punch of energy right from the beginning and literally leap out of bed as if something bit you. 
  • Leave yourself an hour to get ready.
  • Aim for 15 minutes early.
    • In my case, I aim for 30 minutes early. I never actually get there 30 minutes early, which is exactly why I aim for it. 
  • Leave time to put your work boots on.
    • I don't know about you but I have some hefty work boots. They don't exactly slip on as I run out the door. 
  • Know how long the drive/commute takes.
    • Apparently, my drive to work could be as quick as 6 minutes. However, that has yet to actually happen, which brings me to my next point. 

Write down WHY you were late.

If it keeps being a problem, don't give up yet. Start by writing down why you were late each time. Find a pattern, fix the problem. Keep going. 

Here are some examples.

Late: 5 minutes

Reason: Took a wrong turn on the drive - needed to detour

Late: 20 minutes

Reason: I took a shower in the morning and didn't want to leave the house with wet hair.

Late: 10 minutes 

Reason: I decided to write a blog before leaving for work.

Want to read more like this?

Do you have a job in customer service? If so, then I highly recommend taking a look at this blog. Sometimes you can be rude by accident to people with disabilities simply by not knowing some basic information that can be found in this article titled: "How to Serve Customers With Disabilities."

Want more of Nancy D?

My blogs and articles can be about anything really... I do write a lot after all. However, I find my self-writing about ADHD, photography and Self-Help a lot.

To keep updated on my blogs please feel free to follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Twitter @BlogsNancy

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How to Never Be Late to Work Again
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