Lately I have been running late for work…often. This has corresponded with living so near my new workplace. I recently changed jobs and no longer have a commute. I know it takes me less time to get to work, so I leave at the last minute.
Now cover your ears if you don’t like us folks, but I am a morning person all the way. That eliminates a whole category of excuses. I sleep well. I’m not too tired to get up in the morning. If my alarm clock malfunctioned, I would still wake up at the same time. I never hit the snooze button. So where do my mornings go wrong?
I get up more than 3 hours before I start work, and I complete a substantial part of my day before work even begins!
5:20 to 6:30 – Workout
From the time my feet hit the floor to the time I do my last cool-down stretch is 70 minutes – about 55 of real exercise and 15 of faffing around choosing a playlist and downloading an e-book J
6:30 to 7:15 – Get Half Ready
Next I have a shower, make coffee and have breakfast with Rom.
7:15 to 8:45 – Settle In
Rom leaves for work and I relax and do some blog reading. In my bathrobe. Ah, now you can see where my system falls apart. I get sucked into the Internet vortex! Since I have so much time available, I always think I can finish getting ready for work “later.”
Every 20 minutes or so I get up and do something to get ready for work. The first time I’ll get dressed, and then think, “OK, I’m pretty much ready now!” Twenty minutes later it will occur to me, “I should go get some snacks ready to bring with me.” So I’ll go wash some fruit and spoon out some yogurt and pour my coffee into a Thermos.
Today I set a target of leaving at 8:30, fifteen minutes early. It’s a good thing I did. Despite getting off my duff at 8:30, I had to complete the following before leaving the house:
- Power down computer
- Put jacket, scarf, hat and boots on
- Find favourite gloves
- Search through bag to make sure I had work keys – eventually found in pocket of coat I wore yesterday
- Take some stuff out of my backpack to make it lighter
- Check whereabouts of cats – making sure they aren’t closed up in a bedroom all day
By the time I set foot outside the door, it was 8:37. Luckily I had time to walk to work. Because it’s so close, any gains I might make from driving are cancelled out by the time it takes to scrape frost from the windows and de-fog them.
I’m hoping I’ve zapped this bad habit by doing all of my Get Ready tasks a little earlier and setting myself an earlier Leave Time. If I really need to get tough with myself, I’ll get completely ready for work by 7:30 with all of my day’s supplies by the door, and only then go back to my laptop. If I was especially strict, I could do an Internet ban in the mornings. But really, with 75 minutes of free time, I should be able to browse away for an hour. (Sometimes I do some budgeting or read a book, though!)
Do you know what has motivated me most to change? I’m “the new boss” at work, and I envisioned my staff answering the phone at 9:00 and telling my caller, “Dar? Oh, she usually straggles in by 9:15…” I would hate that! Must set a good example!
During my commuting years, I was rarely late for work because I allowed so much time for getting there. Occasionally there would be freakish traffic. If I attended a meeting at a downtown site, sometimes I wouldn’t allow enough time to find a nearby parking spot.
As a manager, the lateness explanations I hear most from employees are:
- I overslept
- My alarm didn’t go off
- Traffic was bad
- I couldn’t find a parking spot
- The bus didn’t come
- I missed the bus
- I had to find another babysitter at the last minute
- I spilled coffee down my shirt and had to go back home and change
And of course many believable mishaps such as a car breaking down, a toilet overflowing at home, or their mom making a plea to be escorted to a doctor’s appointment.
The one that irritated me, though? The employees who turned up late “because of traffic” with a steaming hot Starbucks in hand!
In a book I once read, two more reasons for chronic lateness were cited:
- Women are often “pestered” for sex by their male partners in the morning and it makes them late for work; or
- Some people, consciously or not, like to make an entrance and turn heads when they arrive.
Are you punctual?