Being late usually becomes a habit, so learning to be punctual means that we have to change deeply entrenched patterns of behavior. Don’t give up if you fail to succeed at first. If you have the desire to change your habits, try using these six practical tips to help you be on time.

1) Adopt a New Mindset
First and foremost, remind yourself of the benefits of being on time: less stress, less embarrassment, being viewed as reliable and diligent, and less confusion in class over topics you might have missed. Being on time will improve the way others see you and the way you feel about yourself. It will also save you the time and hassle of having to catch up later.

2) Plan in Advance
Decide what you’re going to wear the night before. You can even lay out your clothes so you can easily see them in your semi-comatose state the next morning. Decide what you’re going to have for breakfast or plan out your route if you’re going to grab a bite on your way.

3) Pack Ahead
Don’t leave the job of packing your bag and searching for your cell phone to the last minute. Pack your lunch, textbooks, or whatever else you need the night before and have them ready to go beside the door.

4) Leave Time for Delays
If you have to travel a certain distance to arrive at a designated time, leaving yourself just enough time usually never works. Many of us travel to school in high traffic areas. Delays due to construction, accidents or weather routinely come up. This is true whether we travel by car or transit. Calculate your normal travel time, then add 15-20 minutes. Leaving home early enough to compensate for delays will ensure that , for the most part, you’re on time.

5) Set the Clock Ahead
Some people swear by this method, although it doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re always looking at the clock, hoping it will tell you that you’ve still got a few more minutes, try setting it ahead by 5 or 10 minutes to psychologically trick yourself into getting out the door. However, once you start telling yourself, “that clock’s fast”, the gag is over!

6) Go to Bed on Time
If your’re usually late because you sleep in too long, try going to bed early when you know you have to be in class the next morning. Going to bed at the same time each night helps your body get into a routine, making it easier to get up at the same time each morning.
Asking others for suggestions, especially those you envy for their seemingly effortless punctuality, can give you ideas on how to improve. If you’ve already made progress in being on time, reward yourself! A little commendation can go a long way in the battle against being late.
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