Adulting 101: useful time management tips for people who are late all the time

Being fashionably late is one thing, but it’s no good to be late every time. Here are some tips to put an end to missing out on the start of every event

Ginny Wong |

Latest Articles

K-pop group TXT proves their songwriting chops on 'The Dream Chapter: Eternity'

Cristiano Ronaldo aims for more (virtual) goals as UEFA eEuro 2020 kicks off in PES 2020

HK's Ocean Park to receive HK$5 billion public funding

Six arrested over beating of 15-year-old Hong Kong student with fire extinguisher

It’s easy to lose track of time – we’ve all been late before. However, if you’re always the last person to turn up to a party, always have to sneak into a cinema 10 minutes into a show, and are always a few minutes late to class, then you might have a time-management problem.

Being able to manage your time is very important, academically, professionally, or socially. If you’re late all the time, then you might come across as a person who thinks your time is somehow more important than other people’s time. It means they always have to wait for you before activities can begin. Once or twice is fine, but when you do it all the time it looks disrespectful.

Here are seven things you can do to ensure your time-management skills are up to scratch.

Keep a to-do list

Sometimes, you’re late because you forget about activities or events. Having a to-do list is handy, because it means you have a visual reminder of the things you’re aiming to accomplish today/this week/this month. It’s much harder to forget about something when it’s written down in front of you. Make a habit of checking your list every day – it might take conscious effort at first, but it will eventually become second nature.

Get ahead of time

Set your watch so that it reads five minutes faster than it should – so, if it’s noon, your watch should read 12.05pm. This might help convince your brain that you need to get ready five minutes earlier than you normally do, which might then mean you arrive at a place or an activity five minutes earlier than you normally would. But don’t think, “oh well, my watch is five minutes fast, so I don’t need to hurry”, because that would defeat the whole purpose!

Avoid distractions

If you’re getting ready to go to somewhere, then don’t put off your preparations to do other things. Focus on the task at hand – if, for example, you are going to an interview, then don’t wander off to check your emails while you’re getting dressed. You can check your emails afterwards.

Prepare ahead of time

Do you find yourself running back to your home to pick up an item that you’ve forgotten to pack? Save yourself the trouble by preparing the things you need the night before – pack your exam kit the night before your exams, for example. That way, you won’t be making unnecessary trips back and forth on the MTR to pick up an extra pen, or your lucky socks, or Octopus card.

Plan your journey

Check Google Maps or news sites for travel updates before you make your way out the door. You don’t want to get caught in a traffic jam along the way, or get lost. If you do notice there’s something that might make your journey longer than expected, then you can plan an alternative route to your destination.

Get more sleep

More sleep means you’re more alert. Being more alert means you’re less likely to be late to events. You might find yourself waking up before your alarm goes off – instead of spending an extra few minutes in bed, you can use that time to get ahead of your schedule, and be the first to arrive somewhere.

Set deadlines or time limits

Give yourself a time limit on tasks that you need to accomplish, or set deadlines for them. For instance, if you need to have a shower before going out for the day, tell yourself you will take no more than five minutes. Promise yourself that you will finish off your homework before the hour is up.

If you make you deadline, then reward yourself with something small, like a tasty snack or a five-minute play on a gaming app.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda