The Battle with Tardiness: How to Stop Being Late to Work

Do you want to stop being late for work? If so, read on for some helpful insights.

Do you want to stop being late for work? If so, read on for some helpful insights.

A recent blog article we shared about tardiness and how to correct it is one of our most popular posts. The truth is, many people struggle to get to work on time; unfortunately, they and the companies who employ them are facing negative consequences as a result.

Everyday, those who struggle with tardiness are seeking answers and exploring any technique that could possibly help them break this bad habit in life. It’s a tough one to break too, but you are not alone in your search for help.

Below you will discover some tips regarding changes you may wish to make in your morning, office, evening and even sleep routines. Hopefully they will lead you toward greater punctuality and fewer tardiness issues.

awake with the morning sun


Let the sunshine in!

The brightness of our morning sun is the best alarm clock when the timing of the sunrise works with your schedule. If you believe the sun's rays could help you awaken more easily, consider an investment in curtains and shades which will usher in the morning light rather than keep it out.

Determine to Avoid Rushing & Racing Out the Door

Your goal is not simply to arrive to work on time although that is a most noble goal. You also want to avoid rushing through your routines, skipping breakfast or important chores, and racing to the office. This probably means you need to become an early riser, or at the very least, an earlier riser.

man running late to work

Spend a few minutes thinking about how lousy you feel when you fail to get in your morning exercise, enjoy a good cup of coffee, talk with your spouse, help your children prepare for their day, play with your pet, eat a little breakfast, and put dinner in the slow cooker, or how stressed you feel as you drive like Road Rage Rita or Ron just to be on time to the office. It’s not good for your health or your stress level. Determine to make a change. Say it aloud. Say it to a friend.

Aim High But Plan Ahead

In all actuality, the goal is not merely to be prompt but to arrive a few minutes early everyday so that your stress level is diminished and a better impression is left with your manager.

morning agenda with coffee

Write down your morning agenda and establish a plan for leaving at a specific time

  • What are the routine tasks?

  • What are the extra tasks you want to accomplish that morning?

  • Are there stops you need to make on your way to work?

Breaking the Chains of Chronic Tardiness

breaking the chains of chronic tardiness

Chronic tardiness is a hard habit to break. It may reflect a lifetime of being “okay” with running late, procrastinating, being lazy, too meticulous or task-oriented, ignoring helpful habits like planning and creating agendas, as well as underestimating the time your body and mind really need to accomplish all that you want to do.

Using Habit Triggers to Your Advantage

I love James Clear’s suggestion regarding habit triggers. He says there are 5 types of triggers which can be used to develop both good and bad habits: time, location, preceding event, emotional state, and other people.

Here are a few I use:

1. People - When I hear my daughter close the bathroom door, I know that I have another 30 minutes before I need to get up. I can choose to snooze, read, think through my day, or get up earlier to prepare breakfast, pack a lunch, or do a little laundry, etc. The closing of that door triggers an action on my part every day.

2. Time – I know that if we do not leave the house by 7:45 each morning, there is little chance of us getting to school/work on time, so that triggers stress and more rushing around along with a good bit of adrenaline. If we walk out by 7:40 or before, we are all smiles and enjoy the drive, the conversation and the music. When we are late, there is much less joy, only worry about the possibility of being tardy to class. And the difference between the two? A mere five minutes!

3. Emotional state – Know what you need to make yourself happy (or at least not irritable) and start your day off on the right foot. When you wake up feeling tired and have a nagging headache, what is it that you need most? Will a long shower and time to eat breakfast help you feel better? Or do you need to stay in bed, sleep a bit longer, and risk not even having time for a shower? Establish your options ahead of time so that you don’t have to stress over it. You can make a simple adjustment and move forward.

4. Location – We live in a home with 2 bathrooms. Sometimes both are available; sometimes not. When I see that both rooms are available for use, that automatically triggers freedom because no sharing of bathroom space will be required. I can move at my own pace, and for me, that means a little extra peace.

busy and distracting cell phone

5. Preceding Event – How much does your cellphone slow you down in the morning? Do you find yourself catching up on the news or checking Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat thoroughly? How time consuming is that?!?! Every time you hear a buzz, there you are – distracted by all things phone related. The constant buzz of cellphones and the information you glean from news, pictures and texts can precipitate all sorts of shifts in mood and behavior, sometimes in a less than positive way. So if necessary, consider keeping your phone turned off during your morning routine.

Habit Stacking

Find some tips on creating a morning routine based on habit stacking by checking out these great articles by James Clear and Basically, you will learn how to attach new habits onto already established good habits.


avoiding tardiness to office meetings

Write down your scheduled meetings and wisely plan what time you need to leave. Get the leave time in your head rather than the start time. Consider all that must be done to prepare for your meeting and the time that it will take you to accomplish those pre-meeting tasks: 3 minutes to get your papers together, 3 minutes for a bathroom break, 3 minutes for unexpected cell phone interruptions, 3 minutes to walk to the meeting room and chat briefly with a co-worker on the way . . . Get the picture?

Plan for everything that you might need to do and then add a couple of minutes to that so you can arrive with or before everyone else and not come bounding in at the last second or worse - late again.


The Effects of Sugar and Caffeine Consumption

effects of sugar

The later it gets, the more you should avoid sugar. Are you enjoying too many sweet treats and caffeinated beverages before bedtime? Break this bad habit as soon as possible!

Did you know that consuming caffeine even 6 hours prior to your bedtime can reduce REM sleep, total sleep time and make it difficult for you to fall asleep?

Did you know that the amount of sugar you consume during the day can directly impact how many times you awaken during the night? It’s a given that the less sugar you enjoy during the daytime hours, the more likely you will be able to relish what many refer to as “a good night’s sleep.”

How Writing Can Set Your Mind Free . . . to Sleep

Stress tends to trigger wakefulness, so instead of rehearsing in your mind all the tasks you must do tomorrow and should have done today, write it all down and let it go. Making long lists of stuff to do is an excellent way to release worrisome thoughts and concerns and put them to rest. Plus, it works!

Also try to make a daily plan for what you will accomplish after office hours. Prioritize then schedule these things – in writing.

daily to do list
  • Time for family and friends.

  • Volunteer work.

  • Time for your favorite TV shows.

  • A visit to the gym.

  • Meal plans.

  • Errands and household responsibilities.

  • Social media communications.

Whatever it is, decide what you have time for and go for it. But let there be a cut off time. Set your alarm for 9 pm if necessary and let that be a gentle reminder that it is time to lay certain things aside and prepare for bed.

Bedtime Routines

Bed preparation routines are important too. What do you require? A toothbrush? Or is it much more extensive than that? If you need time to bathe, curl up with a good book, watch the news and weather, organize things for the next day, iron clothes, or cuddle with your kiddos, plan accordingly.

yawning cat


What a Yawn Means

A yawn does not always mean that you are sleepy; you may simply be bored or yawning because someone else in your family did. However, if you are at home and find yourself yawning during the evening, go on to bed if you feel like you could go to sleep. If you fight sleep, you may catch a second wind, and you don't need that if it's fairly late already. Don’t delay going to bed when you are tired!

How Reducing Exposure to Blue Light Can Help You

Keep all blue light sources away from you when it is bedtime. Blue light comes primarily from electronic devices and energy efficient light bulbs, and it can mess up your internal clock by reducing the production of melatonin. Want to understand more about this? Check out this interesting article from

So, turn your electronic devices off and place them far away from you (to remove the temptation to read the news or check Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, email, and so forth).

The Purpose of Your Bed

Use your bed for sleeping only. Don’t go there to enjoy a good meal, phone call or book. Always avoid doing office or school work on your bed.

bedroom used for sleeping

If you can’t go to sleep, get up and go to another room to read, draw, color, write, or enjoy another activity. But keep electronic devices off, including your TV and cellphone. When you feel sleepy, try the bed again.

There is no need to increase your stress level by looking at the clock. You don’t want to awaken the part of your brain that counts the hours and calculates remaining sleep time. You are working on correcting your internal clock and trying to improve your sleep patterns.

Celebrate the Night by Sleeping

moon in black sky

Allow time to go dark. It is worth reiterating: Don’t let yourself see the time at any point during the hours you should be sleeping. Do not keep your digital alarm clock or glow-in-the-dark watch within easy reach either. Use the dresser rather than your bedside table.

Here are more great tips for getting yourself to bed found in one of the most helpful articles I came across while researching this topic. Check it out here! 

We at Brannon Professionals wish you much success for better sleep and increased punctuality. If you are successful in breaking the tardiness habit, let us help you the next time you find yourself job hunting. Visit our website to review currently available positions by clicking HERE.