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Chronic lateness is like an illness, beginning with a few symptoms that grow into a full-blown sickness. It starts with casual things, such as meeting friends for dinner 20 minutes late or going to a movie and missing the previews. Before you know it, you're sneaking in the back door of the conference room and apologizing to your staff. According to a 2006 survey by Proudfoot Consulting, American CEOs are late to eight out of every 10 meetings-resulting in $90 billion in lost productivity.
Lateness is time wasted and, despite the consequences, it's often a difficult habit to break. Battling it takes more than setting the clocks 10 minutes fast (that never works). Stop making up excuses and start managing your time with these helpful tips.
1. Don't plan to be exactly on time. Murphy's Law tells us everything that can go wrong will go wrong. So if you always plan to be 15 minutes early, you can run behind schedule with situations beyond your control (traffic, angry client, etc.) and still be on time.
2. Be realistic when estimating how much time certain tasks will take. Travel time is only one factor. Include everything in your calculations-from getting ready, sending that last e-mail and preparing any necessary documents to traffic delays, finding parking and walking to the actual destination. Also, if you're going to a place you've never been before, make sure to add another 10 to 15 minutes to give yourself time to find the location.
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