What’s your relationship like with time? Do you consider it rude to be late or are you more relaxed when it comes to being prompt? Perhaps adhering to strict deadlines is appealing to you. It could be that you prefer a little more leeway with regard to completing tasks. If you’re someone who struggles with time management and would like to improve, it is possible. Keep these five tips in mind to help you be more punctual.

1. Make It Practical

If you’re always late, it might be a good idea to consider the practical ramifications of your tardiness. Have there been consequences in your life that have caused you problems or difficulties? Make a list of these practical issues and reflect upon the ways they’ve affected you over the years.

Being habitually late can cause rifts in relationships. It might negatively impact your work or school performance. Maybe you’re tired of feeling constantly stressed out about your time management. Understanding these consequences can give you more motivation to change your habits.

2. Write It Down

Sometimes it can be difficult to know how much time everyday tasks require. This is particularly true for people who have poor time management or who are time blind. You might misinterpret how long you spend doing certain things. In these instances, it’s easy to fall behind schedule or find yourself running out the door late.

To get a better idea of how you spend your time, take notes tracking your habits. Time your everyday activities, from each step of your morning routine to your daily commute to the primary tasks you complete throughout your day. Jot down the time each activity takes in order to better plan your schedule.

3. Don’t Overdo It

If you find yourself consistently late, it might be that you’re simply overscheduled. There are only so many hours in each day. When you put too much on your plate, it’s unreasonable to think you can move from one activity to the next in a timely manner. It might be a good idea to under schedule yourself for a month or so while you practice getting a handle on how long your regular activities take and as you practice your new time management approach. You can add more activities once you begin to feel confident in managing your current obligations.

4. Set Limits

Losing track of time or getting caught up in an activity is a sure way to find yourself being tardy. If you’re someone who tends to immerse yourself in what you’re doing or get carried away, losing all track of time, it could help you to set limits in advance.

Determine how long you want to spend on each activity and stick to those boundaries. Enlist the help of a timer or alarm to help you stay on track. Perhaps buy yourself a lovely pilot watch to incentivize keeping track of how fast the minutes fly by. You’ll get joy from looking at your new watch, so keeping track of how long you’re spending at the meeting or on writing the report will be easier. Any little trick can help. Set a strict beginning and end time for each activity and stick to them in order to stay on task.

5. Make a Plan

Part of time management involves organization and preparation. Once you get a feel for how long your tasks take, you can then sit down and try to figure out ways to streamline those tasks. Consider methods for saving time and for making things easier for yourself. For example, if you’re always running late in the morning, take steps to save some time during the morning rush. Choose your clothes and pack your lunch at night. Set your alarm to wake you a half-hour earlier.

When going somewhere new, get directions in advance. Perhaps it might be a good idea to drive the route ahead of time if possible so you can ensure you don’t end up losing the day of your event or appointment. Look for steps such as these to increase your time management.

These tips should provide you with a good start toward becoming more punctual. Trial and error will eventually lead to routines and practices that work for you.