Are you always late to work? Do you feel embarrassed when you’re the last one to show up? Do you feel rushed and frazzled before meetings?

I’ve got five tips to help you to be punctual and appear more professional.

We all know that life happens at the most inconvenient times. You spill coffee on your blouse just as you are headed out the door. Your child has a meltdown just as you leave the driveway. You’re running a little behind, but it’s just enough to get you stuck in 30 extra minutes of traffic.

We all have our moments, but if you’re constantly making excuses for your tardiness– something has to change.

If you’re always late to the office, people may wonder: “If she can’t be on time, how can I trust her to meet work deadlines?” It may seem harsh, but chronic tardiness can be a red flag to other professionals about your work abilities. And, it can be seen as a sign of disrespect.

If you’re chronically late, here are five easy tips to help you break the cycle:

  1. Prepare the night before. Choose your outfit before you go to bed. Steam it and have it ready to wear as soon as you wake up. Do you take your lunch to work? If so, pack it in advance so it’s ready to grab out of the fridge in the morning.
  2. Set reminders. Do you procrastinate? Set reminders on your phone to give yourself a 30/15/10 minute warning before you have to get out the door.
  3. Give yourself a buffer to beat traffic. If you’re going to a new location for a meeting, map the route the night before. Plan for additional time in case there is traffic or any unknown detours.
  4. Follow the 15-minute rule. For meetings that take place outside of your office, arrive 15 minutes before the meeting is scheduled to begin. Use this time to announce yourself to the receptionist, use the restroom, review your materials, and silence your mobile device. This “extra” time helps you to arrive calm and prepared to perform at your best.
  5. Don’t give up. Habits are tough to change. But ending the habit of tardiness can be critical to your career success. Keep at it! You can do it!

At Spencer Crane Etiquette, our mission is to help you achieve career success on your terms. We think you are pretty great just as you are, but we know that mastering business etiquette skills can boost your confidence and give you an edge over the competition. Your success is our passion!

Stayce Wagner is the author of Modern Business Etiquette for Young & Fabulous Professionals, available at, the iTunes Store, and other major outlets. Stayce is the founder of Spencer Crane Etiquette, LLC, where business etiquette and authenticity are partners, not rivals. Our many services are designed to help you achieve success on your terms. We invite you to contact us today to discuss how we can help you with your business etiquette needs.