Being on time to things is a great way to look like you 100 percent have your shit together, even if you actually don't. It really doesn't take that much work to become a magical, always-on-time unicorn.
1. Go to every single thing 20 minutes early, then hang out and browse Instagram outside until you can roll up exactly on time, totally calm and collected. Trying to arrive exactly on time is tricky, especially with our unreliable transport system and traffic situation. It's so improbable that it's actually stressful, when the whole point of getting to places on time is to eliminate stress. Just cheat and arrive early.
2. Have a designated place near the door where you leave the bag you'll need for the next day, packed with headphones and any other little thing you carry every day. You might think you know where you left your keys or that your iPod is definitely in your bag, but you're prob wrong. Searching for missing essential items can take five minutes or five hours. Save yourself the drama and have all that stuff set out near the door before you go to bed.
3. Get a silk pillowcase and do your hair the night before. Then you'll only have to do little fixes the next morning, instead of giving yourself a full blowout before a 9 a.m. meeting in Alabang. No one will know the difference in the end, and you get to sleep knowing you look hot AF.
4. Avoid scheduling yourself back to back, because something will definitely run late and mess up your entire day. Having a day full of meetings that starts when the previous one ends is just setting yourself up for failure. Also: it's stressful AF.
5. Tell all your chronically late friends that dinner is at 6:30 when your reservation is actually at 7, because you'll be damned if Mika makes you miss your reservation by not being there when you're table's ready again. That whole rule about not seating a party until everyone's at the restaurant is basically just a way of weeding out the latecomers and weaklings from your friend group.
6. Actually get up when your alarm goes off instead of treating the snooze button like it's even an option. If you look at your phone and see 17 alarms that are all for getting you out of bed in the morning, I'm gonna take a guess and say you're probably chronically late. The extra five minutes of troubled, alarm-ridden sleep you get pressing snooze is not worth showing up a hot mess to work.
7. When you have a little extra time, don't start a task you know you don't have time to finish. This is something chronically late people (sheepishly raises hand) have a serious problem with, because they're usually so surprised by the fact that they have extra time they don't have to spend rushing out the door that they get overly ambitious and start a million chores. And then guess what happens? That lovely little five minute window that you could've spent leisurely heading to your next meeting turns into being 15 minutes late, because you just had to reorganize your planner, didn't you?
8. Put every single thing—even little things like "do laundry" and "drinks with Alex"—on your calendar, so you know exactly when you're busy and where your time is going. It seems silly to put fun things on a calendar when calendars feel like they are for Very Serious Work Events, but it's the only way to make sure you never double-book a date.
9. Invest in a coffee pot with a timer on it, because let's be honest, you're never going to get up early enough to make coffee every single morning. Cut time and wake up to hot coffee every day by just buying a nicer coffee pot with a timer—do you actually taste a difference between that and your fancy pour over anyway?
10. Straight up lie to yourself and set every single clock in your house and car 10 minutes ahead. If you know the only way you'll leave your house on time is if you think you're actually running late, trick yourself into thinking you're always running late. This'll work great until you start getting angry at friends for somehow always showing up 10 minutes late (taste of your own medicine, maybe?).
11. Learn how to gracefully (but assertively) exit social situations in which people are blabbing on and on. This may be as simple as saying, "That's so interesting! I actually have a meeting to get to, but let's talk about this later." Or whatever. There's no need to be late just because you were scared of telling Dan to please shut up or else he was gonna make you late.
12. Set alarms for important events, so you know exactly when to call an Uber, walk out the door, start saying your goodbyes, or whatever. It's not enough to just have a random reminder an hour before something starts. Use your phone alarm to make sure you have enough time allotted for giving all your 15 family members their parting hugs before you end up being late, because your tita just wouldn't let go.
13. Just have a nice baseline level of respect for other peoples' time, and acknowledge that being late is basically another way of saying, "You're less valuable than whatever meaningless bullshit I was doing that made me late." If you start thinking of being late as a metaphorical slap in the face to all the people who deign to show up on time, you'll probably stop being late all the time. If not, maybe you're just a rude B. Whatever! Find other late people to hang out with.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.