FORGET "ON TIME" Be early! Late is unprofessional, irritating, and stressful, and it forces you to accept the dregs—the worst parking space, the last picks at the buffet, the leftovers at the big sale. Early says you're prepared and in control and allows you the first and best choices.

THINK BACKWARD Perpetually late people tend to think, The meeting's at 9, so I'll arrive at 9. No! Instead, start at 9 and work back through everything you need to do before you can sit down for the meeting—checking in with reception, hitting the bathroom, organizing things in the conference room. You might find that you need to arrive at 8:30 to be in your seat at 9.

CAUSE FOR ALARM If you often get caught up in a project and lose track of time, set your watch or a kitchen timer to remind you when it's time to drop what you're doing and go.

PLAN AHEAD Before going to bed each night, ask yourself, What's happening tomorrow? Get your clothes ready, your briefcase or bag packed, and your schedule outlined. Staying on top of what's going on in your life cuts back on nasty little surprises (and helps you sleep better!).

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