UGN_PunctualTight deadlines, a daily planner full of meetings, and little wiggle room in your schedule. Sound familiar?

If you’re like most business leaders, your days are scheduled, and filled with status updates, new business meetings, planning sessions, and internal discussions on a variety of topics. There is not a minute to waste. You value punctuality in yourself, and in your team, which is why it's frustrating when someone shows up late.

In a Fast Company article, contributor Stephanie Vozza talks with Diana DeLonzor, author of Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challengedabout four traits the chronically punctual share.

According to DeLonzer:

Repetitive lateness is more often related to personality characteristics such as anxiety or a penchant for thrill-seeking. Most chronically late people truly dislike being late, but it’s a surprisingly difficult habit to overcome.

Punctual People are Realistic Thinkers

Punctual people can realistically look at a project and estimate just how long it will take to complete, but it is a skill that requires constant practice.

DeLonzor suggests relearning how to tell time is one way to develop realistic habits.

Try this exercise: Write down how long you think it takes you to get ready for work in the morning by task. For one week, track how long each of these tasks actually take and compare them to your initial estimates.

Chronically late people are often off on their time estimates by 25 to 30 percent.

Punctual People

Give Themselves Buffer Time

The most punctual people are regularly early to even the most ordinary meeting because they allow plenty of time for the unexpected: Unusually high volumes of traffic, a detour, or a full parking garage.

Being late makes punctual people stressed out and they don’t like feeling rushed. Late people get stressed out from being late, too, but they don’t strive to be early; they tend to time things to the minute.

Punctual People are Organized

According to DeLonzor, nearly 50 percent of our daily routine is automatic and built on habit. 

Our lives are filled with habits — from the way you brush your teeth to how you get dressed and leave for work.

The chronically punctual often have highly structured routines, and they stick to them. In contrast, chronically late people often don’t follow routines and schedules. They leave too much up to chance, and when things go wrong, “simply hope that tomorrow will be better.”

Routine and preparation go a long way in keeping to a strict time schedule.

Punctual People are Comfortable with Downtime

Punctual people have no problem arriving early to a meeting or an appointment. The know this allows for final preparation, or even a chance to catch up on emails and social networks.

It’s really about effective time management and plugging in quick tasks when you have a spare five or ten minutes.

If you’re uncomfortable with downtime, DeLonzor recommends bringing something along to fill those spare moments.

Knowing that you have something to occupy your time will help.