Why You Need to Get a Plant Today

Image of plants

How do you show love and care to others on a regular basis? In what ways do you like to show your spouse that you care about them? How do you care for your family and friends? And if you have them, how do you show love to your children?

One of the hallmarks of being a lady is being empathetic to the needs of others. Feminine women know how to show others that they care about them, and that they are understanding and attune to the needs of others. The difference between feminine women and masculine women is in the effort made to think about how to care and support people other than themselves. They know how to listen carefully to loved ones to find ways that they can support them better. Perhaps that includes bringing soup to a friend feeling sick, baking muffins for a neighbor, or offering to drive a relative to a job interview. It might even include occasionally sending a friend a card or hand-written note to show them that you care. Feminine women are masters at recognizing ways to help others around them.

As I continue on my journey to to improve my sense of femininity, I am always looking for ways to improve myself every day. It sounds crazy, but one of the best ways to improve compassion for others is to start small and get a houseplant. I know, you’re probably thinking, how is a nonverbal, static houseplant going to help me improve my compassion for others? Plants are great way to train yourself to think about other entities on a regular basis for several reasons. First, having a plant improves your sensitivity to the needs of others. The only way to keep the plant thriving and healthy is to pay careful attention to its needs. Does your plant need new soil? Is the plant dry and limp? Does it need sunlight? As a plant owner, you will need to think carefully about what the plant needs to stay alive. Depending on the plant, some houseplants require more care than others―think orchids, not peace lilies―so you can actually train yourself to be more caring by purchasing very delicate plants.

Image of houseplants

Second, plants require regular and consistent care, and having one in your home reminds you that the world does not revolve around you all the time. Other people have needs too, and having a plant teaches you to think about things other than yourself and your needs. Much in the same way that plant owners must remind themselves to water and re-pot their plants, feminine women also might remind themselves to call a distance relative to check up on them, or to make plans to visit a long-distance friend.

If you are interested in learning how to improve your sense of femininity, start small by getting one plant, and build up to buying 10-12 plants for your home. Your home will look better as a result of your efforts. If you have enough space in your home, consider upping the ante and starting a small garden. At one point a few years ago, I had a small vegetable garden on my balcony that brought me so much joy! I could not wait to get home from work to check on my tomatoes and zucchinis. At the same time that I had my balcony garden, I spent a lot of time caring for my partner and friends, and I attribute some of that caring to my garden. If there was a barometer for care and kindness to others, my levels were off the chart that summer thanks to my garden!

How do you show love and care through plants? Take a photo of your plant and share it using the hashtag #ladiesagain.

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There Are No Ugly Women, Just Lazy Ones

Woman in front of flowers

I like to live on the edge sometimes by doing tasks at the very last minute. Boredom scares me, so I have a habit of jam-packing my schedule with too many activities. I end up rushing through a lot of tasks just to finish all of the projects I started. As a consequence of this line of thinking, I struggle to look presentable on a regular basis. I want to sleep in as long as possible, so I wake up 30 to 40 minutes before I need to begin my commute. I end up trying to toast waffles while I’m brushing my teeth. I get to the office on time (some days), but I don’t look nearly as presentable and glamorous as I would like to be. Occasionally, when I arrive at work, I notice that my shirt is wrinkled, my hair is messier than it should be, and there is not a stitch of makeup on my face. Not sexy.

Makeup transformation image
This woman is gorgeous because she makes the effort.

It’s been said that there are no ugly women, just lazy ones. If I look rushed and disheveled, it is because I did not set aside the time needed to look my best. But there is hope! My inability to pull it together before I leave the house is not a poor reflection on my character; it just means that I need to work harder to refine and improve my morning routine. Some of you may also struggle with getting out the door as well. In the end, what can we do to change our behavior so that we appear more polished every day?

First, accept that you are not perfect. You may perform well in one area of your life and be disorganized in another. A person high in openness may be low in neuroticism. I am a very organized person at work and at home, but I struggle with punctuality. Knowing this about myself, I know that it is unlikely that I will magically wake up two hours before work to beautify myself. Try not to be hard on yourself. Understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Second, once you figure out your strengths and weaknesses, find ways to work around your shortcomings. I understand that I am not a morning person. To make up for that, I recently started laying out my clothes the night before, deciding in advance how my shirts will match my pants and shoes. I also select my accessories at night. By doing this, I save time in the morning and I know when I get to work that my outfit looks presentable and professional. I also have time to iron my clothes properly at night, so I do not have to rush in the morning! Others save time in the morning by preparing breakfast foods at night.

Third, understand that patience is a virtue. When it comes to being presentable, some things, such as doing one’s hair or selecting clothes for the day, should not be rushed. It sounds crazy, but I prefer to do my makeup a little later after I leave the house, like at work, so that I do not rush through applying my makeup. By doing it a little bit later in the morning, I know that I am fully awake and can dedicate time to applying my makeup carefully. There are great workarounds for looking fabulous: If you can’t do your makeup at home, bring a small makeup with you; If you can’t do your hair in the morning, bring your hair materials with you. Keep your heels in the trunk of your car if you need to do so.

How do you maintain a polished look every day? Share your tips below!

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Spring Beginnings at Ladies Again

We’re now in the thick of the spring season, and new beginnings are already starting to form for us here at Ladies Again. The latest news is that we have a new writer, known mononymously as Camille, who explores beauty, social class, and female social dynamics. Camille currently moderates several subreddit discussion forums on Reddit that are active in the femininity-discussion space, such as Feminine Not Feminist and Red Pill Wives.

Snapshot of Feminine Not FeministWith Red Pill Wives, Camille says that she gets the opportunity to facilitate abstract and theoretical conversations about femininity. “My goal with that community is to encourage women to celebrate femininity and think a bit bigger, question their worldviews and assumptions,” said Camille. She started the Feminine Not Feminist (FNF) subreddit to give conservative beauty-lovers a space to breathe.

“[Feminine Not Feminist] started a couple of months ago because Reddit’s beauty communities are either really shallow or super leftist. Anytime a woman left a conservative comment she received downvotes and harassment….Several women from multiple subreddits reached out to me―complete strangers at the time―they saw me calling out other women for being hypocritical leftist bullies.

“The goal for FNF is to have a community of like-minded women discussing all things beauty related, obsessing over products, venting about frustrations, and of course having more in depth discussions where we don’t get punished for thinking differently!” she writes. Camille will soon launch a new blog, called, Aesthetic Distance, which will focus on beauty, class, and female social dynamics.

Conservatism and Grace BlogWe also have new updates from our contributor Candace Graves, who runs her blog Conservatism & Grace. She has spent the last few months keeping busy with a new job and a new focus on her health.

“Receiving chiropractic care, nutritional advice, vitamin injections, and supplement support has helped me to ‘optimize’ my health,” she writes. “As a young woman who hopes to be a future wife and mother, I think it is very important to take care of yourself while you are still healthy―before you get sick!

She has most recently been able to focus Conservatism & Grace more on her faith as a Christian.

“It’s honest and raw―simply documenting my struggles and victories in my daily walk with Christ,” she said.

Moving into spring and summer, she is excited to continue learning about how to thrive as a feminine woman. She plans to read the classic book “Fascinating Womanhood” by Helen Andelin.

Marry MoneyOne of our writers is switching careers and joining the technology field. For the past few months, longtime writer African Femininity attended coding bootcamps, where she learned to code. She landed a job as a software developer at a government contracting firm, and is excited to see what life as a coder will bring. African Femininity started a new project to build the website Marry Money Plan, where she educates people about benefits, risks and implications of social climbing through marriage. She recently celebrated her 33rd birthday, and is now interested in focusing on nurturing her closest relationships, building her financial legacy for her family and getting healthy.

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Relationships Are Hard, But Why?

Couple in the Park

It’s been a very busy few months for all of us at Ladies Again. I joined a salsa dance team (to learn how to be more feminine, of course) and African Femininity started a fabulous new job. We’re also in the process of bringing on new writers to Ladies Again, so that is exciting!

Sometime in the last month, through the rush of all of the things going on in my life, I set aside some time to watch a short TED Talk called “Relationships Are Hard, But Why?” While watching the video, I had an epiphany: So much about what we’ve written on Ladies Again has been about attracting the right person and learning to be more feminine for that person, that it never occurred to me that it was possible that we could be the cause for our own negative relationship issues. I never realized that early childhood attachment issues could re-emerge during adulthood. According to Dr. Stan Tatkin, the TED Talk speaker, attachment issues have the power to negatively influence our ability to maintain healthy functioning relationships.

Dr. Tatkin defines people as anchors, waves and islands. Those individuals who are waves and islands experienced insecure attachment relationships during their formative first years. He defines the three groups in the following ways (summarized by Clinton Power):

Characteristics of Islands

People who are islands tend to:

  • like to be alone, enjoy their own space
  • have been raised to be self-sufficient and tend to avoid people
  • learn early on not to depend on people
  • often feel crowded in intimate relationships
  • be in a world of their own
  • self-soothe and self-stimulate
  • not turn to others for soothing or stimulation
  • find it hard to shift from being alone to interacting
  • under express their thoughts and feelings
  • process a lot internally

Characteristics of Waves

People who are waves tend to:

  • feel a great deal with their emotions
  • have strong attachments in childhood, but they were inconsistent
  • have helped soothe a parent or both parents who were overwhelmed
  • have felt rejected or turned away by one or both parents
  • focus on external regulation: asking others to help them soothe them
  • find it hard to shift from interacting to being alone
  • over-express and like to talk about all the details
  • stay in close physical contact to others
  • often think they are too much and nobody can tolerate them

Characteristics of Anchors

People who are anchors tend to:

  • come from a family where there was an emphasis on relationships
  • have experienced justice, fairness and sensitivity in their family
  • love to collaborate and work with others
  • read faces, voices and deal with difficult people well

Do any of these descriptions sound familiar? Read more in Tatkin’s illuminating book “Wired for Dating.”

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How Intentional Self-Care Can Increase Your Femininity

Getting a manicure

Have you ever left the house in grungy clothes, without your hair or makeup done, because you thought you wouldn’t see anyone you know? This mindset seems common among young women. Modern-day dress codes are remarkably relaxed compared to what they were a couple of generations ago. (Don’t even get me started on leggings!) Unless you work in a traditional corporate environment, you probably don’t have to dress up regularly. And by “dressing up,” I don’t just mean wearing business clothes; I mean putting time into your hair, making sure your hands are manicured, and polishing your shoes. Think about it – when was the last time you polished a pair of shoes?!

Say No to Leggings

On top of this generational change, we feel as though we can be especially careless when no one is around. Working from home? Why not stay in your pjs! Staying in to catch up on chores? Forgo the morning routine!

These habits may seem harmless; maybe even an improvement from the rigorous appearance expectations of generations past, but they may be diminishing our femininity. Plus, what message do you communicate to others (and to yourself) when you only feel the need to look nice when you will see specific people? It seems to me that this whispers the idea that I am “less” on my own; that my value comes through being validated by others. This is clearly a degrading idea when written out on paper, so why do we behave this way? Trading self-care for convenience subtly eliminates our unique feminine aura that make us so different from men.

To remedy this problem, I suggest that we start putting more effort into our looks for the sake of ourselves. I personally struggle with this because I’m a very low-maintenance person. When left to my own devices, my appearance turns into a frizzy, wrinkled mess. I’ve even worn clothes that smelled like mildew because I was too lazy to remove my clothes them from the washing machine in time! This behavior may be suitable for a male college student, but certainly not for a feminine woman. And I definitely don’t want to bring these habits into my future marriage. If you also hope to be married, realize that marriage won’t change you into a new person with new habits. That is why we must improve ourselves now.

If you live in a cold climate, winter is the perfect time to put some self-care into practice. I’ve started to regularly exfoliating my skin by making homemade sugar scrub with three ingredients: granulated sugar, essential oil (lavender works great), and an oil, such as olive or coconut. I’m actually killing two birds with one stone because the scrub is a handy way to use up the refined sugar I’m trying to cut out of my diet. Another habit to pick up in the dead of winter when there’s nothing going on is to draw a relaxing, hot bath. Add Epsom salts and essential oils to your bath water to detoxify and relax. If you’re really feeling motivated, light some candles and put some music on. After a few nights of treating yourself to these mini spa sessions, the week won’t seem normal without them!

So what I’ve learned from this experiment in self-care for the sake of self-care is that when you treat yourself poorly when you’re alone, it really does affect your outlook. Taking time to treat yourself well can very possibly “change your life,” because even though others may not notice, you will know that you’re wearing underwear that matches your bra, that your cuticles are trimmed and moisturized, that your hair is regularly trimmed, and that you floss your teeth everyday — and consequently have excellent gum health. Even small changes can boost your confidence levels. And we all know how attractive confidence is in men and women.

Maybe you think you are too busy to add self-care to your schedule. Well, we are all busy, but after considering the changes that can happen in your life, why not make time to do things like have your nails done (or do your own manicure), keep your ends trimmed, and perhaps re-work your budget to get an occasional massage? (The benefits of massage are well-documented, by the way. We also wrote about massage techniques before.)

After implementing some new habits into your life, you may start to notice that you are becoming a softer, more gentle person. As you treat your body and mind gently, you may in-turn treat the world more gently. This has a profound effect on the way that people react to you. For example, treating
men with genuine respect may result in men, if they are worth their salt, showing appropriate affection toward you!

Speaking of the way you treat your mind, intentional self-care cannot be limited to our physical bodies. We must also care for our minds and spirits. The Bible instructs us to guard our hearts with all vigilance, for from them flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). Our brains are constantly processing information from the media, TV, movies, friendships,  relationships, and basically everything we’re exposed to.

Consider also this passage:

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or
praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

We must be the guardians of our hearts, and the way we do that is by carefully choosing what we allow into our minds. In addition to the  information we consume, we also must be conscious of what we say. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Perverse speech can break the spirit. (Yes, more Bible verses – they just pop into my mind!) Dwell on what is true, and speak what is true in love. This will profit our overall health. Humans are made of mind, body, and spirit – and good health means that all three of these components work together harmoniously.

To bring all of this information to a point: femininity is about having a spirit of openness. When we “tie up the loose ends” of our personal care routine, we become more confident and open to receive from others. As our insecurities start to diminish, we can love others well through vulnerability. So slow down and introduce some tender love and care into your life. As they say, to love others you must first love yourself.

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How to Keep Your Cool Like a Lady

Image of Image of Omarosa Manigault

Worldwide, women are thought by men and other women to be highly emotional, sensitive and reactive. In fact, many cultures (think parts of the Middle East and Africa) believe that all women are hysterical and are likely to behave in irrational and illogical ways when given the opportunity. This kind of stereotype has been used to oppress, demean and marginalize women for years.

Obviously, it is unfair and inaccurate to paint a broad brush and call all women hysterical, but there seems to be an element of truth to the sexist stereotype that women are more emotional than men. Women are more sensitive to negative emotions, according to one study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology and conducted by researchers at the Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal and the University of Montreal. Researchers found that subtle differences in brain function affect how the sexes respond to negative imagery.

Sex differences in the stressful reactions to coping with negative daily life events also have been found (Matud, 2004), and observation data of women’s written and verbal behavior tends to find women express more negative emotions than men do (e.g., Burke et al., 1976; Levenson et al., 1994)
– From the article “Are Women More Emotional Than Men?”

It’s reasonable to conclude that women can be more emotional than men at times. But here’s my question: Now that we know that women can be more emotional, should this fact define our reality as women? There must be a way that we can co-exist (and even thrive!) with men without helplessly succumbing to the ups and downs of our emotions. In my own life, I have felt overwhelmed by a surge of emotions at work or with friends and family. For me, those moments come and go occasionally, but I recognize that many women struggle to maintain their composure under stress. So what can be done?

I recommend that women take a professional public relations approach to keeping cool under stress, where they understand that their primary objective is to uphold a respected public profile at all costs. You can react in private in your own way, but in public, you need to stay calm. Having worked professionally in communications for many years, I understand that image is everything since the impressions you make on others dictate the kind of opportunities you may have access to later. One bad blowup can cost you a job, friendship or opportunity in the future, so it is important for your own sake to stay calm when faced with stress. On top of all of this, there something wonderful to be said about a woman who can maintain her cool under pressure.

I was motivated to write about this subject when I saw an interview with the very polished and articulate Omarosa Manigault, the reality television villain and current director of communications for the Trump Administration’s Office of Public Liaison. Not long ago, Omarosa kept her cool when she appeared on the television show “The View,” despite facing combative and catty behavior from many co-hosts on that show. By going on that show, she knew that she was walking into a storm of hate and accusations, but Omarosa succeeded because she followed many basic crisis communications principles (learn more about crisis communications from PRSA).

If you would like to learn how to stay calm under stress, you can apply many of the same four crisis communications principles below to a stressful situation as well:

  • Preparation
  • Teamwork
  • Perspective
  • Practice

I’ll outline these principles by using Omarosa’s appearance on The View as an example.

Preparation

Omarosa probably watched “The View” before appearing on the show to get a better understanding of the show’s co-hosts and the kind of questions they would ask. She has probably heard of Joy Behar, and her habit of becoming overly emotional and unprofessional during conversations. Joy Behar has a habit of cutting off guests when they speak, so Omarosa likely prepared for that kind of immature behavior. Omarosa also likely learned ahead of time that many of the talk show hosts are liberal, so she prepared for that also. I know that Omarosa prepared for hostile dialogue because she taunted Joy Behar at one point by telling her that “I know it’s gotta be really hard after the last year and a half, of all the things that you said about Donald to see him sitting in the Oval Office.” Ha!

We can all adopt this principle. Understand your stress limits and decide whether you can handle a stressful environment before you go into it. Omarosa can handle an environment like “The View,” but many other people could not handle a situation that hostile.

Teamwork

Having worked in communications for several years, I am sure that Omarosa and a team of her colleagues worked together to prepare a number of taking points before her interview. Work with other people who support you when you are under stress (or preparing for a stressful situation).

Work and repeat your talking points (or your story) until you understand the points backwards and forwards. Say the points until you believe them in your soul. Then go into your stressful situation knowing that you are right and the other side is always wrong. Effective public relations is all about repetition, repetition, repetition. If you falter on your points, you lose.

Perspective

Step out of the crisis or stressful event for a second and realize that it is not the end of the world. Whether you lose your job, or lose a boyfriend or get into an argument with a friend, the world will keep chugging along. In the case of Omarosa, she probably went into the debate understanding that the opinions of the talk show hosts do not matter in the long run. Joy Behar talks for a living, and she does not dictate federal policy. Behar’s opinions are almost completely irrelevant to Omarosa’s livelihood. Understand when you are in a stressful environment that you can only control so much. The moment will pass eventually.

Practice

Understand your own story and your own motivations, then communicate them clearly. Omarosa repeated the same points throughout the interview, and spoke slowly and directly to her audience. Make sure that you own your own points when faced during a crisis.

Any other tips for staying calm under pressure? Or just think Omarosa was wrong for defending herself? Tell us in the comments below.

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The One Way to Please A Man that Every Woman Must Know

Photo by Tara Angkor Hotel via Flickr.

I’ve spent a great deal writing about dating for Ladies Again, but I knew that eventually I would have to move on to explore greener pastures once I finally sailed into the long-term dating seas. It seems like the moons aligned and I have finally started to date someone that I like very much–and he also likes me very much in return. Fancy that happening! So onward we sail.

Now that I’m dating someone special, I will have to push my first-date skills to the side, and develop a new set of skills. I should mention that I did date someone for many years ages ago, so that experience allowed me to learn a number of things about relationships. First, a person should never stop working to impress their spouse. Just because a person is in a relationship does not mean that they can get comfortable and gradually stop exercising, applying makeup or continuing their grooming habits. Second, and most importantly, a person should also work to find ways to show their spouse that they care about their well-being and happiness. Whether it be bringing them flowers, surprising them with gifts, or cooking them meals, there are a number of ways to show a spouse that you are lucky to have them in your life.

One great way to show a spouse that you care about their health and well-being is to give them a great full-body massage. A massage is an intimate, loving way to both surprise your mate and tend to their physical and mental well-being. Massages lower stress cortisol, improve circulation and loosen tight muscles. Any woman who can learn basic massaging techniques is a smart woman because doing so will give her an advantage over other women who are not aware of the calming and healing power of the massage. A man will cherish and love a woman who takes the time to make sure that her man is cared for and relaxed.

Grab some massage oil and get ready to give a great massage. Here’s a few techniques that every woman should know:

Learn Swedish Style

Swedish massage therapy is geared to relax the entire body. In this style of massage, this is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. Think of massaging in long, slow strokes across the body.

Try Therapeutic Style

There are certain aspects of the body that are sore from overuse and improper form, and therapeutic massages are particularly helpful for certain tight areas of the body. With deep tissue massage, focus on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints). Therapeutic massages are great for men who are prone to straining their neck to stare at computer devices. If you want to give your man a treat after work, knead your thumbs into his neck and shoulders to get out the tight kinks.

Focus on Tight Areas

If you are short on time, focus on areas of the body that are overused and stressed from repetitive and often aggressive movements. Try massaging the shoulders, lower back, knees, buttocks and hands.

Massage the Scalp

Everyone loves a great scalp massage, if you don’t believe that, then you’ve never had a decent scalp massage. Get the blood flowing to the scalp by rubbing the scalp in slow and circular motions.

What are your massage techniques? Share in the comments below.

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5 Tips for Discussing Politics with Grace

Image of woman speaking

Social media has slowly eviscerated the delicacy with which we used to handle subjects like politics and religion. These controversial conversations were once held in-person and only in appropriate situations, such as with close friends or with family members. But today we see everyone’s thoughts broadcasted on social media and personal blogs.

Some would argue that increased transparency is good because now we can openly discuss the most important issues of the day. But when you’re hiding behind a screen, you tend to communicate with more callousness than the decency that in-person discourse necessitates.

A sign of a mature, confident woman is that her value is not threatened by losing an argument. So how can we remain feminine while sharing our political views? Here are five tips:

  1. Use diplomacy. In other words, show kindness! Diplomacy requires emotional intelligence and empathy, because you need to try to understand where the other person is coming from. Know that every person comes to the table with their own set of presuppositions. Try to begin the conversation with warmth, understanding, and slowness to speak. This will disarm your ideological opponents and set a great tone for a meaningful exchange, because no matter how “right” you or or how much the facts are on your side, the message won’t get through if the person feels unheard.
  2. Find common ground. Piggybacking off of diplomacy, it’s also important to find common ground with your opponent. Even if your political opinions stand polar opposite, it’s likely you both believe that your ideas will lead to the betterment of mankind; you just believe the avenues to get to that betterment are different. Finding common ground helps to humanize one another, and really helps to keep things civil.
  3. Leave emotions out of it. Both men and women tend to show emotion when debating about controversial topics, but women’s minds in particular operate in a much more fluid manner as opposed to men’s minds, which are very compartmentalized. This is why women infamously bring up “side issues” when arguing with their men. Manipulating an emotional response is a logical fallacy and has no room in the debate arena. There are many ways to practice debating based on logic. Once you’ve become familiar with fallacies, you’ll be able to recognize them in your opponent’s arguments. After you point them out, room opens up for the actual ideas to stand or fall based on merit.
  4. Don’t swear. A lady should never use foul language (something I’m trying to de-program out of my own mind, as I have picked up the ugly habit over the past year.) Much like overuse of emotion, swearing can de-legitimize your argument. A wise man once said, “Don’t raise your voice; improve your argument.” An idea that you feel 100% confident in will not need to be defended with yelling or cursing. If your opponent starts doing this, it might be a sign that their idea cannot be defended on its merit.
  5. End the conversation on a warm note. While we all want to feel that we’ve “won” an argument, it’s a fact of life that sometimes we will lose! No matter the outcome, each participant should have the humility to end cordially and with openness to future discourse.

Strong ideas presented with diplomacy are a beautiful thing to witness! It’s never easy to find the perfect balance of truth and love, but it’s worth the effort if you truly believe that your worldview is superior and know that others would benefit from adopting those ideas. In an internet age, this is something we ALL can improve.

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Ladies are Always on Time

Woman Rushing

You’re meeting a friend for dinner, and you were supposed to be there at 2:00 p.m. Traffic is moving at a turtle’s pace. You rush to park and you run into the restaurant sweaty and flustered. It’s 2:47 p.m. and you’re late again. Sound familiar?

If you’re like me, you may have had similar struggles getting to places on time. I call it being “punctually-challenged.” Getting anywhere has always been a very serious struggle for me. I’ve been late to dinners, weddings, graduations, exams, and hair appointments. I have always known that I have had a problem with punctuality, but I did not seriously confront the issue until I missed a flight earlier this year, and I had to pay quite a bit of money to buy a last-minute replacement ticket. Not only did I have to pay for the extra ticket, but I missed an important meeting because of the flight delay.

Eventually, I had to admit the truth: Regardless of the exact reasons for my tardiness, my inability to show up on time was turning me into a person who was unreliable, rude and inconsiderate. These are all qualities that are neither feminine nor caring. Even though I may have had very legitimate reasons for being late from time to time, it was ultimately my fault I was late at the end of the day. I could have added more time to my schedule to prepare, and I chose not to do so.

Never Be Late book cover.
Never Be Late book cover.

All hope is not lost, because there are a number of ways to curtail frequent tardiness. To learn how to improve my timeliness skills, I sought out Diana DeLonzor’s book “Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctuality Challenged.” In the book, DeLonzor describes a few of the root causes of lateness and procrastination, such as genetics, anxiety, attention deficit disorders and indulgent childhood experiences. Some people are thrill-seekers who need a sense of urgency to get things done, while others have a hard time saying “no” to meetings and tasks. DeLonzor argues that punctually-challenged people have time management issues for a variety of issues, such as a lack of discipline and goal-setting skills. Additionally, DeLonzor states that a large number of procrastinators have time perception issues, where they think that it takes less time than it actually does to complete work assignments.

The first step to curing tardiness issues is to take responsibility for your lateness. Decide that it is unacceptable to be late. When you decide to meet at a particular time, you are making a promise to your friends and employers to be responsible. Start to think of lateness as a “promise broken or as a loan unpaid.”

“Many people rationalize their lateness by attributing it to factors beyond their control or by minimizing the selfishness of the act,” DeLonzor writes in the book. “Yet in failing to acknowledge and take responsibility for our actions, we hamper efforts to improve.”

The next step of curbing your lateness is to change the way that you think about waiting time, such as when you are early or bored. I had an issue getting places early because I did not want to just sit around and wait for the other person to arrive. After all, bored time is wasted time, right? Wrong! Fill that time doing something that you like to do, such as reading a magazine. You can write in a journal when you have free time. Or just look out at the sunset. I now carry a small book with me everywhere so that I can always read in my extra down time. Always plan to get to your meeting early, rather than exactly on time. Aim to get places 10-30 minutes early, that way you have a buffer in case something goes wrong that causes a delay in your schedule.

Find a way to say “no!” to yourself by repeating a personal mantra. Procrastinators tend to pile on activities to fill their day, so they often convince themselves that they can get everything done smoothly, even when they cannot. DeLonzor explains:

“Create a mantra to curb your optimism. Instead of saying ‘If I hurry, I can …,’ slow down for a few minutes, take a deep breath and think about what you’re doing. Then repeat one of the following mantras: ‘Am I being realistic or optimistic?’ ‘Am I doing too much?’ ‘Is this something I really need to do now?'”

DeLonzor offers a number of exercises to help the punctually-challenged curtail their timeliness issues. Overall, it’s a great read for anyone who has experienced issues getting places on time.

What are your strategies for getting places on time? Share them in the comments below?

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