There’s a Reason You’re Always Late

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Being an INTJ, you can pretty much count on me showing up on time with everything I need.   Somebody that organized often drives other people insane.

But on the other side, people who are late, and especially habitually late, drive me nuts.   I once had an employee who was exactly 20 minutes late every morning for work.   I coached her about her tardiness.   She said she couldn’t help being late.   I said – get up 20 minutes earlier.   She did–and was still late. I changed her hours, and she was still late.   To my relief, within a few months she transferred to another office. Eventually she left the company. She could never manage to get to work on time.  

Why are people chronically late?   For some, I think,   it’s time management skills, others ambivalence, anxiety or some other internal psychological state.

According to Diana DeLonzor, author of “Never Be Late Again” (Post Madison Publishing) and a former late person, many late people tend to be both optimistic and unrealistic, she said, and this affects their perception of time. They really believe they can go for a run, pick up their clothes at the dry cleaners, buy groceries and drop off the kids at school in an hour. They remember that single shining day 10 years ago when they really did all those things in 60 minutes flat, and forget all the other times that everything took much, much longer.

Do you think this is the case–that people who are late all the time really don’t have a good grasp of time?


One thought on “There’s a Reason You’re Always Late

  1. I used to be late to things fairly regularly, before I had kids. Part of that had to do with the fact that I am not a morning person. (Having kids fixed that!) Also I underestimated how long it would take me to get ready, or travel time.

    Another reason for being late is I don’t like to be early. I don’t know what to do with myself when I arrive someplace early. So, often I leave myself only just enough time to get there, and if it takes longer than expected I’m late. Nowadays I make sure to bring something to read, or use waiting time to flip through my planner.

    My dad is habitually late to everything. He always has to do just “one more thing” before he leaves. He also underestimates how long it takes to do things. For example, if he has 15 minutes before he needs to leave to go somewhere, he’ll mow the lawn. Which takes about 45 minutes. He has missed many flights because he leaves his hotel at about the time he should be boarding the plane. I’ve never understood why.

    I have a friend now who is habitually late. She has 4 kids and doesn’t use a planner of any kind (which is completely foreign to me!). I asked her why she doesn’t even put reminders in her phone and she said she always remembered everything fine before she had kids, so she feels like she should be able to do it now with kids. I’ve noticed she also does “one more thing” before going out the door, and tends to leave at the time when she should be arriving somewhere.

    I guess there are deep psychological reasons for being late!

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