Always late? Let’s fix it.

While chronically late people fall into several different personality types, the similarity that they share is that they’re bound by a habit. Most chronically late people have moments where they wish they would “just be on time”, but these bursts of motivation crumble under the heavy weight of habits. Eliminating these habits is not easy because once you take them away you leave a void in their place. The optimal approach is to replace the bad habit with a completely new, good habit.

Late personalities

These are some of the late personalities that I have recently come across, which sparked the idea for this article. Thank you late people!

Late and snobby: These type of people are purposely late because they feel that they are more important than someone else. They believe that their time is more valueable, which makes it okay to let people wait on them. What this need for importance really reveals is their insecurity. They use this tactic to boost up their esteem about their own lack of importance.

Late and absent minded: They couldn’t be on time if their life depended on it. A fogginess of the brain prevents these otherwise good willed people from getting somewhere on time or making a deadline. They just don’t get it, but perhaps some lessons in time management could tap into their real potential.

Late and rude: Some people aim to defy authority or disrespect the person that is waiting for them. While this behavior isn’t very nice, it still qualifies as chronic lateness because the hate for authority is constantly present. This is similar to the snobby personality that feels unimportant, but in this case the person feels a lack of self respect. If only they felt better about themselves they wouldn’t have this defiance.

Diana DeLonzor, author of “Never Be Late Again” places the chronically late into seven categories of her own, as per this article:

The rationalizer has a hard time acknowledging responsibility for lateness and tends to blame outside circumstances.

The producer wants to squeeze as much into every minute as possible; they are always busy.

The deadliner subconsciously enjoys the last-minute sprint to the finish line; they feel more alive when running out of time.

The indulger exercises less self-control; tends to procrastinate.

The rebel resists authority and everyday rules; might run late as a form of control.

The absent-minded professor is easily distracted, forgetful and caught up in their own introspection.

The evader feels anxiety about his or her environment and tries to control it; their own needs or routine come before being on time.

This same article goes into several ways to improve upon your tardiness.

Try doing things ahead of time and pay attention to how liberating it can feel.

By not procrastinating you remove a lot of pressure in your life. Plus, when things are done, you have plenty of time to get over to your appointments.

Plan to be 15 minutes early for engagements — then you’ll probably be on the dot. If you’re early, spend that time with a book or some to-do items.

This may seem like a waste of time to people on tight schedules and those trying to fit too many activities into one day. Consider that if you always arrive early, the worst that can happen is you’ll end up on time. A common misconception is that by arriving early a person loses time by being idle.

There are many productive alternatives to remaining idle. The extra 10-20 minutes could be used for updating your journal, brainstorming new goals that you would like to accomplish, listening to an educational audio tape, reading a book or a pre-printed blog article, socializing, and networking.

Make a daily plan, with a written schedule of your activities with start and end time estimates. This helps you see what you really have time for.

I suggest that you schedule things like meetings, as well as open blocks of time for where you could concentrate on major things on your to-do without interuptions. Don’t over schedule your day, it’s good to have some flexibility.

Set up a system of rewards and penalties. If you’re late to meet a friend, agree that coffee is on you. Or, if you’ve made lots of progress, reward yourself.

I’m very excited about this one and will put it into effect the very next time I have a lunch-date with a friend. I’ll let them know that if they’re late they’re treating. We’ll see how well this works.

Create mantras, such as, “It won’t get any easier in five minutes,” instead of hitting the snooze alarm for the fifth time.

That may be effective for some people, for others I recommend Steve Pavlina’s Early Riser article.

How Being Late Effects The Late

  • Missed dates, lost relationships
  • Missed meetings, lost jobs
  • Missed doctor’s appointments, missed diagnosis
  • Missed birthdays, lost friendships
  • General reputation of lateness and flakeness
  • People being fed up with you

Don’t let them get to you

If you’re letting late people get to you, you’re doing something wrong. You’re either upset with them because you know that you need to work on your own timing, you feel disrespected, or you hate losing time.

Solution: Eliminate your own lack of punctuality and issues with self respect, it’s your own game. You should always have something compact and handy to keep yourself productive and occupied that you could employ at anytime as I mentioned above.

Posted by in Productivity, Relationships | February 26, 2007 | Digg | | Stumble | Print | 17 comments

  • Pamela

    Being late is indeed a habit. I know several people who is always late even though they not to. I guess it’s about their time management which really needs help.

  • Alex Shalman

    Time management could be one of the reasons. E-mail them a copy of this article, see if it helps =)

  • Andy

    Interesting read. I am late on occasion, i guess when i am i fall under the “indulger” category! Procrastinating is a bad habit of mine.

  • Sania Wyatt

    I have a thing against the snob and rude latecomers! Simply no manners! I think you must write a post on the “Cures of Procrastination” for those people!

  • Alex Shalman

    You got it Sania, stay tuned!

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  • Culture Shiok!

    I think I’m the “late and absent-minded”

    I hope not to be late again tomorrow

    I’m trying to change…


  • Alex Shalman

    They say “trying is for tryers and doing is for doers”. Ok, to tell you the truth I just made that up, there is no “they”.

    Consider this paradigm: When your work starts at say 8am, what that really means, from the perspective of your employer is that you are there and ready to work at 8am. If you came in at 7:59, would you have all your things put away, have had a good breakfast, had all stretched out and gotten into your seat, comfortable, ready to face the challenges of the day?

    Probably not, so get there at a time that will have you be at that point and you’ll have a much more productive and enjoyable day. You’ll learn to relish and savor this pre-work ritual, which will naturally get you there on time.

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  • http://yahoo lenerwin

    am always late…and am simply sick of it!
    know what?i do wake two hours before the agreed time or before my class starts but am still late!(haha,well..the philippine traffic management has never been that good compared to those of the other countries…and am just sick of it!..) here!(for the filipino people…hmmm..aminin na natin..)

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  • Rodolfo Monterroso

    Hi, thanks for the article. I completely understand how people get upset at latecomers, I’m even upset when it happens. I am a latecomer, I admit it, and the problem is that I try so hard not to be one(even today I mentioned that I was a latecomer, and some hours later, I was late again to meet a friend). I get to arrive on time when I plan it very much, but usually I’m not planning it so arrive late, and I hate it so much. I’ll follow your advice, which is nothing but common sense, and I don’t understand how is it so hard for me to do it. I heard once that once you do something 23 days in a row, it starts becoming a habit, I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ll try to be on time during that lapse as a first goal.

  • Princess

    Im usually late…since grade school. Now that i am working, i havent changed this bad habit of mine. I think this is already my disease and til now i havent found the cure yet. I always encourage myself to change and not be late anymore…but i always fail. I hate being late. I ran out of excuses already.