If you’re perpetually late to everything, I have to break something to you as someone who is punctual: we hate you. Okay, we may be joking, but this habit is shown to negatively affect your professional life, friendships, and relationships.
Contrary to what most believe, chronic lateness is a complex issue that goes beyond the individual being disorganised or inconsiderate. As studies have suggested, the root of the problem is typically entwined with the individual’s propensity for procrastination and issues with self-control or attention. Although there are of course positive traits associated with lateness as well, including optimism and creativity.
To further complicate the issue, different personality types naturally tend to be late for different reasons. For example, some are ambitious and want to pack their schedules without accounting for the potential delays, while others are simply easily distracted and lose track of time.
Regardless of the type of late person you are, the key is addressing the problem head on and making the necessary lifestyle changes needed to overcome this habit, as it will not only benefit those around you, but also your own stress levels and general wellbeing.
So now all there’s left to do is to think about the main reasons you’re always late, and check out the below tips & tricks to see how you can start your punctuality journey today.
*Please don't put this off.
These people follow timeframes that are clearly just not realistic. They may know the exact time down to the seconds it takes to get somewhere, but the fact is life happens and it doesn’t always work out the way you planned.
Solution: Reestablish timeframes by timing, for example, how long it takes you to get to work on a day where an unexpected event happens (e.g. had to go back to the house because you forgot something, traffic was especially bad, etc.). This way, you give yourself a time cushion.
These people just can’t seem to say goodbye, and get too involved with the task at hand. They get caught up in conversations and lose track of time.
Solution: Late people are told time and time again to set their clocks and watches 15 minutes early, but the issue is the person knows about the change, consequently taking it into account when managing their time. Alternatively, ask a friend to set your watch 0 - 15 minutes early for one week without you knowing the exact time, and then do so again the following week. This way, you’re never sure how early or late you’ll be, and will have no choice but to follow the time on your watch. Of course, it’s also important to end meetings and other engagements on time no matter how much you want to stay, and if your schedule is just too packed for you to ever be on time, then it may be necessary to carry out a life overhaul.
These people see no harm in arriving late because it’s their prerogative. They have been late for so much of their lives that they don’t see the point in making an effort to correct this. Verdict is still out on whether their case is terminal.
Solution: Sit down and physically write out a list of reasons to be on time. It can include cutting down on stress, decreasing tension with your boss, or fighting less with your significant other. The process of working through these thoughts will help clarify the benefits of punctuality, and motivate you to try harder to achieve this goal.
These people were taught at a young age that arriving late is in fact fashionable. They don’t just dislike waiting for others, but despise it. They’re just too good for that.
Solution: First start by shifting your mentality about the issue altogether. Not only is punctuality cool, people also like you more for it because they see you as respectful of their time. Also, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a coffee or checking your email as you wait. Think about it like this: once you’re punctual, you can get all high and mighty with the person you’re waiting for!
These people have good intentions, but can never seem to stay organised long enough to be on time for anything. Nothing’s really worked for them, so they’re inclined to just keep doing what they’re doing.
Solution: The only way to address this issue is simply to be more organised - the first step being identifying which aspect of your life is in chaos and correct it. If your room is too messy to get ready quickly, then work to declutter and recycle / toss unnecessary items. If you’re not one to plan out your day with a diary, then try the countless apps and other resources at your disposal to correct this. It's important to take a long-term approach to correcting this aspect of your life, so dedicate at least one month to test out a new system and you might just form a new (punctual) habit.
Author: Ching Lam Ip, Programme & Marketing Lead, Garage Society
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