Health & Wellness

Addressing Chronic Lateness – Turning Lives From Late to Great!

Chronic latenessChronic lateness is another term for being regularly tardy. People who are chronically late may experience negative emotions such as anxiety, panic, and stress. Most understand that being late is preventable, yet they continue the disruptive practice even though it sends their lives into tailspins. Here are five examples:

• Jill has a toothache but runs late for her dentist appointment. She is so late; her dentist cancels her appointment.
• Pete must pick up the kids at school. He just remembered and is running way behind. The kids fear being forgotten.
• Aaliyah has a job interview. She arrives twenty minutes late. Off the bat, she knows that the interviewer will refuse to hire her.
• Chris is managing a new hair salon and has the main door key. Because he is late, the employees are forced to sit outside in their cars during a thunderstorm.
• Onveer must go to the DMV. He knows if he gets an early start, he can be first in line. But he is late and must now wait in line for two hours.

In each of these scenarios, chronic lateness has caused major headaches. Most likely, the unpleasant outcome of each scenario could have been easily prevented. Imagine if Aaliyah had been on time. She might be working her dream job right now. Or, had poor Jill been punctual, her toothache would be gone. Both Chris and Pete would have made others around them feel better, and Onveer wouldn’t be stuck in a long, long, line for his new driver’s license.

Another thing: it is quite common for people who are running late to save face or try to justify why they are late. While it is generally done to prevent embarrassment, this can turn a normally honest person into one who tells white lies about “traffic,” or into a person who makes up elaborate stories such as having to wait for an alligator to cross the road. Others can still feel let down, hurt, or angry, even when the truth is told, such as I didn’t leave early enough. And, often, there is no valid reason for being late, besides poor time management. No matter the reason, it’s time to acknowledge chronic lateness as disruptive and negative behavior that can deeply affect outcomes.

Psychologists have hypothesized root causes of lateness, some believing that it is tied to personality traits. A person with a type A personality is generally considered more organized and aware of their time, though sometimes they may be high-strung. Type B personalities are more laid-back; thus, they tend to lack organizational skills and time awareness. Generally, type A individuals are deemed more productive than type B personalities, as these detail-oriented people are more likely to show up on time. However, type B personalities can adapt and learn to be more aware of their time.

There can be other causes for repetitive lateness, including and not limited to overscheduling, having a physical or mental disorder, or forgetfulness. People who suffer from chronic lateness are good people in general. In fact, many are popular. One such example, provided in a Linked-in article entitled The Psychology of Chronic Lateness, is Marilyn Monroe. The piece shares Marilyn’s admission and excuse for running late. “I am invariably late for appointments – sometimes as much as two hours. I’ve tried to change my ways but the things that make me late are too strong, and too pleasing.” Per Hello Magazine, Elizabeth Taylor also had a thing for being late. In fact, she left specific instructions that she wanted to be “fashionably late” for her own funeral, and her wishes were kept. The term, fashionably late, describes deliberately arriving after an event has started, especially to prove one’s social status, which makes sense for such a theatrical person.

By today’s standards, being late is mostly considered to be rude. For those who generally run late, there are numerous solutions to correct the problem. These tips are often shared by professional organizers who seek to increase overall productivity of individuals with whom they are working. Schedules, checklists, and reminders are three useful tools to help with time management. A schedule sets forth a time structure for work and appointments, whereas a checklist helps a person prioritize jobs in order of importance, with the most important ones at the top. Setting reminders reduces the chances for busy folks to forget and miss appointments.

Time points out that it’s helpful for people to evaluate what is making them late. They describe different personalities. For example, “the producers” are overscheduled and have a tendency towards shoving one more thing to be done before they must leave. But, should something go wrong, this leaves them with little to no contingency plan. Accepting that tasks can wait can be helpful for this group of people. Setting reminders to start and stop tasks and focusing on leaving at a specific time with some things left undone can also be beneficial. An “absent-minded” individual is one who is easily distracted. In classic fashion, they lose track of time, lose their car keys, and forget appointments. By learning to keep an eye on the clock, getting into a routine, organizing the home so that keys are placed in a designated area, and setting reminders for appointments, they can help themselves be on time.

There is little excuse to run late with good time management practices. Simply channel energy into being prompt by taking command of your time, employing helpful organizational tips, and zeroing in on a specific goal, such as arriving ten minutes early for a doctor’s appointment. Being prompt for appointments, meetings, work and more can make a huge difference. It can help folks feel confident and in control, melt away stress, and send message of respect for their personal time, as well as that of others. Punctuality builds a reputation of reliability and dependability that can open doors to new and exciting futures. Thus, there are a lot of positive things to be said about being on time.

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