Are you always late? Here’s why… (And how will you catch up?)

4 mins read

We all know someone who is notoriously late. Someone who is a chronic failure when it comes to time management. While this may be the butt of jokes among friends, it can sometimes have serious consequences. Like being late for job interviews, missing a flight, or missing a doctor’s appointment.

Why are you always late?

There may be different reasons why you are always late. It’s worth noting that this “slowness” or “sluggishness” is linked to low scores on personality tests in the areas of excessive fastidiousness and emotional instability. Or, to put a positive spin on the phrase, “you are very relaxed people”.

This may be related to your upbringing. Your parents’ comfort with punctuality may have been passed down to you, or it may be your cultural heritage.

For example, there are studies showing that people in some countries, such as Brazil, are more comfortable than people in the US.

Are you a “time optimist”?

If we look at certain psychological processes, you may be what psychologists call a “time optimist”. That is, you may not be able to accurately calculate how long something will take, and you may be optimistic and assume that it will take less time than it should. Another related problem is a penchant for “procrastination”.

Getting somewhere on time requires you to drop everything you’re holding and hit the road. But if you’re a procrastinator, you probably don’t manage to do that on time either.

“Over-familiarity” with the route may be making you late

Another mental quirk that contributes to your tardiness is an “over-familiarity” with some of the routes you take. For example, the bus stop you walk to every day or the distance between two classrooms on a school campus.

A surprising study by psychologists from the University of California and the University College London reveals our tendency to underestimate how long our travels will last in very familiar environments.

If your problem often manifests itself as being late getting from point A to point B, which you know very well, this could be the cause.

“What am I going to do if I arrive early?”

A final factor to consider is that you may want to avoid arriving early. Of course, it’s very difficult to plan to get everywhere on time, so arriving on time often involves arriving early. This means you have time to kill. Maybe you are not consciously aware of it, but you may hate waiting.

How will you break the habit of “being late”?

If these reasons are relevant to your situation, you can start to find solutions. One powerful step you can take is to set a goal of arriving early, not on time.

You can realistically segment how you will get where you need to be and then leave a generous margin of error, say 15 minutes. Of course, if the journey gets longer, you can also increase the margin of error.

If you don’t like waiting, you can think about how you can use this extra waiting time. You can read and reply to your messages, read a book, play chess online or hang out on apps that teach foreign languages, the choice is yours.


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