Yes, I’m late posting this…as I’ve been a few times…but there are many more things that I’m late to in life. See, I’m a person who’s chronically late. So today, I’d thought I’d looking into reason just why that happens because as a writer, I must follow a schedule with deadlines. If I can do it there…why can’t I do it in real life?
I am not late to everything, just certain things. This can drive me crazy some days because I do have the best of intentions. Rarely am I late for an appointment entered into my phone scheduler. The reason for this is I always put appointments in at least 15 minutes early. Meaning, if the appointment is scheduled for two, I will put it in for 1:45.
This has worked well for me over the years. Yes, I subconsciously know that the appointment is later but for most, it works because I’m only 15 minutes from anywhere in the town I live in.
When I have travel to an appointment that is at least 45 minutes away, as is Santa Fe, it doesn’t work so well. I still put in the appointment time correctly, BUT I always forget to schedule the travel time. I know that one mile roughly equals one minute. I haven’t wrapped my head around the fact where I live that isn’t true because of the curvy nature of the roads I must travel to get to where I’m going. Here, twenty-five miles is going to take a minimum of about 40 minutes. Don’t ask me why science doesn’t work here as it still has me baffled too.
So, that’s me and I thought I’d do a little research as to why people in general are late. I found that some people are late because they don’t like to be early, they don’t think it polite to be early, or they like the adrenaline rush created by that last-minute dash.
There are also those who have overbooked their time as well rebel against being on time because they enjoy people waiting for them. There are those who think they are excellent multi-taskers when they aren’t as well as those who get distracted by something when they are rushing out the door. Then there are those who avoid being on time because they are struggling with getting things perfect before they go, whether that be themselves as in multiple changing of outfits, or their surroundings as in the house needs a final check because they might have forgotten to turn off their curling iron.
So, what does that really mean? It’s funny but I think I’ve been those people in the list above at least one time in my life. It doesn’t take science to tell me that it is my personality that leads to my lack of punctuality, not any external force.
Further reading showed me an alarming statistic, and I imagine this to be my overall problem at least some of the time, 40% of the time people will underestimate just how long a task will take. This is known as the planning fallacy because people have a hard time accurately judging just how long something will take to complete.
As a writer, I’ve had to learn just how long it will take me to write an article or a blog post versus a short story or novel. I try to plan accordingly. I do know that some deadlines motivate me more than others. School deadlines motivate me more now than when I was younger. I’ve spent time trying to figure that one out.
Another trait or problem mentioned above and it certainly a sign-of-the-times, we have all become multitaskers in many ways. This is known as polychroncity. Unfortunately, along with this comes a lack of awareness of what you are doing because people aren’t meant to focus on multiple things at once.
I’ve been a multitasker since I was around eleven when I first noticed that I could watch TV, listen to the radio and do my homework at the same time. This irritated my parents until they asked me one day what I was listening too, what I was watching and what homework I was doing. I answered their questions correctly and from that point, they left me alone to do what suited me. However, I do think that three things at a time are the most I can do accurately. Add another and I just get too fragmented thus not doing any of them well.
What can a person do to regain their punctuality? It’s all about figuring out how long each task takes and schedule accordingly. First, it’s all about changing the way you think and not just what to do. Also, learn to love your downtime, so that when you have extra time, you have a plan on what to do between appointments or when you’re waiting.
A few last things for those who know and have to deal with people chronically late.
Most of us in this category don’t think our time is more important than yours. Some of us have trouble managing our time due to our home life, our work life or other factors. In my case, I manage my time quite well, what I don’t do is accurately reflect how long it takes to do a task especially when it involves traveling a small distance.
If you complain about our tardiness, it will more than likely slow us down because then it becomes a control factor. Just accept that some people are late and move on. I know that personally, I will dig in my heels and stand my ground if you complain to me about my lateness.
Understand that feeling frazzled all the time for being late is no fun for the person being late. Those of us who are late get annoyed with ourselves, but we also understand it’s part of our personality and we can only change it in slow increments.
Mobile phones are our saving grace. Many of us have phones hooked to our cars and we can call when we’re on the road to let our appointments know we’re late. If we’re on public transport, we can text to let you know we’re on our way.
For the flip side, don’t judge us when we’re late because you annoy us when you’re early. So, this problem goes both ways. The easiest way again is to remember, tardiness or lack thereof is only a part of someone’s personality.
And if you do want to change your lateness, remember, the first thing is acceptance of your tardiness must happen before you can change it.
See you next month! I promise to be on time in June!